To the Mama of a Special Needs Child,

You never thought that would be your name, did you?

You used to look at other mamas with children who had special needs and think to yourself, "I could never do that. I'm not strong enough."

But now that's you, and you're proud. Because that little one that calls you mama, he is the strongest soul you know.

With everything he has experienced in his short little life, he is so happy. And it makes you want to be like him, full of joy, even in the hard.

He has more "labels" than you can sometimes remember. You have to count to make sure you include all of the specialist you see. All of the hours of therapy during the week leave your schedule full before the week even begins. And those therapist, they become friends.

You cringe when you're in public and someone sneezes or coughs. You whip your head around and move away as quickly as possible. Because a little cold for them, could be life threatening to your little one. Your knuckles are cracked and you can never keep polish on your nails, because you wash your hands all the time. I see you in the back of the church, walking and bouncing, so desperate to hear Truth because you NEED it. But putting him in nursery is not an option.

Most mamas, save their work sick days for when they are sick, or their kids are sick. You walk into work on those days either feeling guilty for leaving your sick children at home with the nanny, or walking into work so sick yourself.

Because sick days are not for being sick, they are for hospital stays, and you never have enough.

And then on the days that no one is sick in your house, you wonder if you can even make it to work, because the day to day of caring for that sweet baby with special needs is more work than anyone ever understands. The worry of leaving them. What if he falls? What if his tube gets caught on something? What if he stops breathing? What if he aspirates?

It's too much. It's too hard. So you do your job as best as you can. But you know the whole day, he needs you more.

Being a nurse was the last job you ever wanted. Bodily fluids, blood, and needles, they used to make you squirm. Now, you give yourself a high five, because girl, you are doing it! You get a ferrel bag, a connector, and sister, you are good to go! You can prime a tube with your eyes closed. J connectors, G connectors, bag tubes... there are all kinds of tubes in your life. For someone who wasn't that great at math, you can calculate rates and doses better than the nurses. The beeping of the trash truck down the street, or the microwave, or a sound on TV, will send you running to the pump. You hear every beep, all the time.

You can syringe meds in the dark, almost with your eyes closed. The day when the medical supply shipment comes in, is sort of like Christmas, in a weird way. Four whole boxes to sort and store, and a fresh batch of feeding bags laying neatly face up, it's satisfying. And there's nothing more exciting than new syringes.

Your two year old, puts medicine in her baby's tummy, because she watches mommy do that to brother. She is the first to tattle on him, "No, broder! No playing wifth your cords!" And thinking of her, sometimes you feel guilty. Because that baby with those special needs, gets a lot more of your attention. And it isn't fair. The hospital stays split your heart. Because he needs you so desperately, but you feel as if you're missing out on sweet days of her life. Those moments, when everyone is together in the hospital room, are the sweetest. You remember that's really home, where you're all together.

And right when you begin to hear good news, when things start to become your kind of normal, the bottom drops out again. And a test that was supposed to be nothing, turns into something, a big something, and you can't imagine how life will go on.

You hear someone complaining about how their kid has the flu, and you would give anything for the flu. The flu goes away.

But this, what your baby lives with everyday, this doesn't go away. And now, just as you start to learn to live with the first thing, now you're facing a whole new mountain. It's way bigger than the last. More complications, more risks, more "less normal." And you wake up every morning, still living in the dark, reminded again that this is real life, and you must choose to reach out and grab the Lord's hand.

Because, ultimately, He loves that baby with special needs more than you can ever dare. And those things that make him so special, are not mistakes. He was formed perfectly in the dark, in the uttermost parts of his birth mom's womb. The Father was there, intently watching him, purposely forming him to be special, creating him for great things. He was carefully planning out the days of his life, and choosing YOU to be his mama.

Because this child, was wanted more than he will ever know. You prayed, begged God even, for him. He is a miracle. And a gracious gift.

He's special alright. He has obstacles in his life that might make things a little harder, but nothing will hold that boy back from doing what he wants!

Mama, you teach him that.

And when you are so tired, when you feel so misunderstood, you start that comparison thing, and you begin peeking into the future, stop yourself. Because tomorrow will bring enough worry on it's own.

Be here, now. In this moment.

You study every sweet line in his face. Etch that grin in the back of your mind. And you enjoy him.

Because he is a gift. A very special gift.

A Letter to My Adopted Son

You're not that tiny newborn anymore.

You're six months old. And we dedicated you to Jesus Sunday. This is the letter I read to you at your dedication.

You love playing with your feet, you think your sister is hilarious, and don't you dare tell your Daddy, but you have a HUGE crush on your mama! Although right now, you'd rather have me, pretty soon, he's going to rock your world. And you're going to see just how awesome he is. Really. Grow up and be just like him.

You smile and giggle when we make funny sounds at you. You laugh so hard when I kiss your neck, and although most days are really hard taking care of you, they are filled with so much beauty. I can't imagine our family without you in it.

From the moment I found out about you, I have worried about you. Before your sister came home to us, I didn't know what it felt like to be a mama. I had no idea how much I would love her. I didn't know how it would feel to hear her say my name for the first time. I didn't know how it would feel when I watched her get shots. I didn't know how it would feel to watch her take her first wobbly steps, or feel her little arms wrap around my neck.

I didn't know what it would mean to watch my heart walk around outside my body.

But when I found out about you, I did. I knew just how much I would love you. I knew all the things in this big world that could hurt you, or cause you pain. And I worried.

I worried because I couldn't reach down and rub my belly to feel you moving. I couldn't schedule doctor appointments to know you were okay. I couldn't eat well and drink lots of water to keep you healthy. I worried a lot about you. And over and over again, God reminded me that you are always His first.

We knew once you were born, you might have some obstacles to overcome. And we were ready for them. While you were growing in your birth mom's belly, I felt the Lord speak a word over your sweet little life; be brave.

I think He gave it mostly to me because I was scared I wouldn't be enough for you. When I worried if you would be healthy, or all the obstacles you would overcome, or when I felt that I wouldn't be what you would need, I would hear Him whisper to me, "Be brave."

Sweet boy, you are brave. Much braver than your mama. You have been through more hard things in your short little life, than most people encounter in a lifetime. There were days, when we weren't sure what the future held for you. I would ache when I thought about you growing up, because I wasn't sure if we would get you there. You spent the majority of your first few months in the hospital. And you are brave.

You are a fighter. You are an overcomer. Your Daddy and I cannot be more proud to call you ours. We fought for you. We will always fight for you. You were so wanted. You are loved more than you'll ever know.

Sometimes it terrifies me, raising a black son in the world we live in. And although my love for you sees no color, the world does. My prayer for you is that you will always know your true identity. I want you to always feel as though you have a place to land, to know where you belong. Not only in our family, but mostly with the Lord.

Your Dad and I chose your life verse not based on your adoption into our family, but hopefully soon, your adoption into God's.

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:4-7

My heart's greatest desire is for you to place your identity in Christ. Live as His son, Micah. Walk in your sonship and inheritance from Him. Live as you truly are, relentlessly loved, anointed, set apart, cherished, and free. And I pray that as you walk in your True identity, others will see Love and join this Kingdom forever family too.

And I pray you are brave.

When others question that sonship. When they question your roots or where you belong, I pray you are brave and you hold fast to the Truth. When the enemy causes you to doubt you are loved and wanted, I pray you'll lean in close to your Daddy, the One you hear me talk about all the time. Listen to only what He says about you. His voice is the only One that matters.

And your mama's, of course. But really just His.

You are more than I could ever dream.

I love you more than you'll ever know,

Mommy

Beautiful Brokenness

I sat in our hospital room with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart.

How can something so broken, be so beautiful?

My whole family was sleeping.

I watched her mince as she changed positions and found a more comfortable way to rest. Her poor body had endured much with this pregnancy. And in the last 48 hours, she delivered our son. Brandon was taking a much needed nap from sleeping sitting up the whole night. He insisted that I have the couch. The room was filled with the sounds of rhythmic breathing. And a blanket of heaviness covered us all.

I looked down in my arms and studied the lines of my son's little face. He too asleep, unaware of all the love held in that room for him. I wished for him. Years ago, when that

lonely pink line

showed up again after months of hoping. I prayed for him, like I did his sister. Prayed he would find his way into our family. Little did I know during our

failed adoption

last summer, God was already growing him in Selah's birth mom's belly. What she considered a mistake, God redeemed, like He always does. What we thought was loss from our failed adoption, was only God's kindness in

biological siblings.

While the quiet lingered, my heart cried out to Him. "Do you see her? She'll loose a son today, Lord. And what we have prayed for and wished for so long will finally happen. We'll gain a son. How do we do this?"

The days our birth mom has signed, placing her children into our family, have been both the happiest and saddest days of my life. Happy, because without her, I would never be a mommy. I would never change diapers, watch first wobbly steps, get wet kisses, and hear that name. Sad, because she will miss those things. And even though right when it happens, I send her a message or video, the children that share her DNA, call me mom. "The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege is not lost on me."-Jody Landers

Right when the weight was too much to bear, I received a text from a dear friend, "This is a beautiful brokenness that will draw you both to Papa. His love covers."

Did He see her? Absolutely. He is crazy about her, just like He is crazy about me. He watched our sweet son form in her inmost parts, and He was knitting him together right in her womb. He was preparing her heart for this day, the day she became a mom again. The day, she would love him so much she would sacrifice her feelings, for his future.

Did He see me there, grieving one second, and filled with complete joy in the next? Of course He did. And those tears I shed when the room was sleeping, He sat right there with me and caught every one.

His love covers. It covered us both. And still does.

Our adoption story is quite different from most. Never had I imagined I would have two children with extremely

open adoptions

. I wanted to adopt internationally so I wouldn't have to "share" my children with a birth mom. Looking back, I see how selfish my motives were. I was thinking about me and the desire I had lived with for so long. Now, looking at all God has done in our story, I am humbled how God has grown our family. Not only do we now have a son and a daughter, but we have a dear sister, and her two boys in our extended family as well.

People ask me all the time how I "let" her be so involved in our lives. And although I understand their concern, it's because it works for us. She respects me as mommy, and I respect her as the mom who gave my children life. We share a bond that is like no other. My children will never know the depths of our love.

But it also works, because we share a similar story. One of loss and brokenness. A story in great need of redemption. And right at the time in both of our lives when we experienced our darkest days, God picked up a pen and started writing.

And He wrote a story of beautiful brokenness...

A woman with a choice to make, and a woman with no choices left.

And throughout His story, He drew our hearts to His. In a way we both never imagined.

Welcome to our family, Micah Rand Satterfield.

You will never know how you are loved.