Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our Different Dream

I sit here on Thanksgiving Morning 2011, thanking God for the life he has given Shawn and I. When I reflect on Thanksgiving, 1987, our first as a married couple, I had just left my full time job as a social worker in anticipation of motherhood. We had discussed and decided we wanted a family early--while we were young enough to enjoy them and large...probably 5 children. It was scandalous!  :o) Now, an almost 50 year old mom of 11 adopted children, can see somewhere it wasn't any longer our dream but His. We just listened and agreed to go along with His plan. It hasn't been easy, but I feel incredibly blessed today in ways I could never have imagined in 1987!

Many people plan the life they imagine. And then God throws them a curve ball. The blessing that they receive are often much harder than they thought up, but His rewards always surpass anything we are capable of imagining if we just say "yes" and do our part. In doing our part, there is so much to navigate. As a social worker for many years, I though I had it all figured out :o). I wish I had a resource such as Jolene Philo's Different Dream Parenting. A treasure trove of resources and lists, I would recommend it to any parent. In fact, I will write a post talking in depth about it along with an excerpt from the publisher. In the meantime, I will let Jolene, herself, tell you a little about it. But for your Thanksgiving shopping pleasure, minus the mall crowds, here is a 10% off retail code from the publisher for Different Dream Parenting. Also, I have a copy of the book to give to one poster today. You can get one chance to win the book by posting a bit about their different dream. It always helps to talk to others in the same situation. You can get a second entry by subscribing to my blog. I will draw a name on Monday. And thanks to Jolene for allowing me to participate in this blog hop...I begged her for a chance to review the book which her publisher provided, along with the giveaway book. The opinions of the book are my own! Now, in her own words, Jolene...


When our beautiful newborn boy was transferred to a regional hospital, my husband and I felt lost at sea. A few hours later, we learned that our baby required immediate surgery at a university hospital 750 miles away. Without it, he would die. That news threw us overboard. We longed for someone who could come alongside and pull us out of the water. A book to chart a map through unfamiliar waters and assure us of God’s presence.

But our son was born in 1982 when pediatric medicine was a relatively new field. Families like ours were hard to find. Parenting books hadn’t been written. The Internet didn’t exist. Over the next twenty years, even after the surgeries and medical procedures that corrected our son’s condition were over, my search for parenting resources yielded scant results. Eventually, I sensed God nudging me to come alongside young parents lost at sea like we had been, to create a map they could follow.

Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs is that map. It’s a map for parents of kids living with medical special needs as well as conditions like Down Syndrome, juvenile diabetes, developmental delays, and autism, and those facing a terminal diagnosis. It guides parents by providing tools and resources they need to become effective advocates for their kids.

The book features interviews, advice, and resources from more than fifty families and two dozen professionals. With their help, the book addresses the situations parents face every day. Things I wish someone had told me, like:
      Asking questions after diagnosis.
      Dealing with insurance companies.
      Preparing a child for a hospital stay.
      Accessing financial resources and government monies.
      Accessing special education services.
      Determining optimum level of care.
      Mobilizing volunteers at home.
      Supporting the sibs.
      Preparing a child for death.
      Planning a funeral.
      Participating in community and church events.
      Creating a special needs trust for adult children with special needs.
 In addition to practical advice, Different Dream Parenting tackles spiritual questions families are often afraid to ask. Questions about:
      God’s sovereignty
      Parental guilt
      Setting and maintaining spiritual priorities
      Grieving for children living with special needs
      Grieving the death of a child
      Passing faith on to children with special needs

Thirty day prayer guides in the appendices are for parents too exhausted to form their own prayers.
I remember what it’s like to be lost at sea, thrown overboard by an unexpected diagnosis, and drowning under a flood of care giving demands. My goal is to put Different Dream Parenting into the hands of floundering parents so they have a map and know they’re not alone. To order the book, visit and click on the “buy the book” tab.
Thanks, Holly, for this opportunity to guest blog and tell people about Different Dream Parenting at Dwell in Glory.

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