I think of my sons and their lives in an orphanage. I know what makes them standout today. But what made that one set of eyes pick them out of a crowd and determine they were more than invisible to a world beyond the walls of an institution?
What makes a person look at a child born without part of his face know within that broken exterior there is a beautiful spirit just waiting to touch lives in ways never expected? What makes a person notice the soft smile of a child with an extra chromosome and know that child will light up lives for years to come? What makes a person look at a child paled by sickness know that someday that child will be someone, a force in this world?
I have stood on the edge of the special needs adoption cliff. I’ve backed away in fear of the unknown. I’ve stepped forward again, teetering on the brink of jumping and stepped back one more time. And then, with the firm grip of my husband’s hand in mine, we jumped, together, into a life where we asked for a child who needed extra care.
And we have never looked back.
I have been humbled lately in my life as I have spoken with parents across the country who have stood at that same cliff and jumped. The one thing we all have in common is that as we move through life with our children by our sides we have defined the term new normal. Our lives are not scary or hindered or burdened. Our lives are normal.
I am forever and a day grateful to that one person who saw my sons in their orphanages, invisible to the world, and in a single act of recognition whipped aside their cloak and exposed their potential, their worth, and finally their deservedness to live… in this world.