A year and a half ago, I had a long, drawn out conversation with the children's minister at our church. I was unable to convince her that the children with special needs were not getting their basic needs met, much less spiritual or ministry to the family. She simply would not believe that they were not meeting all the needs. (this same minister had done an incredible job with my children going through her program. So when I stepped down from worship ministry to work with the kids, I was quite alarmed at the changes and the lack of patience, kindness and basic respect for these children and their families!)
She insisted that all was being done and they were being treated appropriately, the families were being ministered to, not judged. (then why were all the families of special needs children coming to me in tears begging for help?!? I did not base my conversation with her soley on the parents response (but in part) but in my own observation of how the CHILDREN and PARENTS were being treated by both staff and volunteers ... and the realization that if we'd been treated that way we'd have been out of there! 18 months later, of the 8 children with special needs, from 7 families ... 1 remains. The families left the church.
I got off the phone with her, and turned to my husband, rather frustrated and said "I'm going to back to school to become a child psychologist so I can do this right!" And 2 days later I was enrolled at my school and had applied for financial aide.
This week, the 1 mom remaining called me, she was heart broken over the trouble with school. A lack of services (read back to more than 3 years ago in this blog and you'll see several posts of issues with special education services in the district she lived in. Our primary reason for moving where we did!!) A lack of help/support in the church and finger pointing that if she'd be a better mother she'd have a better kid. I got that from the school, frequently, I did not ever get that from the church. It saddens me that her support system consists of her husband, her parents, and myself (and I'm not at that church anymore .. this conversation in April was the beginning of the end of a 10 year membership. I'd loved the church so much, it took me 3 months to actually leave after we decided to go)
As I helped her to put the pieces together for the IEP meeting in the morning, I was charged up anew over my mission in school. (I had a test in Psychology the next morning and was floundering with the information)
Then, this weekend a conversation with someone else over behavioral issues with the teenager in the home. The realization that there was more going on than teenager issues, and that help was needed left me axious to be able to do more ..and glad I was doing more! I also had some helpful things that came directly from the classes I've taken or am taking that she can put into place while she tries to get professional help.
Sometimes I get lost in the 'need' to get straight A's and forget that the reason I want A's is so that I've learned all that I can out of the class ...and be the best I can be for the families I will serve.
The only question I have is ...will my heart be able to take it when I see the broken hearted parents?