Of course, Derek had his own “non-negotiables” too and then we had our joint “non-neogitables”. And our kids because they were older also had in mind what they knew they could handle. Some people would have called our “non-negotiables” realistic and practical. In many ways there were and are an important aspect of establishing boundaries. After all, each of us knew what we could handle. The only problem is –especially in the world of older children adoption, –we have to be careful how we self-define labels, or do we view a child by his or her diagnosis as opposed to the whole child. The spectrum of disorders is so broad such that one has to be careful. Case-in-point, the autism spectrum is so wide that I recently learned a friend’s son had an autism diagnosis even though he interacts well with me and other children.
Fast forward to our pre-placement date, and we learned one of our soon-to-be sons has a diagnosis that was one of our “non-negotiables”. I am not sure how I feel about it because as I said the spectrum is so great and while I did notice some characteristics of the diagnosis (which I will discuss in my next post) I have come to the decision. After searching the Internet, reading books and praying with friends I made the decision not to see our son through the lens of a diagnosis. Of course, my husband had already received that revelation. Nonetheless, I realized if we look for the negative in a situation that’s exactly what we get.
I am reminded of the story of Joshua and spies. Nearly everyone knows the story, Joshua was the only one who bought back a good report. Joshua and his travel companions looked at the same land and yet the saw it differently. While the others saw difficulty, Joshua saw opportunity. We have chosen to look at the opportunity and to see past our son’s diagnosis. Like Joshua, we choose to “be bold and courageous” and take on the challenge to relate to him beyond a label. Please pray for us as we boldly enter a land flowing with milk and honey.