I was in shock and awe over receiving such a lovely gift. It was filled to the brim with many goodies. My favorite though was a framed picture of my daughter.
More importantly are the many gifts our church has given my family already. We are so blessed that our church has a heart for children and adults of differing abilities. It is truly remarkable and rare. I know of many Special Needs families who are unable to worship together at their church of choice.
When my daughter was so unstable and unable to function in a regular Sunday School classroom, the director of disabilities found her a place to assist with severely disabled young adults. We told our daughter that she was "helping" others. She helped out for about six months until we found the right mix of therapies and medications that allowed her to become stable enough to reenter regular Sunday School with her 4th grade peers. Even then we knew she needed 1:1 support so a college student was provided to become her buddy. This volunteer buddy also helped give Princess extra support this past summer during Vacation Bible Study (VBS). A true gift since she'd been unsuccessful in VBS for the past few years. Her buddy continues to assist her weekly in her 5th grade Sunday School class this year. Princess sees this young lady as the big sister she never had. They have very special bond. As a result of working with my daughter, her "Big Sister" wants to pursue a career of helping other children with disabilities like my daughter.
Another fabulous gift the director of disabilities gave our family was the gift of friendship through moms of Special Needs kids. The director realizes the need for these moms to connect. Many of them do not have anyone who can relate to them and understand what they go through on a daily basis. She hosts several get togethers a year for these moms.
At one such gathering I met a wonderful lady who has become very dear to my family. She helped us advocate for more services for our daughter. At her prompting and guidance, I decided to become an educational advocate myself.
While attending a luncheon for moms of Special Needs children I met a mom who has a daughter with challenges similar to my child. It turns out that she is an elementary school teacher so we found an additional interest in common since I am a former educator. This friend has a very special place in my heart. There's nothing like having someone who has walked in your shoes to talk to, to cry on and to laugh with.
As I perused the gift basket tonight, I said a silent prayer of thanks for a church with such a vibrant disabilities ministry. My family and I are so blessed by many individuals who add so much to our lives.
Our Basket of Goodies