'Heaven's Very Special Child'-A A +A
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
IN MY opinion, I think that parents of children with special needs all go through a stage when they ask why a special child was born to them. Even siblings would wonder why they were given a brother or sister that is different from them. And yes, grandparents and relatives are not spared from "trying to analyze the situation." I would say that this "why" question does not exempt even parents of teenagers or adults with special needs because even after twenty-two years, I do ponder on this once in a while. Of course, the answer is not within our comprehension, but definitely, it is not a form of punishment for a wrongdoing, which is almost the first common reaction of a parent. Some call it God's plan while others call it destiny. In both ways, however, every special child brings with him or her only one message: that of acceptance and unconditional love.
I have come across this poem several years ago when my father posted it on his wall. I do not memorize it word for word, but the message is quite unforgettable and somehow, the poem gives an answer to the "why" question.
Heaven's Very Special Child
By Edna Massimilla
A meeting was held quite far from Earth:
"It's time again for another birth."
Said the Angels to the Lord Above,
"This special child will need much love."
Her progress may seem very slow,
Accomplishments she may not show
And she'll require extra care
From folks she meets way down there.
She may not run or laugh or play
Her thoughts may seem quite far away:
In many ways she isn't adapt
And she'll be known as handicapped.
So let's be careful where she's sent
We want her life to be content.
Please, Lord, find the parents who
Will do a special job for you.
They will not realize right away
The leading role they're asked to play
But with this child sent from above
Comes a stronger faith and richer love.
And soon they'll know the privilege given
In caring for the Gift from Heaven.
Their precious charge,
so meek and mild
Is Heaven's Very Special Child.
When I was a young parent and my first son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I remember I wanted to turn back the hands of time and start all over again to the time I got pregnant until the baby comes out without ASD. Looking back now, our lives as parents would not be as colorful and meaningful as it is now if we were not chosen to love and care for our first son. This is also how I explain to my two other children that while we cannot fully understand why their brother has Autism Spectrum Disorder, we do know that our family has been chosen, out of the millions of families in the world, to give unconditional love and care to him. And though we do not expect anything in return, there are so many ways in which we are rewarded with many blessings that we experience through our special child.
Indeed, the best line in the poem for me is: "But with this child sent from above... Comes a stronger faith and richer love."
Jane Ann S. Gonzales is a mother of a youth with autism. She is an advocate/core member of the Autism Society Philippines and directress of the Independent Living Learning Centre (ILLC) Davao, a centre for teenagers and adults with special needs. For comments or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 16, 2014.