Special in a Good Way!



He was the only fat-filled toddler in the room full of orphans.  A sense of pride for this little boy’s survival instinct swelled up in me: Smart enough to fill his stomach. I suspected him close to genius, staving off hunger in this Russian orphanage. 

He was given the name Rafael, but he was Parker to us. We were drawn to this child and the wait to finally hold him was excruciating. The referral video was the only link we had to bridge the ocean sized time gap that needed to be endured before we could press his moon like cheeks into ours.  Replaying the video over and over again we felt God confirming this was the child he had chosen for us.

My husband and I had already diligently reviewed a list of challenges presented by our adoption agency, discussing and checking the box for each “defect” we thought we could handle. We ended up with a handful of marks on the page.  Parker fit the mark!

Months turned into a year, shortly before his second birthday Parker finally arrived home.  He was malnourished and thirsty, diving on top of any morsel left by careless diners.  Full of energy would be too light of a description for our child.  He was amped up and ready to go.  

We gradually became aware of some of Parkers challenges; sensory integration disorder, ADHD, post traumatic stress disorder, and reactive attachment disorder.  Eventually the bombshell diagnosis: an additional eighteenth chromosome.  Slammed with fear, we began to process what this additional chromosome meant. In Parker’s case, it leads to profound developmental and speech delays. Tirades like unexpected storms rise up in him, sending our family into a swirl of panic. We call them tirades instead of tantrums because they are.   Lord, we did not check that box! 

God had sheltered us from the Truth long enough to capture our hearts and bring our son home. Despite all these issues, our son is overflowing with love, which always makes parenting in rigorous conditions more rewarding. Learning from Parker how to accept people exactly as they are is one of the gifts my son has brought to our family. We love the gems that Parker’s special way of thinking brings into our lives. The day he announced how he thought Jesus got into his heart was precious: He “ate Jesus.” 

Encouraged, I recount a thought our nine-year-old daughter shared; “We have Parker and he is special in a good way. He is something to be excited about! I think more people should adopt. All children need a family.”    

Just the thought of our son being left in an orphanage makes my husband and I emotional.  Images flash through our minds of Parker trapped in an institution that doesn’t understand a child like him.  Parker is a boy with a strong will and a mind that struggles to fit into this world.  Heaviness encapsulates us just imagining such a scenario.  

Parker will tell anyone, who will take the time to listen, his brief recounting of his adoption from Russia.  He remembers: “My mommy came and swooped me up, and asked me if I would be her little boy? And I said “YES!”  So now I have a mommy.”  He loves his adoption story.  He loves his family.  Knowing all it takes to parent our son, today we most definitely would have checked all those boxes!  The blessings overflow from his heart to ours.  

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.  Proverbs 31:8-9  


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