Being Asher's mom has and will continue to change me. In case you are new to our story, Asher has Down syndrome. I never envisioned myself as a "special needs parent". In fact, that was something I feared. When you have a child with special needs you stand out, which is something that I enjoy less and less the older I get. Advocating for my child doesn't come naturally to me, yet it's part of my role now and I do it for him.
Not everyone notices at this point that Asher has Down syndrome. They see that he is cute, if they ask his age they might be able to see that he is delayed, but I am rarely asked if he has Down syndrome and people don't stare yet because if it. Right now they stare because I have two children under 2 and they are trying to figure out if they are twins or not or because I look frazzled like many moms of young children do.
Asher really is a light in our family. He brings joy with his smiles and giggles. He brings celebration with every milestone he works so hard to meet. His normally relaxed personality is in stark contrast to Lucas' higher strung, busier personality. He loves to give hugs and kisses, be held and loved on. He is really perfect in so many ways.
He makes me see the world differently. He makes me more aware of other parents and children with special needs. Creating a special bond between us immediately upon meeting. He makes me slow down and not rush milestones and development, knowing that he will get there in his time, not according to a table or chart. He brings out a passion in me to fight for him and his rights even when it's uncomfortable and may lead to making tough choices. He also makes me fear for his future, how will he be treated and what happens when one of us isn't there to "protect" him. He opens my mind to how someone can be so valuable to those around them that other's might not see as being able to contribute to society and how God can truly use anyone, regardless of their ability or disability. He shows me how blessed I am to have him as my tour guide on a journey that I feared and wasn't sure I wanted to take.
When we were deciding whether or not we wanted to be considered as potential parents to adopt Asher and Lucas, I was so afraid of the far off future. God kept telling me that I couldn't focus just on that, but it was hard. I was afraid that Asher being a member of our family might mean that we would have to alter travel and vacation plans, that we might not be able to serve in international missions again if that was part of God's plan, and that Elias and I might not get to enjoy our retirement years as a couple because he would always be dependent on us.
Now I have learned that Asher has an amazingly bright future. We will travel and vacation to the same places that we would have if he was typical. If God calls us back to international missions, he will come and be a light and probably reach people in a way that we would be unable to without him. I now know that he can go to college (if he wants) and live semi independently with other adults with developmental disabilities and possibly even get married (if he wants). But now I want that for HIM not so that Elias and I can enjoy the freedom of retirement. He has changed my heart and I want so much for him and his future! Each night that I am home, I sign him my favorite song for him as he falls asleep in my arms and I know that I am blessed to be Asher's mom.