Sunday, November 21, 2010

You. Rock.

I've never once considered how fortunate Max is to have me and Dave. I tend to think about how lucky he is that the stroke didn't impair him more; that he is a happy, bright, good-natured kid; that he's doing well for himself; that he's got a killer smile. Then I went to a recent exhibit in honor of National Adoption Month, and realized how lucky Max is to have us.

The exhibit was put together by the Heart Gallery NYC, a non-profit organization that recruits big-deal photographers to take portraits of foster children waiting for adoption. The 100 pictures on display were striking—some kids smiled broadly into the camera, some stared soulfully, all were beautiful. A lot of them were milling around the event, along with prospective families.

I got to talking with Jean, who told me he wanted to be a basketball player. He said I could be one, too, even though I'm 5'2"—loved his optimism.

There was a lot of hope in the air that night. I hope the exhibit did some good; all those kids need families. You can see their portraits at the Heart Gallery site; the group has more than 100 chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, and has helped thousands of children find adoptive homes (Rosie O'Donnell is a big supporter).

The event was an eye-opener, in many ways. As parents of kids with special needs, we often feel guilt that we're not doing more for them. But I'll tell you, we shouldn't be taking ourselves for granted. I'm not talking about how much we adore our kids; heck, we'd love them whether or not they had disabilities. I'm talking about the fact that our children are lucky to have us, period.

Think about it.


  1. Yes to this. I am one of those crazies that peruses the waiting child list for my state wondering if I could handle it. Right now the answer is no, but I might not be forever.

  2. Once again, great blog. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Thank you for bringing attention to this! There are more than 100,000 kids in foster care who are legally cleared for adoption - they just need families to come forward. Adoption is not for everyone but a lot of people (like us!) find that it's a wonderful way to grow your family - or add to your family if you already have children.

  4. I'll admit I have thought about it...fleetingly. As a single mom I have far too much on my plate now, but maybe someday...

  5. Adoption is the best thing we've done! We're seeing Mikey's birth family next weekend. They're lovely but just couldn't cope with his disability.

    I certainly encourage anyone who has ever thought about adoption to look into it. You may realise it's not for you at the moment but you may see that it's easier than you first thought. You can't help all the kids in care but you can completely transform the life of one.


  6. You're right, Ellen - our kids are lucky to have us. We need to stop every now and then to give ourselves a pat on the back.
    By the way, I was getting my hair done on Saturday when I opened last month's copy of Redbook. Guess which article was on the first page I saw? My hairdresser and I had a nice chat about it, and we both really enjoyed your article.

  7. We adopted our youngest son who has Cerebral Palsy. He is the handsome little guy who I posted in the Photo Carnival last week. I enjoyed this post for two separate reasons. I always appreciate when someone highlights the needs of children in foster care. Foster parents, CASA volunteers and people who are willing to walk alongside foster parents in support are always needed. I also appreciated the reminder that our children are lucky to have loving parents, even if we are imperfect and not always able to get in all of the therapy,exercises and routines that are needed every day.

  8. Did you come home with a wish list?

    I would have been stuffing children in my pockets.


  9. Beautiful post! My husband and I considered becoming foster parents. But decided it was not our time yet. Smiley is still too young. Now, oldest kiddo is blessing us (a little early) with a grandchild. Ahhh... perhaps someday, though. And, yes, sometimes I feel like I don't do enough. Other days I wonder just how we hold it all together...

  10. As an adoptive mom, I realize just how lucky I am on a daily basis. My girls bring such joy to me in so many ways that I never even imagined. If my one daughter didn't have so many issues to work through, I'd adopt another at least, and who knows, maybe when we tackle her issues, we will.

  11. I'm with pixiemama, I would have been stuffing my pockets, though....

  12. At my grandma's funeral, the pastor said a prayer where he said thanks for the gift of parents.

    She was a gift.

    And yet I'm so used to thinking of the babies, the children as a gift, I forgot that I am also a gift to them.

    Yes, the gift of parents. It's huge. I have wonderful parents and grandparents, and I'm a lucky, lucky woman. love, Val

  13. I built my family through adoption. My youngest (now 8!) was 27-months when adopted. His special needs of bilateral cleft lip and bilateral cleft palate where known. Unknown was the huge associated ear issues (he has his 10th set of PE tubes, and has had 1 eardrum repair) Also unknown was autism. Both of his unknowns would have been unknowns to birth parents too. As much as I would have liked to add another child to the family, Lukes issues require too much time/energy. Another child wouldn't be fair to anyone. Added to the mix is the oldest who has conginatil adrenal hyperplasia (adrenal gland doesn't make corisol) and (probably) diabetes.

    I am tired. I have 3 hours of sick leave and 40 hours of vacation time (from all the dr appointments & school meetings). But adoption was the BEST thing I EVER have done. I wouldn't change a thing.

  14. Yes, I considered taking in a kid while I was there, it was hard not to.

    I once stirred up some debate when I said that I thought people who adopted kids with special needs are exceptional people, but I still think that. Many people wouldn't.


Thanks for sharing!

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