So if you read the previous post, you are awesome! Gold Star!! If not, here’s a really really quick run through…I’m the daughter of a pastor in Ohio. I have two older brothers (that are both old enough to be my father) and our newest family addition, is my adorable little brother, Levi, who was born with Down’s syndrome.
I guess before this point you could say we made lemonade out of a lemon. Having a child with Down’s syndrome (or in my case, brother) isn’t exactly the easiest chore, but you have to take what you have and make it sweet. Now that my family had gotten over the initial shock of being introduced to the world of raising a child with special needs, God said ahh, I see you have made lemonade; Share it! And that we did, with a new addition to the family. You are probably saying, whoa seriously, your parents are 47, they’re gonna raise more kids? Don’t worry, it was all in God’s plan and adoption spared the poor old lady’s womb.
In 1997, my parents were getting all kinds of magazines, pamphlets, etc. on how to raise a child with special needs. One of those monthly pamphlets exhibited children with disabilities that were up for adoption. And on the right inside fold was the picture of the lemony little dynamo, Eric. He was a cute little blonde, glasses, a quirky smirk, a few freckles. Yep, God said, he’ll do. It was a brilliant idea! Levi was getting older, and what better for him than to have a lifelong companion! So the family jumped in the 1987 AstroVan and took a four hour drive to Northeast Ohio to get my new little brother! Ok well, there was the paperwork, the background checks, the interviews with stuck-up state people in their golf polos, the court dates…you get the picture.
So we shared the lemonade with our new little addition. You might even say we were experts at making at making it by now. But God brought a new lemon that put a giant squirt of humility in our corneas.
Our family soon learned an important proverb: don’t judge a book by its cover…or in our case, don’t judge a picture by its pamphlet. Eric was adorable, yes. But I was convinced the four year old had to be criminally insane, and that’s an understatement! No he didn’t make you pull your hair out, don’t worry. He did it for you! My mom told me a few years back that when he first came, she was literally afraid of him. Let me give you a clue. Eric came with a hospital crib. Like the one they use for babies that have the little lock up door. We literally had to lock him in the crib at night so he wouldn’t destroy our house. Levi and I used to run around our house pretending that he was the boogieman. (There are plenty more stories and I could probably write at least three different blogs on them.)
Speaking of blogs, in the last one, remember when I said the pastor stereotype is that he is the man known for giving 72 second chances? Well my dad fits that stereotype crystal clear. My dad saw past Eric’s terror to his broken heart. Coming from a home of drugs where he was left in a crib for days there was no question that the four year old brought more emotional baggage than he did toys. He probably had more history than the WWI, and he was four! Every time Eric went on a terrible tyrant, he would get punished, but my dad told Eric he loved him. Every night before he went to bed and every morning he woke up, my dad told him he loved him. Soon we all started to love him, and he started to love us too.