The mothers in The Treasured Ones programs and I have an unspoken bond. A bond that can not be explained in words, but when our eyes connect, we know exactly what eachother is feeling. A type of bond that crosses all cultures and language where two hearts are instantly knit together.
We have a bond because we both have children with special needs.
I listen to mothers express the hardships of raising a special needs child in a country that views them as burdens, cursed, and sometimes not even humans.
I listen to their frustrations with the major faults of the medical system and when doctors refuse to even see their children.
I listen to their sadness when they explain that their communities have kicked them out, husbands have abandoned them, and they dread taking public transportation because of the insults people will throw at them.
I listen to them pour their hearts out about the struggles they face, and my heart is right there on the floor with theirs, because I go through it too. I go through it too.
I’ve had Ghanaians come up to me and question why I would want to adopt a child who is so flawed.
I’ve had countless people refuse to sit next to Ellie and I on a packed bus.
I’ve had horrible experiences with people who are supposed to be honest and fair medical professionals, but who act like heartless individuals.
I’ve had people make rude statements about how they don’t want their child to sit next to Ellie and I on the bus because they are afraid their child will catch Ellie’s “sickness”.
I’ve had fingers pointed at me, mean words said to me, and nasty glances shoved my way.
When I admit new children and families into our school, medical sponsorship program, or meet them on community outreach and I introduce my daughter Ellie Grace to them, they breathe a sigh of relief as if to say, “She gets it. She knows what we go through. She understands us”. And thats when the bond instantly forms. And they begin to trust me. Because I am not just saying that I understand what types of things they go through, they trust me because they know that I go through it too.
This does not make my ministry better than anyone else’s, but running a special needs ministry, and having a special needs child myself, brings the passion and dedication to a whole new level. Because when I work for more societal acceptance of children with special needs, I am not only working for their children, but mine too. For them, and for Ellie Grace.
I carry the mothers with me wherever I go. When someone on the bus or in a story asks about Ellie or says something mean, I take a breath and try to respond with grace and patience. I advocate and educate. I speak truth, life, and love over children with special needs in Ghana. I stand up for these mothers’ children, and for my own daughter Ellie Grace. Because all of these treasures are fearfully & wonderfully made. Precious, perfect, and lacking nothing. And I pray that the country and people of Ghana begin to see them in the same way.