Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An apology...

Day 13, Monday: Issue a public apology. This can be as funny or as serious or as creative as you want it to be.

I technically started working with children who had special needs when I was 20 years old. I worked in a state run mental hospital on a floor that had some of the youngest and the most profound/severely disabled. Change came after I left that hospital but before that it was not uncommon for parents to give their children to the state. Back then no one wanted to take on the responsibility of caring for them so they were institutionalized. Or in the case of severe child abuse have their children taken away. I will remember every child/adult on that floor for as long as I live. The things I saw on the floor forever shaped my being. There were a few there that were shaken as infants. One in particular I remember as being completely "normal" but she had been hurt many ways before she was born and after. Others were born with severe disabilities that were not caused by anything or anyone such as severe hydrocephalus. Back then I wondered WHY God would allow this to happen to these individuals. Little did I know but they had an affect on me like no other non disabled person could ever have.

Where am I going with this? After I was married I worked with several families doing ABA (applied behavior analysis) with their children who had autism. I also did respite for other families of children with disabilities. Somehow during this time I became an expert on parenting. But wait, I wasn't a parent and they were not my children. Only once did I openly criticize a mom about how their family life was messing up their son but I often did to my husband though as he also worked with some of these children.

I have eaten back every single word of criticism against these parents. It has been a gradual process. My journey has been different as we were chosen to parent our son (by DSS) but none the less I now know the walk. I have walked the walk. My walk has also been different but I sincerely apologize to any special needs parent that I outwardly or inwardly criticized before becoming a mom myself. You just do not know what it is like to parent a special needs child until you do it yourself. I now know.

Matthew 7:1- "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

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