Sunday, January 4, 2009

Love and Acceptance

As a parent of five children, I have learned that one of the best things that a parent can give their child is love and affection. Love and affection is a human need for which we all strive. Children look for it from their parents and when it is not found at home, they search for it outside the home. If a child is given love and affection, they learn confidence in who they are and their abilities.

We have watched our 4 "typical" children be accepted wherever they go without question because of the similarity to others. Children with Down syndrome or other handicap are not as readily accepted for various reasons of which are ignorance and differences in appearance to name a few.

One of the goals that we as parents have is to raise our children in an environment that is loving, nurturing and accepting. Our immediate and extended family provides that to John but it is difficult to find that type of environment outside the family except through a church body.

Our local church body has wrapped John with the same love and acceptance that my other children enjoy. It is rare that we go to church and someone doesn't either take him and he gets passed from Mom to Mom or they ask about him. As said earlier, this environment allows John to enjoy and trust because he is learning that they love him and will treat him right. Some may wonder why this is.

I believe it is because that most people of faith look at people with a depth that penetrates the surface. They believe that the actual person is inside the fleshy shell that we all use to get around and communicate. So as John grows up in this type of environment, he will be free to be himself and not be ashamed of who he is.

I am reminded of the statement that was made by Coach Stallings from Alabama who had a child with Down syndrome. He said that the church was the best place for his child was church because of the love and acceptance of the people there. In the 5 months that we have had John and in the 9 months leading up to his delivery, we have experienced an outpouring of love and seen an unconditional love for John that is crucial to a child's life for them to thrive physically and emotionally.

Thanks to our church body for what you are giving to John. We enjoy sharing him with you because we know that you love him too.


Jeanette said...

Your post was so similar to our life. Our church family embraced Sydney just like our two boys. It is rare that I get to hold my daughter for more than a few minutes when we are there. I pray for the rest of the world to see through God's eyes.

Catholic Mom x 4 said...

Ditto here on the church family! One week I looked at my husband who I thought had John Michael, but he was several hands further down. Turns out he was being held by an elderly man suffering severe depression and his daughter (one of our school's teachers) thanked us because holding John Michael brought some smiles to his face -- something he hadn't done in a long time.

Cathy said...

Very good post! I was feeling the same way at church yesterday. People flock around us to check up on Lily. Her OHS was over 3 months ago and there are still so many prayers being said for her. I think one of the "jobs" God has entrusted to Lily and me is to help people understand Ds a little better. It's comfortable for me to start at church where I know that there is already acceptance. I'm using it as a training ground to make myself more comfortable outside the church walls.

Jill said...

Jay and Joy...what a beautiful little baby son you have! Thank you for your comments...what's funny is today for the first time ever, I posted a comment on someone's blog that I don't know. Turns out, she's on your blogroll, too! I feel like I've made new friends and it's wonderful! The Santa picture is so cute. I like the pictures you guys posted of your older kids with reminds me of our older two. We are ever so grateful to our family in Christ as well. My husband serves as one of the pastors. Our youth director commented the other day that Nate was the most popular kid in church. How true, isn't it?