Today I attended a workshop called 'Sibshops' conducted by Don Meyer, a hilarious communicator dedicated to a people group that is largely overlooked; siblings of kids and adults with special needs.
I sat in a room of close to 100 people and thought about Elaina and Zoya. I listened to adult siblings talk about the challenges and triumphs of having brothers and sisters with special needs. One sister cried, saying this was the first time she has connected with other siblings in her position. She is 28 years old.
It felt good to think about my two older girls, to write down tips that can help them in their unique roles.
Polly and Evie get a lot of attention by default. But Elaina and Zoya have needs too.
I found a sibshop that meets near us in Chicago today at the workshop. Elaina and Zoya will be able to go to a group once a month, play games, have fun and connect with other kids who have siblings with Down syndrome and Autism and Cerebral Palsy etc...
After our tumultuous year: bringing Evangeline home through international adoption from Ukraine and Polly's stroke and diagnosis of Moyamoya and subsequent brain surgeries I'm the first to tell you that there were many days that Elaina and Zoya were not on my radar screen. And as a mom that makes me feel like dirt.
I'm thankful that life has slowed down enough and God has pointed out to me the needs of my two older girls. They need attention, affirmation, security, experience.
This weekend Polly and Evie went to spend the night with my mom and dad in Michigan. Sergei and I took Elaina and Zoya out to eat and tonight we went to a show Elaina was performing in at school sans toddlers. Tomorrow the girls get to participate in their very own sibshop.
What a gift to focus on these dear girls for a few days.
It's filling my soul as much as it's filling theirs. It's imperative to remember there were four lives forever changed with the birth of Polly and the addition of Evie. The experience can make us rich or poor.
I hope I can help it to be rich for our family.