Every word I put into this blog just scratches the surface on our daily journey. But here is my confession: our special journey isn’t easy. It doesn’t always wrap up into the clean cut box with a cute little ending like I may lead you to believe. This page is to share the meat of the story; the real trials that bring us to the next chapters in our journey.
First I want to clear this up. Never for one second in my life have I ever wished that my siblings would change from what they are today. But our life is different. When most families are taking their kids to football games and visioning their children as pro-athletes, we were going to Special Olympics meets, where everyone wins as long as they are brave in the attempt. While other families would brag about their children in spelling bees and decathlons, we were taking my siblings to speech therapists. I am proud of everything that my siblings have accomplished, but society isn’t. We would take a trip to the grocery store with eyes beaming on our backs. We would go to restaurants where people would side step to give us more room at the buffet. And sometimes, there was a good Samaritan that would try to help one of my siblings, with something they would rather do on their own. To me, they are amazing, but it’s a battle to constantly prove that to others.
I was too young to comprehend what my family went through with the birth and adoption of Levi and Eric. But I do remember when Randi came. Randi has a different character than what we were used to. When she spoke she could only say one to three words to get her point across, she had trouble walking, but worst of all was her behavior. Because Randi struggles to speak clearly, she was easily frustrated when she couldn’t get her point across (who could blame her!) When she was younger, even a suggestion of something that she didn’t want to do would send her into a tail-spin. She can bellow the shrillest sound known to man, which is usually followed by her banging her head against her knee. She used to kick, bite, and pinch anyone that was within distance, whether you were trying to help or not. Her tantrums are mild now. In fact, her psychiatrist told my mom, I don’t know what you did with this girl, but I honestly never thought she would be able to set foot in public.
I have to confess, my days with Randi are not as cookie cutter as I want to portray. There are still days that she will scream in my face or tear off my skin with her fingernails. It can be so difficult not to turn around and do the same back to her.
The most impactful piece in my life was the death of my older brother. He was the biggest influence in my life. He was patient, kind, he had the strongest faith in Jesus, and never once in the years we had together did I find a flaw in him. He was perfect, and everything I did was to emulate him. When he died I saw my next two cornerstones, my father and oldest brother cry. They were my next crutch to lean on, and they were broken too.
I tried to be strong. I remember holding Eric, a child who was taken from his family for neglect, passing from foster home to foster home. As he was trying to build the trust that he could love others, his world was shattered again. And Levi, he wouldn’t admit it happened. In fact, I don’t even know if I ever saw him cry. He would only talk about our dog that had died once. That was his way of expressing what he felt, without having to acknowledge what was true.
While seeing my family deteriorate, I tried to build up a wall; on the outside it was to give my family something to stand on, but on the inside it was my way to block out anything that could hurt me again. I am weak.
My brain has been engraved with hundreds of bible stories, all showing similar circumstances. Like Job, his entire family and everything he owned was destroyed, yet he still depended on God. I don’t say this to make you think that my name should go down in history. I say this because whether you love God or not, we all will still face hardships.
Paul writes, He said on to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Through everything we have faced, God has shown that His grace is sufficient. And when everything was crumbling down, His power has enriched my faith even when there was no hope. This blog is not meant to show that I am great for spending everyday in the lives of my special siblings. It is for me to prove that I am weak, and God keeps me from splitting at the seams. This is my complete submission to Him, that I may show you that His grace is sufficient for your journey too.