Jim posted earlier on our facebook page:
Many people are working hard to raise the awareness of and ability of those with a disability in Ukraine. In a country where people are valued mainly for their utilitarian purpose we must work hard to overcome the stigma they face every day. Looking forward to our conference, “Caring for Children with Disabilities, A Multidisciplinary Approach” in just about a month.
This conference is part of a continuing series of ‘special needs’ conferences that Jim has led over the past several years. And it is true that the stigma in Ukraine is getting less, but only in small pockets across the country.
We are reading a book called Disability and the Gospel by Michael Beates. Today’s chapter had to do with the secular voices we hear all around us alluding to the fact that children with disabilities are not worthy of life…even that some insurance companies might stop covering the care of children who were diagnosed in utero and the parents chose to let them live. Kind of crazy, and scary as well.
Then the author quoted former surgeon general C. Everett Koop:
The one worth of the ‘worthless’ is that they prove whether or not we are worthy to care for them. The very existence of the handicapped and imperfect, and the love bestowed on them by those who care, stands as a testimony to the sacredness of human life and to our contention that this sacredness far outweighs any ethic concerned with the quality of human life.
Oh, the privilege of caring for these children. Countless families can tell you that they learned amazing truths through children who seemingly had no positive impact on society. Unconditional love is one of the strongest lessons learned by caregivers.
A family we recently met while they were in the process of adopting their little girl here in Kyiv boggled the minds of many witnesses here…why would they ever adopt a child who had soooo many health challenges? Their answer, at least in part, is written on their blog that describes the process of deciding to adopt in general, and then to adopt Katia specifically, and the challenges and triumphs that ensued.
As Gordon, the father, wrestled with God over adopting such a special needs child:
“I have taken every issue to Him. Each time I have brought a problem; we’re older, we don’t have a lot of resources, she might be an infant as long as she lives, she might die soon, after we’ve attached to her or she might outlive us, what about our other children, we won’t be able to pick up and go, we’ll never empty nest, how can we afford this, He has said “I know and I will provide.” Each issue I’ve brought up, He says the same thing to me. Gordon dropped his head and said, “The Lord told me, “This is what you were to Me, blind, lame, with nothing to recommend you and I adopted you and made you my heir and a joint heir with my Son Jesus Christ.”
So, hard to argue with that!
I encourage you to read their blog and pray for Gordon, Heather and their children…their journey has just begun.
May we all recognize the value of ALL children (and adults). The upcoming conference is another step in the right direction.
And may we be worthy of caring for these children.