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.

One Day

"O Lord, my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me."

Psalm 30:2

I was sitting criss-crossed on top of the doctor table. It's not a beach trip unless you make a trip to Urgent Care. Can I get an, "Amen?"

Honestly, I was admiring my tan. I'm fair skinned, so it takes a lot of work to get a tan. At first, you need one good tan-burn, as I like to call it, then you're golden. I was proud of the Essie nail color I picked. The coral against my tan toes just looked like summer. Then, I started feeling so proud that I found time to paint them. The white paper was crinkling under me every time I moved. It's so annoying. And I was sweating, so it was sticking to my legs. Ugh...

They couldn't have chosen worse music to play in the room while I was waiting. If I didn't feel so bad, I would've climbed on top of the counter and changed the station. Brandon gets so embarrassed of me sometimes, when thoughts like that pass through my head. Luckily, he wasn't there.

I've never had a UTI before, but I knew that's what it was. Apparently if you don't get those things treated pretty fast, they ruin your beach trip. I debated for two days whether I should go. Good thing I did.

*******

So God has been teaching me much about healing lately. And I'm not quite sure why, because none of my prayers for healing have been answered.

But I'm learning with Him, it's about the process. Not the end. I think the healing happens some time along the way.

Micah is still only

eating

two ounces. And that's a good feeding. He's not tongue tied. Believe me, I've had three different doctors check. He's on a different reflux medicine now. A different formula. Different bottles. We literally have tried it all after the hospital visit. We're getting all the therapy a kid can get. It seems to make him much happier after feedings and in between. But every three hours, I fight that kid to eat.

I swaddle him, put him on his belly over my arm and sway him side to side. The OT said this stimulates his nervous system and allows him to calm down. Oh, and I have to pat his back when I do that. Once we sway for fifteen minutes, then I take the "therapy paci" and orally stimulate his gums. This is supposed to prepare him for the bottle. Once he is orally stimulated, I turn on the sound machine, because any noise distracts him, and makes him loose his suck. You can imagine how challenging this is with an 18 month old sister. I sit with my knees up, turn him on his side, support both his cheek and chin with one hand while the other hand holds the back of his head and pray. PRAY. The entire feeding. Not out loud of course. Too distracting.

This happens EVERY three hours.

Every three hours, I pray for God to heal him. And you'd think I won the lottery when we finish with an empty bottle. Everyone in our house screams and claps and talks in a happy baby voice to him!

It's not really, but kinda really funny. Can you believe I was actually worried that God wouldn't teach me as much with Micah as He did with Selah? When we found out about Micah, I thought back to all God taught me through

Selah's adoption

. He moved mountains to get this girl into our family. Then we got a phone call in September about Micah. Just one phone call. He literally fell into our laps.

His name

means, "Gift from God." Because that is exactly what he is.

Boy, did He show me. I needed Him throughout Selah's adoption because it was new and scary and hopeless at times. I literally need Him every three hours with Micah. Sometimes, before a feeding, I text my family and friends and ask them to pray for us. Yall. It's hard.

But, I am trusting and resting in God's healing for Micah. One day, he'll suck bottles down better than the best eatin' baby in the world. One day, instead of little bird legs, we're going to be squishing his little rolls. And I told God last night, those rolls will be visible evidence of His faithfulness.

One day.

*******

I just knew when the doctor walked in she would have a surprised smile on her face. I knew she'd probably tell me that I had a UTI, but I also knew she'd tell me the impossible.

That I was pregnant.

I prepped my heart for it. The silent conversation I had with God on that crinkly paper with the terrible music was confident and full of worship. I was expecting Him to heal me. I knew He would. I wasn't overly excited because you don't get super excited about things you already know.

The door opened, and the doctor sat on her swivel stool. Told me I had a UTI, gave me prescriptions for some medicine, wrote the discharge papers, and left.

And I said, "Not this time, Lord, but one day."

It is impossible, this healing. My physical healing is absolutely impossible. It will literally be a miracle. There is no way I could get pregnant, or keep a pregnancy.

Throughout this process of heart healing that has happened along the way, I'm not

barren

anymore. He has taken all of those empty parts of my heart and filled them with Him. It has been beautiful.

There were days I couldn't make it to baby showers, and if I had to go because it was a close friend, I'd always slip out early and cry in my car. One time my mom wouldn't let me drive home until I calmed down. I would literally ache when I went to Chic-Fil-A. All the moms and their babies enjoying that fried goodness. It hurt.

That's not me anymore.

Because God is faithful, and I am now that mom. One baby on my hip, the other one on my chest. I've had two baby showers. People came to MY baby showers. I get the incredible honor of buckling babies in car seats, carrying diaper bags, wearing spit-up, and looking a little

frazzled

sometimes.

Somewhere along the way, He healed my heart. And it was long before I was every called, "mommy."

But this physical healing. As much as I want to forget about it, adopt all the orphan babies in the world, and as many times as I've tried desperately to put the flame out, hope still flickers.

That thing will not die. And I believe it's because God is trying to teach me something.

He's teaching me something about healing even though He hasn't answered my prayer.

I'm going out on a limb here, because "what if He doesn't?" I don't know. I just know that He's asked me to pray for healing. I don't know why. For the life of me, I can't figure it out. But I am. I am praying for God to do the impossible. Literally, impossible.

And I believe Him.

It's funny God has been doing all of this in my heart now for almost a year. Just this week, I read this

blog post

, and Preston Yancey killed it, "This is how we pray now. Wild. Untethered. Rushing into hope and trust that God is who God says God is."

It's scary to pray this way. Real scary. Because what if I'm wrong? What if I'm hearing Him wrong? What if He doesn't heal me? I don't know. I tell myself again, I just know that I am supposed to pray for healing.

Pray for my son's healing. Pray for my healing.

He'll do it.

We'll just wait.  

One day...

*Photo by

Rachel Ackerman Photography

*

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.