I have this friend who is pretty incredible. He would defer to his even more incredible wife if I were to admire him to his face, and he would be right in doing so. But, saintlier spouse aside, this guy is pretty legitimately amazing. And if he’s reading this, he’s probably shaking his head and staying to himself, Jenny, stop with the bs.
But you know what? His kids are even cooler than he is. And they’re both card-carrying members of the extra chromosome club, a membership whose numbers are, sadly, dwindling. And not because someone has discovered a cure or furthered research that could prevent their suffering, but because their existence is fundamentally threatened by abortion, somewhere to the tune of 90%.
Because of fear. Because of the risk of the unknown. Because of a lack of knowledge and experience and compassion. Most of all, because of a lack of love.
Ironically, these two kids, despite the challenges they face and the unique parenting skills they require, are two of the most vibrant expressions of human love I’ve ever encountered.
It’s a strange thing to live in a world like ours, so lacking for love and so starved for affection and personal connection, and to realize that most of these precious children are being thrown away before they’re even born. Because they’re different. Because they’re “less than.” Because they’re not part of the script we’ve written for our lives, for our children’s lives. It makes the head spin.
It’s a little like imagining a firing squad lining up the best and brightest minds in the field of cancer research and taking aim. Makes you want to throw your arm out and scream: wait, we need them, there is so much suffering to be relieved, don’t do it.
Thank God, their parents didn’t go that route with Max and Pia. And because of that, JD and Kate were made parents, too.
JD was invited to contribute a chapter to a book by the same title of this post, and it’s good. His words are more eloquent than mine, and his experience far more personal. I can only stand on the sidelines looking on as a friend, watching how these children have transformed their family and their marriage. But JD is living it, and along with several other father-authors, he brings the experience to life on the pages of Special Children, Blessed Fathers.
It’s not a handbook on how to parent kids with special needs, but more of an expose on what special needs parenting can do to the heart of a father when he makes himself vulnerable and available to his child.
I once heard JD, who writes periodically for First Things, say “I don’t like when people say I saved my kids. It’s not true. They saved me.”
Well said, my friend.
(I’m giving away a copy of the book to a random commenter on this post. To enter, leave a comment and/or share this review on social media.)