Wednesday, June 21, 2006
"Special Needs" Child
Wow, I have a clean slate to write with. No Adoption Journey story to work on, although I have adoption thoughts swirling in my head that will have to be released at some point soon. I do have a BOTW to put together, but I think I'll do that tomorrow. I think I'm in the mood to write about my life as a "special needs" child.

I never, for a second, take for granted that I am blessed with a loving husband and a spectacular child, especially since I never expected (hoped for, prayed for, but never expected) these life blessings to happen to me. You see, I was born with multiple complications and was in and out of the hospital my entire childhood. My doctors didn't expect me to live to adulthood and yet with each life-threatening surgery that I went through, I somehow survived.

I was what was referred to as a "special needs" child, a miracle of modern medicine. Oh how I hated the word "special". It was used with frequency throughout my childhood. I didn't want to be special, I wanted more than anything to be just normal!

I'm not going to get into all the nitty gritty details of my "special needs" (you all know now about the infertility portion of it) but despite the frequent hospital visits, I lead a fairly normal life as a child, as far as physical activity was concerned. I went to school, I came home and had to do homework and housework before I could go out and play, I played hide-n-seek with my siblings and my neighbor friends, I learned how to swim and fish, I picked mulberries as I walked a mile with my brother down to the river. My childhood wasn't easy, by any means, but I have some good memories, in large part due to my siblings and the small town I was raised in. I was treated like everyone else by my siblings and the neighborhood families and for that I was thankful.

In 2001 I had to have two complete hip replacement surgeries, one for each hip. Growing up, I had always walked with a lip and oftentimes suffered pain after a long day of activity, but by the time I had reached my early 30's the pain was unbearable! It hurt to sit, stand, or walk for any length of time. I finally accepted that I needed to see if a doctor could do something about the debilitating pain. No more with my "suck it up" attitude. I was too young to have such a loss of mobility!

To make a long story short, I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who told me, "I can fix this, but you'll need total hip replacements on both sides." You see, my cartilage was entirely shot and it was bone rubbing against bone between my hip and my hip socket. It took me a year to overcome my fear of the risks of such a surgery (paralysis, blood clotting, death) before scheduling the first one.

As a child, I never thought about the life-threatening aspects of my surgeries. I just accepted that they needed to be done and trusted that all would go well. And each time, I woke up after the surgery and continued on. Suddenly, as an adult, my mortality really hit home when the doctor discussed the risks. It terrified me!

My first surgery was in May of 2001. That went pretty good. It was painful, but I was young, in good health, and I healed quickly. The next one was in August of 2001. That one was a bit more complicated but I pulled through and made a full recovery, with Oronzo's help. He was there for me every step of the way and took care of me during my recuperation periods. I also had fantastic support from his family and my out-of-state family.

Today, I walk with hardly any limp at all and I'm pain free. I can walk, hike, bike, and carry my child around on my hip with no pain. It's an amazing feeling! I have to be searched at the security gate every time I fly, and listen to the security employees tell me, "But you're so young" when I explain that I've had hip replacement surgeries on both sides, but that's a minor annoyance and I'll take that over the pain I used to experience any day!

So, each day that I have on this earth, I'm thankful. I'm thankful for my health. I'm thankful that God placed Oronzo in my life to accept me and love me unconditionally, as I do him, and for allowing me to become a mama to the most amazing child. I had hoped and dreamed for such a life like this and shed many tears thinking it wouldn't happen for me. Now, I shed tears of joy when I stop and reflect on how blessed I am with my own little family.

Occasionally, there are times when I fear that this happiness will be snatched away from me, that Oronzo and Snuggle Bug will die in a tragic car crash, or something horrible like that, and leave me to struggle through life without them (am I the only one that has these crazy thoughts from time to time?)! When these thoughts course through my mind and leave me cold with fear, I take a deep breath and remind myself to love my "boys" as much as possible during the time that we have together so that I'll have no regrets.

"I love you!" is spoken frequently in our household. Hugs and kisses are given each day. Our home is filled with laughter. Yes, Oronzo and I have our disagreements from time to time, but we work through our anger and frustrations pretty quickly, especially when we talk it through. We work at communication and compromise. Yes, Snuggle Bug throws temper tantrums from time to time but they're short-lived and we take them in stride. I'm not trying to say that we are perfect or that our life is perfect but in my mind, life is pretty darned good! Our home feels like a refuge and a haven.

Wow, I didn't expect to want to write of this stuff, but I'm glad I have. And now, I'm going to post a few pictures from around our house that remind me of the simple joys of family life.

Okay, maybe not. Blogger isn't letting me (why is it always such a struggle to post pictures?)! I'll try again in a bit.
7:21 AM

At 9:50 AM, Blogger momteacherfriend said...

That's amazing!
You are not the only one with random irrational fears. I used to drive for a living, I imagined every possible way I could die while driving. It does not overtake me as much as it did then but I still occasionly think about what would life be like withour hubby. Or weir d things that could happen to the kids. But it is rare now. I think it a tool of the enemy to place fear in us. So when those kinds of thoughts come I tell them to go away and pray that the thoughts of Christ would replace them.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Karla said...

You are not the only one who has thoughts like that. There's at least 3 of us: you, momteacherfriend up there, & me. =) I think it's normal. And if it's not, don't tell me - 'cause I have them quite frequently.
And I loved hearing your thoughts and feelings on your childhood. I'm one of these people that, when I see other people that I don't really have a chance to talk to (on the road, in the store, whatever), I wonder where they're going or what their background is, etc.

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Great post! I always try to remind myself of what I have rather than what I don't have.Your life seems to be really blessed.

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I often worry that I'm gonna die suddenly and leave my girls without a mom! I don't know if my hubby could handle raising them. I think all of us think crazy things like that, you're not alone on this one. I have to go read part 10 now!

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous sheri said...

Well, you brought up a subject that I think touches a lot of people who don't talk about it. That are those scary thoughts you suddenly have, for no reason of loosing someone you love to tragedy or something happening to yourself. I do that sometimes also. I've always thought I had some kind of warpped imagination. Sometimes it seems almost real for a moment and I even cry at the imagined tragedy. Thanks for letting other's like me and you know we're not alone in this also.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Midlife Moments said...

Having a special needs child, I can relate! I loved this quote:
I didn't want to be special, I wanted more than anything to be just normal!

I needed to hear that today, thank you :)


At 11:50 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Having gone through a life threatening health issue in my early thirties, I gained a different perspective on the simple pleasures of life and its many blessings. Sounds like you've found that as well...

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Erin said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing :) I too am being reminded now of the simple pleasures in life and all its blesssings.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Trish said...

That was a great post! Your an amazing, strong, brave woman, wife and mother!

At 12:39 PM, Blogger PEA said...

Hi Overwhelmed:-) Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a meeting new people! Of course, I just had to come and check out your blog and I'm glad I did. Your story brought me to tears and made me realize how very much for granted a lot of us take our health. You've been through so much but look at you now:-) As for having these morbid thoughts about losing your loved ones, I think we all go through that, it's human nature to fear losing loved ones. That's why they say live each day to the fullest!!

At 1:15 PM, Blogger MugwumpMom said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You are brave to have gone through all that and come out so strong today. It's an inspiration to be sure.
As for those fears, I have had thoughts like that as well. I've come to believe that they are attacks from satan, and now I "take every thought captive to the lordship of Christ"...when I get a thought like that now, I pray..."here Lord, take my fear". Perfect love casts out fear. Your love for your family is perfect!!

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Having a "special needs" child myself, it was interesting to read your thoughts on growing up with this label...which I don't particularly care for either!

And you most certainly are not the only one who has those feelings! There are nights I fall asleep thinking I'm going to wake up in the morning to find my daughter has passed away during the night and then I just start sobbing at the thought of it. I don't know where that thought comes from, but it's awful!

At 3:57 PM, Blogger Catch said...

You are an amazing lady! When I read your blog I feel like I am sitting and talking with you..we all have the fears of losing one of our children....its something that we know can happen to any of us and we have no control over it, so of course it scares us. I think its perfectly normal. If we could control it we wouldnt worry.

I can imagine that your home is a haven....I had no idea of the struggles you have been through .I learn more about you as time goes on, but what never ceases to amaze me is your strength and your gentle ways. Snugglebug is so blessed having you and Oronzo as are great people. Your blog is one of my favorites. It has been since I first started reading it. God bless you and your family!

At 4:39 PM, Blogger pithydithy said...

Darn-- I was ready for those pictures!

While I wait (refresh. refresh. refresh....just kidding, I'm actually subscribed to your journal, so I can stalk you more easily), let me say that your thoughts on "special needs" were not at all what I was expecting but a very good thing for me to hear. You've just got a great attitude. Thanks for that-- I learn from you all the time.

At 12:49 AM, Blogger Granny said...

I lerned a lot about you I didn't know.

Great post.

At 6:23 AM, Blogger JennG said...

Wow! What an amazing story! I love that you don't take your family for granted, I think that's so crucial in this day and age where everything is instant gratification. =) Thanks for sharing!

At 1:31 AM, Blogger Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

How wonderful that your surgeries worked so well and that you are able to live pain free and tote around a toddler!! That is awesome!

You sound like you have been blessed with a wonderful family!

I too was a sickly child (I got sick at 14) and didn't think that I would get to have a family. But i do!! I have a husband and one 4yr old boy. I am so grateful.

You mentioned worries. Oh do I have those!!! I struggle a lot with fear and worry about my mom, twin and husband dying. Being a sick person, i can't get through life without their support - literally!! It worries me a lot. But I just try to remember that it was God who chose them to help me in the first place and he won't leave me alone. He will always provide for me.

God bless!


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Name: Overwhelmed

My complete profile

It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)

(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)
(Part 7)
(Part 8)
(Part 9)
(Part 10- Adoption Finalization)

Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)

Adoption #2- considering the State
More Adoption #2 thoughts
Adoption #2- Back to considering the State
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Adoption #2: Licensing update
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
Adoption #2- The home inspection
Adoption #2- We failed our home inspection!
Adoption #2- We passed the follow-up home inspection!
Adoption #2- Still waiting
Adoption #2- We're getting closer
Adoption #2- An update & a lead
Adoption #2- The lead that didn't pan out.
Adoption #2- We're licensed!
Adoption #2- We have a tiny baby here!
Adoption #2- Update on this precious little girl.
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Adoption #2- Overdue update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- The latest on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Shopping spree for Baby Bug
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Adoption #2- Another Placement Call!
Adoption #2- Placement Meeting- UPDATED!
Adoption #2- We have Boo at our home!
Adoption #2- Meeting Boo
Adoption #2- I'm angry on Boo's behalf!
Adoption #2- A Birthday Party for Boo
Adjusting to three 3 and under!
Stressful moments in fostering.
Adoption #2- Update on our foster daughters
CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
It's getting much worse!
Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
Fostering: Update on Boo
The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
Baby Bug is turning 1 year old soon.
Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
A prayer answered today!
Attending Baby Bug's 1st birthday party
Foster news
Good news for Boo's case
Boo's bio family visits
Termination Trial date set!
A new caseworker for Boo
I've been asked to testify in court.
Court hearing for "John Doe"
Contested termination trial begins tomorrow afternoon
Boo's adoption has been finalized!

It wasn't supposed to work this way! (Part 10- Ado...
World's Greatest Daddy, hands down!
My recent projects.
Five Ingredients Friday (Beefy Pasta Skillet)
1 Real Life Person now knows about my blog.
I'm almost afraid to post this.
How stupid can I be?!
Five Ingredients Friday (Filo-Wrapped Fish)
It wasn't supposed to work this way! (Part 9)
Will he be a musician or a conductor?

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