Every Child
3/27/15 at 07:53 AM 0 Comments

More Families for Special Needs: God’s Call

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Today’s guest post is contributed by Melanie Bechtel, a military wife and Bethany adoptive mother of three children with special needs. A dedicated and busy mother of six, Melanie remains connected to her Bethany branch as a speaker for waiting family and new parenting classes.

For health reasons, doctors advised me to not have more children. My husband, Josh, and I were blessed to have Seth, now 13; Caleb, now 10; and Damaris, now 9, but our dream of an even larger family seemed to be over—until we discovered we were both interested in adoption.

We chose Bethany as our adoption agency for many reasons, but one was that we thought adopting an older child through the foster care system in our state was the right plan for us. Bethany worked with that system. God, however, knew about Titus, a newborn with Down syndrome who needed a family. We felt called to be this little boy’s parents instead, and God almost instantly made it financially possible for us to adopt him.

Now we had a 13-day-old baby with special needs. At times we had doubts. Explaining our decision to others was at times a challenge. And there was so much to be learned, so many medical needs. In addition to Down syndrome, Titus has over 20 diagnoses. Thankfully, we received a grant from Bethany’s Caring Connection fund to help offset the cost of some of Titus’s medical expenses. Now 4, our son is the most wonderful blessing. It’s amazing to see how he has developed and grown.

Next we adopted twin boys who were 6 months old when they came home. Born at 24 weeks, Malachi and Eli had significant medical issues they still have today at 2. They presented a new set of challenges, many of which could be life-long, but more important, they needed a family and to be together.

The challenges and sacrifices have indeed been many. To protect the twins’ fragile health, Josh and I had to work out our schedules so one of us is home with them while the other manages needs outside the house. Homeschool efforts were disrupted. The older children had to give up some “extras,” such as sports, field trips with our homeschool group, and youth activities. We had to create a rotating schedule for Josh and me to each attend church services.

The blessings, however, truly outweigh the challenges and sacrifices. Like Titus, the twins are growing and developing, and we cannot imagine how life would be without them. Our older children have learned lessons about tolerance and helpfulness for those with special needs they would never have learned otherwise.

We are normal, flawed human beings, blessed to serve an awesome God. On the tough days, we rely on Him to work it all out, and He does. We also turn to our family and friends and, of course, the staff at Bethany. Bethany’s post-adoption services—the ones we received in Virginia and the ones we receive now in Maryland—help us to persevere, to be the parents God has called us to be. And I know God is calling other families to be like ours.

Listen to Bethany’s Every Child audio podcast. Bethany leadership engage Christian artists and leading voices from ministries, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies in discussing issues relevant to children and families. Learn more and hear about topics such as child welfare, family preservation, social justice, and sustainable, culturally appropriate social services in developing countries.

Bethany Christian Services is a leading global adoption, family preservation, and child welfare agency.

Read more from Bethany at Bethany.org/blog.

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