Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput recently wrote a beautiful essay called "Conscience, Courage, and Children With Down Syndrome". He makes a wonderful argument about how these children deserve a chance at life. I was struck by several points he made.

"Parents of children with special needs, special education teachers and therapists, and pediatricians who have treated children with disabilities often have a hugely life-affirming perspective. Unlike prenatal caregivers, these professionals have direct knowledge of persons with special needs. They know their potential. They’ve seen their accomplishments. They can testify to the benefits of parental love and faith.....These things are beautiful precisely because they transcend what we expect. They witness to the truth that every child with special needs has a value that matters eternally."

I couldn't agree with him more. Courtney's teachers and therapists are people filled with great hope and joy. They have chosen their professions intentionally to work outside the "norm" and help educate and care for these special young people. They see their true potential. Their strongest desire is for them to have the maximum use of their mind and body. They do whatever they can to help them live the fullest life possible. Court is constantly showing her teachers and therapists that she is present to them and understands what she needs to do. She makes the choice herself to do something or not. Did I tell you how stubborn my daughter is? Her physical therapist can. She and her classmates teach patience, perseverance, love and are constant witnesses of faith to those who care for them.

"They (parents) speak about their special child with an unsentimental realism. It’s a realism flowing out of love—real love, the kind that courses its way through fear and suffering to a decision, finally, to surround the child with their heart and trust in the goodness of God. And that decision to trust, of course, demands not just real love, but also real courage."

Such beautiful words and so true. There is not a day where love of God and trust in His plan for my daughter isn't front and center on my heart and mind. I am sure that this is true of any parent no matter what their child's abilities. Every time I lift her, I pray for strength, literally. Her daily care is at times difficult but I choose to LOVE this child with all I have. I chose each day to love her as God himself has instructed me too. Sometimes it's very lonely work but then I think of how hard it must be for Court not being able to speak or walk and I redouble my efforts in her care. Whatever courage I am given divinely, this young lady shows more in each breath she takes than I can hope to. She has picked up her cross and is caring it with grace. How can I not do my very best for her? How can I not surround her with as much love as she surrounds me with? Love is the only language she knows, so I speak it with every touch, every spoonful of food, every diaper change, every bath and every book I read. It is the least I can do. Would Mary do any less for her son?

"The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is never between some imaginary perfection or imperfection. The real choice is between love and unlove, between courage and cowardice, between trust and fear. And that’s the choice we face as a society in deciding which human lives we will treat as valuable, and which we will not."

It's all about LOVE people! My daughters life is valuable and precious. ALL LIFE IS!! Fighting for her right to live and be cared for as she deserves is my honor and privilege. Sometimes when dealing with bureaucracy it truly makes me crazy. However, it is something I do not take lightly nor will I abdicate that right to anyone. I will not be silent! I will love as loudly as I can for as long as God grants me the gift of this child's presence on this earth. Be not afraid my friends...God is with us and these special ones! They have much to do to carry on God's work. It is our job as parents to provide the best environment for them to succeed at that job. Perfection lies with God alone. I do not worry about such things. and neither should any parent. We do the best we can and when we fall we rely on the grace and mercy of OUR Savior to perfect them. Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him for the privilege of parenthood. No matter what our special children look like to the world, they are perfect in HIS eyes! That is all that matters! AMEN!

Blessings and Grace,

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