What I Want You to Know is a series of
reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their
personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the
unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to
this series,
click here. Today’s guest posts is by Lauren.

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My husband and I adopted a daughter from overseas who has special needs.
She is significantly visually impaired, has epilepsy and is
significantly delayed.

I want you to know that I am not a saint
for wanting this child and it really burns my butt when you make me
sound like one. When people tell me what an angel I am for adopting my
daughter, it makes her sound like a huge burden. Otherwise, why would it
be so noteworthy for me to love her? She’s not a burden. She’s a
blessing. Every day, no matter what happens. Through the surgeries and
the ER trips and the therapy visits. Through the tantrums and the tics. I
cannot imagine our family without her. She gives more than she
receives, you just can’t see it.

She is blind and delayed, but
she is not mentally handicapped. Please don’t discount her because of
some off mannerisms. She is actually very bright, but spending the first
four years of her life in an orphanage in darkness made it hard to
learn much of anything.

We know nothing about her biological
mother. We don’t know if she “did anything” to cause our daughter’s
disabilities. We do know that she lived in a terribly impoverished
region. So while you may want to
vilify her, don’t do it in front of me. I am unendingly grateful to the
woman who gave my daughter life, I love her for what she made for me,
and I don’t blame her for my daughter’s disabilities.

No, there
isn’t a cure. No, she will probably never see like you and I. No, we are
not raring for a miracle to restore perfect vision. If a miracle happens, we will celebrate. We do everything for her,
medically, that we can. But the goal is not to change her and make her
“normal.” We love her “as is.”

Sometimes, it’s tough. Her needs
are high and it can be stressful, but we are learning as we go and
getting pretty good at handling it. The benefits far outweigh the pain,
but sometimes I might need to whine and cry because it’s tough. That
does NOT mean that I regret it. It’s just hard at times.

Visually impaired kids often explore the world with their mouths. Sorry if she explores something of yours.

Sorry
if she grabs you without warning. She can’t see you well, and she uses
her hands to explore her world. Just be glad she wasn’t using her mouth
at that moment.

You have no idea how much more exciting the world is
when every milestone is a big deal. You have no idea how rewarding it
is to see a child brought back to life in your care. I see the whole
world differently now. I appreciate things more. I love more openly. I’m
fulfilled in a whole new way. I see miracles all around. Sometimes I
feel sorry for people who don’t get to see life from this perspective.
You are really missing out.