I am a writer, not just for the blog, I am also in the process of writing a novel for young adults. As a writer I know how difficult it is to tie all these seemingly small events and decisions to the end path for a character. It can be hard to get a character from where they started to where they are meant to be, doing what they were written for all along. Knowing this small struggle makes me all the more amazed by how God molds us and guides us to finding our path, ensuring we are doing what we were made to do. Often, as humans with a limited view of any situation we are in, we cannot see the connections between events and the end result. Then one day an epiphany hits us and we finally know what we have been headed towards our entire life. I just had such an epiphany the other day and I finally feel as if I know what I was put on this earth to do.
Here are the twists my story has taken, all leading me to this moment:
Growing up all kids have a long list of careers in mind for when they “grow up”. The only thing I have ever consistently wanted to be as an adult was a Mom. I did not know how or when that would happen but I did know that at the end of my life I wanted my greatest accomplishments to be my children.
This next twist is not something I generally discuss because it is in the past and is not something I define my life by, however it has affected my outlook on abused children and therefore bears some importance to this topic. My parents did an amazing job raising and educating me about the possible dangers of the world. When I was ten years old an adult male began having inappropriate conversations with me, conversations that were clearly heading in a traditional sexual predator direction. This predator was very close to me and ensured we spent a lot of time together. In retrospect he had been working things towards his goal for a long time before starting to make his initial move with a conversation. I was raised with a lot of information about what to do in such a situation and I immediately told my parents what had occurred. The police were called, the offender was legal bared from contacting me or being in the same state and my parents ensured I received counseling to deal with any residual issues. This was the best possible outcome for such a situation and has left me with a desire to help anyone impacted by the pain and trauma of sexual abuse in all the various forms it can occur.
As a teenager an amazing person came into my life and changed it forever. That person was my beautiful baby cousin Abby. Abby was born with Trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome), a ventricular septal defect, pulmonary hypertension, swallowing dysfunction, GERD, hypothyroidism, and cerebral palsy. From the moment Abby was born my plans for my life shifted. Abby and I have always shared a very special bond and she opened my eyes to the magical world of children who have disabilities. This began my interest in working with children with disabilities, beginning a close to eight year trek of educating myself (on my own and through college work) about children with special needs of various types.
During my education about Special Education I completed a round of student teaching at a juvenile detention center school. I was not looking forward to this rotation when I heard about it, it seemed like it had no relationship to working with young children with developmental delays, which was my original goal. From the moment I met the first class in the detention center I was enthralled. These kids were such a challenge and so fun to work with. This was a whole new side of working with children with special needs. These student’s needs were wide spread, some were educational, some were physical but all of them had mental and emotional special needs. This spread my interest to children with less obvious special needs, the children who can be missed in the systems of our world and may not receive what they need to succeed in life.
Then comes the time in my life when my husband and I decide to build our family, which was not as easy as we had hoped. We then turned to adoption as a way to build our family. This was wonderful but never left me with a sense of peace. We continued to explore our options and then discovered the foster care/adoption process. The minute we decided to pursue this route to build our family I felt a wave of peace wash over me. We then began our training for the foster care system and began educating ourselves about the very unique needs of children within the foster care system.
I had this feeling I could not put my finger on; it has been building in me since our classes began. There was something going on and I had no idea what that something was. What could be going on exactly? The other day I was meeting a friend from church for coffee and I arrived early. I pulled out my latest book on parenting adopted children to pass the time while I waited. I was reading a chapter devoted to the special needs of older adopted children when I suddenly knew what this new feeling was and exactly what I was meant to do with my life. The combination of purposes I have felt in life, it all finally fits to me. I am meant to be the mother I always wanted to be and to work with children who have unique or special needs. The amazing children in the foster care system have been through a lot in their short lives and will have completely different emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs than children who have never experienced such traumas. All the education I have been pursuing and the fields that have interested me will tie into the needs our children will have as we welcome them into our hearts, family and home.
Well done God, way to tie a million tiny moments together to lead me to this miraculous way of having my dreams come true. 😉 I am off to run down this path before me with a heart full and aware that this is truly what I was made for.