It's Addie day today, but it's also her BIRTHDAY and I'm NOT home to wake her up and sing to her and make her 10 pancakes (insert sad mama face). But, it's ok. I'm headed home soon. She'll meet me at the airport and we'll go the Red Robin's or wherever she wants to go, as long at it involves a milkshake or at least a root beer float! I've spent the last 2 1/2 days in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Close To My Heart convention and it's been exhausting and completely exhilarating. I've connected with women from all over the United States and beyond, and Addie actually had a hand in this because during my presentation, I shared a little video that depicts my Love Story album, which I made shortly after we learned of Addie's learning disability.
Addie has received special services since she was a toddler and she has always been behind on the development curve. She has struggled in school from the get go. Her first grade teacher sat me down and said, "I've never seen anything like this. Addie is adorable. Socially and behaviorally, she is right on target, but it's like she's lost ... she isn't registering and she is developing strategies to make her look like she knows what's going on, but she doesn't." Long story short, in December, 2015 Geoff and I met with the doctor who had previously spent several hours testing Addie. Dr. Guzzardo told us that Addie would most likely NOT finish high school, that she would not drive, get married, or be able to live independently on her own. WHAT? My Addie? Did she pull the wrong file? Is she really talking to us about Addie? There is a reason that this is the first time I've written about this experience and this diagnosis on my blog. I will never forget sitting there next to Geoff, as we received this news. It was akin to standing on railroad tracks, watching an oncoming train and not being able to move. It was DEVASTATING. I lived under a cloud for the next several days. There was much prayer and fasting. Geoff and I talked, a lot, and I talked to my parents, siblings and others who I trust. A few days later, we gathered all of our boys together, sat them down at the kitchen table and shared this news with them. Now, looking back. This moment is what I most want to remember—four big brothers absolutely committed to the life long welfare of their little sister. There was zero hesitation. And, now is probably a great point to say that I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THIS JUDGMENT about Addie. Yes, she does have some serious challenges ahead of her. She will likely struggle a great deal, and I don't know what milestone achievements will remain outside her reach for now, but I do know that she is in our family by the grace of God—that she is supported by many wonderful extended family members, friends, teachers and others who ADORE her. We trust in God and know without a doubt that He is in charge. Our family is an eternal family and we know that the trials and limitations and the sometime devastating difficulties that are a part of this life are not for forever. They are designed to test us, refine us—drive us to our knees for sure—but ultimately draw us closer to Heavenly Father and each other.
This is the little album that I created to help me process the overwhelming emotions that I experienced after Addie's diagnosis. For me, the creative process is powerful. It provides me with important insights and it's almost always healing.
Addie is without a doubt the very best thing that has happened to our family. The miraculous story of her adoption and the JOY and LOVE that she brings into our home are worth any struggle that lies ahead.
Today we celebrate ALL that Addie is and show her how very much we LOVE her. She is my BFF for reals and I can't wait to give her a BIG birthday hug.