Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Step-Parenting Special Needs: My Journey Through Parenthood

S is for Step-parenting Special needs.

Everyone has a unique story.  This one is no exception.  It's not a story I ever expected to be a part of.  God has is plans, though, and I'm privy to it only as he allows.

I tend to share my journey openly and as honestly as possible.  This leaves much room for criticisms.  I have lost friendships, too.  People I thought believed in the hope and redemption of Jesus turned out to believe there is only hope and redemption for some people.  I am not one of those people, according to them.

In all the struggles that I have shared with friends, family and strangers, I remind myself constantly that I am not alone.  I can't be.  I'm human and a sinner just like the rest of the world.  I have received many emails from people who have the same struggles I have described but have never heard it voiced before.

Just because we choose to have children, whether it's through adoption, marriage or child birth, doesn't mean we are immune to anger, resentment, and even hatred towards those small, innocent hearts.  That doesn't mean we should act on those feelings.  But they must be dealt with.  Otherwise the seed will grow and become a monster.

I have seen this monster in the mirror.  It was a scary thing to not recognize myself.  It was even scarier to see the effects on my family.

The best thing I ever did - and still do - is be honest about where I'm at.

I don't understand Marie.  She does a lot of weird things that seem to yell DOWN SYNDROME in my face.  I am constantly angry at her so she is constantly in trouble.  I have felt a huge amount of resentment and hatred towards her.  It was overwhelming.  There were some days I simply couldn't be in the same room as her.  She has done things that made my entire body shake with rage.

What I was seeing was the behavior.
I wasn't able to see the heart.
What I was seeing was down syndrome.
 I wasn't able to see the girl.

What I am able to see now is that the anger issue has less and less to do with Marie and down syndrome and more and more to do with me.

Where does this anger come from?  Wouldn't it make sense that anger comes from pain?

Now, as the adult, as the parent, it's my job to work through whatever pain I have been hiding from.

This is the A-Z blogging challenge so go ahead and read the introduction and see a list of all my A-Z posts.


  1. I'm sure there are many challenges to step-parenting, particularly a child with special needs. I appreciate you sharing so honestly here, and I know for me personally, writing out what I'm feeling often helps me see it for what it is, and understand it better. Take care.

    1. Writing it out, pen to paper, words on screen, it all helps to make sense of the craziness!

  2. You have come such a long way and those of use who have stuck - are proud. and privileged to learn from your willing heart!
    And any time I think of how people can get in your face -- thinking you are worthless, when really we all are unworthy -- I think of the thief on the cross beside Jesus: "Remember me." That's all he said - just 2 simple words to our Lord -- but Jesus heard his Heart.

    1. Thanks! That is always a great part of the story.

  3. my heart goes out to you. I do believe anger comes from pain and feeling threatened, which stems from not feeling safe. if we dig deep, we can see that our own anger comes from those feelings. God bless you and all your efforts to love your children and learn from them.

    1. Pain and feeling threatened have been two road blocks for me, that's for sure! It just takes time - a lot of time - to move on, let go and let God.

  4. WOW, I am trying to visit as many in the A to Z challenge this year(Last year I took the posts too seriously and neglected the real purpose...connecting) First I have been a step mother for over 25years and that is not an easy place to be, I cannot imagine the added stress of a special needs child. It sounds like you are amazing and really willing to work at it, so I would look for all the special needs support groups and activities you possibly can. I worked a little with downs syndrome kids YEARS ago and expectations have to be realistic, that is the key. I get frustrated and angry at times with my one and only child ( half sibling to my step children) because he is capable of so much and y expectations are high, I have balanced that he needs to be who he is and in as much as I can guide and help, I have to attune my expectations. This April's A to Z has been an AMAZING journey connecting with such a wide variety of individuals all blogging for such different reasons (mine is shameless promoting, I am a writer and wish to get my name out there- I do however help out as many other writers as I can so shameless but not selfish) #AtoZchallenge I am sure that amongst all the blogs that I visit I will always remember your raw amazing honesty. SO impressed. WOW! Pat yourself in the back, you rock!!! ☮Peace ☮ ღ ONE ℒℴνℯ ღ ☼ Light ☼ visiting from http://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/

    1. Thank you for all the thoughts! It is always nice to connect with other parents who can understand on some level.

      There is no shame in self-promotion. :) I am going to write a best seller one day and become rich and famous. Haha Or not. Who the heck knows.

      My expectations of people in general are usually very high. We are all a work in progress.

  5. I am not sure If my comment went through? At any rate the only important thing isto say that yourraw honesty is to be admired ! #AtoZchallenge ☮Peace ☮ ღ ONE ℒℴνℯ ღ ☼ Light ☼ visiting from http://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/

  6. I think it's wonderful that you have enough self-awareness to be willing to look inside to see where the anger is coming from. I'm sure step-parenting any child is difficult, and adding special needs to that doesn't make it easier.

    One of AJ's AtoZ wHooligans
    Tales of a Pee Dee Mama


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