I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Psalm 139:14, 16-17 NIV

When God called our family to adoption, my mind filled with dreams of a precious girl, with frilly dresses, sweet giggles, hair bows and cuddles; lots and lots of cuddles.  My boys were never into that sort of thing (relief!!!), and they had grown beyond the snuggle stage.

At the first glimpse of my precious girl, I was smitten.  She was perfect, beautiful, and sweet.

And then we met.  She wasn’t like all the other babies in our travel group.  She was feisty, unwilling to snuggle and happiest when we held her upside down!  

Can you imagine the stares we got carrying our tiny nine-month old through the mall upside down?  I wanted to wear a sign that said, “If I turn her right side up, she will cry.  Please don’t ask.  I don’t understand either.”

As time went on, we noticed more odd behaviors.  Any break in her routine sent her into fits of rage.  She wouldn’t sleep.  She wouldn’t eat . . . or so I thought.  

Often, I’d call my husband in frantic tears, “She’s starving and she hates me.  She won’t take her bottle.  I don’t know what to do.”  Hair bows and frilly dresses — no way!

My dreams were shattered!

And anger set in.  Why God?  Why did you lead us to adopt this one?  Why won’t she let me feed her?  Comfort her?  Sing to her?  Play with her?  Why does she hate me?  Why did You turn our lives upside down?  We can’t do anything for her.  She’s miserable and so are we!

And then... one day, someone finally saw what we saw – a broken little girl.  The pieces of her life just didn’t fit together.  She was starving (technically failure to thrive) because she couldn’t eat.

She was starving for affection too, but she was overwhelmed by touch.  She needed help.  We needed help.  We begged God for answers, direction and strength.

Finally!  Speech therapy helped her learn to eat.  Occupational therapy helped her accept touch and textures.  Play therapy helped her understand how to share, adapt and interact.

Slowly our girl emerged from the darkness.  Her diagnosis?  Sensory Integration Disorder, an autism spectrum disorder for kids who are overwhelmed by sensory input (audio, visual, and/or textural).

Part of our healing included me asking God to forgive my anger at my shattered dreams for her and to help me understand where she was and what she needed.  It wasn’t easy, especially for her.  Therapy is time consuming, often frustrating and filled with tears.  She resisted the very thing she wanted, and it fell largely on me to push through for her.  We both cried a lot.

Today, I know that God gave us our sweet girl because He knew that we would see.  He knew our experiences, professionally, would allow us to see her needs at a young age (she was in therapy by her second birthday).  He knew my determination to fight for her.  He knew we wouldn’t settle for good enough but would pursue the best for her.  

I didn’t know that long before she ever was created, He had already equipped us for her, but He knew.  Today, her struggles are behind us, though occasionally she has an overwhelming day.  When she does, we know that God has equipped us to help her through.

Soon our daughter will celebrate her eighth birthday.  Undoubtedly, she will ask for a princess party, with the dresses, tiaras, painted toes and hair bows.  She will joyously embrace each guest as they arrive, and squeal with delight over every gift.  She is my girly girl after all.  We just needed some help unlocking her heart.

I needed help seeing her how God sees her – perfectly created according to His plan for her.

All kids are created with God’s special purpose and plan for their lives.  As parents, we have to set our dreams for our kids aside, (because of special needs or because they don’t want to become a doctor) and accept God’s plan.  

If you carry hurts or anger from broken dreams, would you ask God to forgive you?  Would you ask Him to help you accept that He has a plan for your child’s life — a perfect, unique plan just for them?

Father, we thank you that you have special purposes for all your children. God we know that you have prepared our children’s lives before they were even born. We pray that each of your children know how much you love them. We ask that you heal any hurts from broken dreams and pray for contentment in all areas in our lives. I pray Lord that we celebrate our children each day and raise them up to glorify you, to love you, and to fearfully follow you. Amen

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