It was 14 years ago today that a tiny person was born struggling to breathe as her frightened mother's heart swirled further into a world of overwhelming decisions.
As the days went by, the burden became more than this precious woman believed she could carry.
Just more than four weeks later, her husband drove the child to a meeting place and surrendered the baby to volunteers of a rescue agency. Papers were signed in a social worker's office three days later.
That's the day I got the call. The ring of the phone changed my life in miraculous, sacred, heart wrenching, infinite ways. The child I long for was nothing like I had every dreamed, she was so much more. God didn't use us to save her life as much as He has used her to save ours.
No one truly goes looking for a child with multiple medical issues, developmental disabilities or physical challenges. I can assure you, we didn't.
We weren't told everything by the exhausted volunteers who had searched for a home to place her in. What we were told seemed like enough to conquer, but like any parent who is given a child with disabilities, you take every moment as it comes.
What “they” don't tell you (somebody please tell me who “they” are?), is when you are given the gift of a family member with special needs, they come with an abundance of hidden treasures. I'm going to let you in on the secret: life isn't about having everything go your way. Life is learning from those things you don't expect.
Patience comes after waiting longer than expected for a surgery to end or when a one-day surgical procedure keeps you in for ten.
Gentleness is sharpened when you have healthcare professionals who need to learn that all human bodies are not alike.
Friendships are made over the sound of tube pumps, suction machines and wheelchair colors.
One of my favorites, beauty, is found in the snaggle-toothed grin of a child who laughs so hard at her sister dancing that the whole room breaks out into laughter.
There is nothing I could have done on my own that was lovely enough to have deserved being Allison's mother. That to me is pure grace.
Even with my weaknesses, my failures and shortcomings, God has allowed me to be front row to a miraculous life. This is a life filled with unexpected treasures wrapped into the frail body of a child who wasn't supposed to make it to birth.
Today I wish a happy 14th birthday to my amazing Allison. Because of you, the world is a brighter and much more interesting place. Everyone who has ever met you knows exactly what I mean.