Four Sons, Lots of Questions — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Four Sons, Lots of Questions

by Melody


Four sons not expected to live.

“We do not understand how he survived” we were told…four times. Once at the birth of our oldest son and then each time one of our three younger sons was placed in our arms by the precious gift of adoption. Often I ask myself why we were blessed with four miracle children when so many couples are denied one. I ask how we can possibly fulfill the tremendous responsibility bestowed upon us are caretakers of these lives. My husband and I are blessed with four beautiful sons, three with special needs which consume most of our waking moments and often our sleepless ones.

As parents of children with special needs, we ask these two questions…why and how. As we come to appreciate the gift of our children the question of why fades and the how becomes the prevailing question. It is a difficult job, day in day out, no vacation, no sick leave, but you cannot beat the fringe benefits. Still the question looms large, how?

How does a parent keep going through the physical and mental exhaustion? How does a parent insure their child’s special purpose is served? How does a parent help their child reach their potential? The answer is just like every parent…with love, hard work and support. While we each may sometimes feel alone in our daily lives, we come to understand how joined we are…how similar our struggles no matter the diagnoses…how connection with one another is a lifeline.

But most difficult, how does a parent make others realize their child’s purpose and potential? How do we help our children face the reality that some people choose to view them as less? How do we make those people not blessed with our children’s special purposes accept the tender souls which love unconditionally, the bodies and minds which struggle, the child that is first and foremost a kid?

Honestly, not everyone will achieve this degree of acceptance. But together we, as parents of children with special needs, can broaden the scope of understanding of the simple truth…every person has a special purpose, a right and a reason to live.

Please take a moment to meet my boys…it will shed light on why I advocate for and support children, parents and adoption. You will see miraculous human spirit in small packages. You will glimpse into our lives and know why for the sake of sanity I often write from the humorous point of view.

Please use comments to ask me questions…offer me suggestions…tell me the things with which you struggle. What information and support do you need? What inspires you?

Melody can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Tuesday in addition to hosting Special Exposure Wednesday. She also shares her special life and photography at Slurping Life and reviews products and gives away stuff at what i think.

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1 Maddy July 15, 2008 at 12:02 pm

Question? Hmm, far too many. How about ‘best tip for maintaining sanity?’

2 Stacey July 15, 2008 at 12:07 pm

I am so glad that we now have 5mfsn!
What a Blessing–
And having yet, another place to hear
Melody sharing her love and strength
— and boy does that “girl” have strength!
You Rock!

3 Lizzie July 15, 2008 at 12:15 pm

You are an absolute inspiration. Aside from that, I cannot put into words that which would express just how awesome I think you and your husband are for adopting such beautiful boys. I have an autistic son who looks perfectly normal but behaves perfectly abnormally in certain circumstances and that can be tough – the ignorant in our community don’t tend to see past the blond haired, blue eyed strapping young lad (now nearly 10). When he hand-flaps or verbally-indignant (my phrase for a verbal hissy fit, LOL), it looks strange. It was easier when he was younger…if he had a ‘moment’ when he was four, it came across as a ‘four year old tantrum’. Now he’s at the age where its clear to all and sundry that something is ‘wrong’ with him. Sigh.

Love your boys’ back story. Heart a few sizes bigger tonight 🙂


4 Mandy July 15, 2008 at 12:20 pm

It was great to read the background on your boys. You described their personalities and wonderful qualities with so much love and pride in your words. It would be an honor to meet them (& you!) someday. Thanks for the comment on my FillinFriday post. I have a feeling we would be too….

PS We’re great…enjoying the summer and sunshine!

5 Melody July 15, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Maddy, the problem is you assume that I am sane. 🙂

Stacey, you are way too kind with your words. We, as parents, are all strong, together.

Lizzie, thank you. And remember, my boys are the true inspiration. Do I ever understand the life of your 10 yo blue-eyed blond-haired boy. 😉

Mandy, one day…just maybe…we’ll sit in your garden and sip tea.

Thank you all for reading and commenting. I’ll be popping over to visit each of you.

6 Amy July 15, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Thank you so much for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes and incredible encouragement. We have 4 kids – 2 home-grown and 2 adopted. 3 of our 4 are special needs as well. Really, no one would know at first glance. But special needs can be so subtle to outsiders, and exhausting when you live with them. Again, thank you for being so open, you have a beautiful family : )

7 stacy walden July 15, 2008 at 1:40 pm

What a lovely essay. And what beautiful boys. I love the way you capture their personalities and your love and appreciation for them. And I really like “special purposed” – how true! My household is busy with three boys, one with Down syndrome, I can only imagine the pace of yours.

Happy to have found this site.

8 Sara July 15, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Lots of love to you Miss Melody. Lots and lots of love!

9 mashel July 15, 2008 at 2:45 pm

Hi, I have just spent way too much time reading almost all of your other blog, along with the post here on this one. You have a truly amazing story and you are such an amazing woman and mother. I have two babies (twins) that are considered “Foster” at this moment that we are hopeing and praying to adopt. One of the babies is special needs, and may have cerebral palsy. He is such an amazing gift to us, and we thank God every day for him. I find your site very encouraging, and it is great to see someone else who adopted through the foster care system regardless of special needs.I am so tired of hearing, “Are you sure you still want to adopt them, with all of his problems?” YES I AM SURE!!! IT MAKES ME WANT HIM MORE! IT MAKES ME WANT TO HELP THIS CHILD ON HIS JOURNEY OF BECOMING THE BEST THAT HE CAN BE!
Thank you for your story. Keep us in your prayers. God Bless,
Mashel Hall

10 Jenn July 15, 2008 at 2:53 pm

I am humbled by you Melody – many blessings to you and yours!

11 Jenn July 15, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Melody you humble me – your thoughts, your spirit, your love of life and your love for your boys. Many blessings!

12 Melissa G July 15, 2008 at 3:38 pm

You and your family are a true testament to the power of love. You have such a beautiful spirit. Thank you.


13 Trish July 15, 2008 at 3:58 pm

I love your focus on our children’s special purpose, and thank you for sharing their stories with us all.

14 Carrie July 15, 2008 at 4:45 pm

Melody, I knew a basic history of the boys, but not the complete story. I never *wanted* to know because I knew it would break my heart to know exactly what you were dealing with. Will you please come visit me so I can gently hug, pat, high five or whatever comforting gesture they will allow those boys? Please? I hurt for them…Our county is full of children with a lot of the same issues and they are the youth that are in our youth group…and I love them so much and it always breaks my heart when people chalk it up to rudeness and just not caring and such. I want to beat people over the head…so I do understand your boys…give them each a little extra snuggle tonight as you tuck them in.

15 Alexis July 15, 2008 at 4:56 pm

You are an amazing amazing person. You and your husband are truly angels sent from heaven, as are your boys. Thank you for sharing your story.

16 Jenny July 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Thanks for sharing this with us! You are such an inspiration!

17 Melody July 15, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Thank each of you for reading, especially if you made it through the boy page. Do me a favor, remember it is our children who are heroic, inspirational angels. I think everyone would agree. 🙂

I know 5MFSN is going to be a fabulous community and resource for parents. It is exciting to be among the amazing moms and dads who are sharing here.

18 Christina July 15, 2008 at 6:01 pm

What beautiful, profound words. I think your struggles are the universal ones of all parents, whether their children are “special needs” are not…for truly, every child is special and unique and we all ask “how do I help her meet her potential?” It is challenging enough with a physically/mentally/emotionally healthy child…how much more so in your case.

I knew the basics of your boys stories, but to read all the details…oh, how my heart breaks for them and you! And also, how it sings and rejoices for them and you! You may say you are not a hero, but I disagree…you are a family of heroes.

19 Stephanie July 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Wonderful post. Isn’t it amazing how God put each of you together to make just the right family.

I don’t really have any questions…we are just looking for ways for our son to meet other children with similar abilities. Your post about Wil being left out because his legs don’t work right just hit the nail on the head. So many times our own son has fallen into our arms in tears, having heard the same hurtful words. He doesn’t know anyone else like him. It’s hard. We’re looking into some sort of sport…possibly that will encourage him.

20 Rachel July 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm

I’ve lurked for a while and found it easy to identify with you many times.

I am actually the “special purpose” child. I’m deaf, yet my family’s response was to open as many doors for me as they could and allow me to be a kid – peek my head in a few, run through others with abandon, and slide right on by the rest.

I love that you “get it”. We don’t need to be coddled, to be given lower expectations, to be patronized. We NEED to be loved, to be wanted, and to be connected. Who needs to be NORMAL?

By the way… after long years of an infertility diagnosis… my miracle baby was born. He is a special needs kiddo himself, but he reminds me what is important each and every day.

Thanks for your honest and touching and real posts.

21 Nicki July 15, 2008 at 9:46 pm

I heard about 5 Minutes For Special Needs, but I didn’t know you were on the team! Awesome! Can’t wait to read more!

22 phyllis July 15, 2008 at 11:28 pm

i think the thing that i’ve learned from you that i love the most is your term “special purpose.” it really reminds me that we all have a purpose on earth…some more special and wonderful and life-affirming than others. thank you.

23 arizaphale July 16, 2008 at 8:09 am

Way to go Melody. I love the idea of this site. I also had to share a comment made by a mother bringing her intellectually disabled son to check out our school recently. “God doesn’t make mistakes” she said. Her son is exactly as God intended him to be. As much as we provide for him, he will contribute to the school.

24 Marla July 16, 2008 at 9:40 am

“As we come to appreciate the gift of our children the question of why fades and the how becomes the prevailing question.”

This is so very true. I look forward to checking out your blog and photography.

25 Julie July 16, 2008 at 10:13 am

I am so glad to see this site and to see you a part of it. My prayer is that you and the boys will reap a hundred fold what you have sown in encouragement and honesty to others in similar situations.

Keep up the amazing work and when you can, visit my new “baby” at Take Root.

26 Jennifer July 16, 2008 at 12:21 pm

You have such a beautiful family, and your boys have a beautiful mama.

Thanks for sharing them!


27 Stacy July 17, 2008 at 3:37 pm

I had no idea your oldest was medically fragile either. You have such strength in you Melody. I really don’t know how you do it, but you do…and you do it well. 🙂

28 Pam July 19, 2008 at 12:17 am

You humble me, as do your 4 boys. Would it be ok if I add you to my blogroll? Either here or Slurping Life. It’s not like I get much traffic, but I think that it would be a gift for those who do happenstance to read me…

29 Maia July 22, 2008 at 1:33 am

I just found your other blog and thus this blog through a link. I really appreciate you sharing stories about your family – and your writing is great! I have several special purposes siblings and am a special purposes person myself, and I also have 14 siblings who were adopted (and 5 who weren’t). I also work in social services with kids with special purposes who are in the foster care system. I look for blogs that nourish me and remind me of my hope … yours fits the bill! Thanks for writing.

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