Monday, February 14, 2011

Didn't See That Coming!

Well everyone, if you didn't see my post and all the conversation it started on Facebook, here is goes. It actually happened, I witnessed discrimination. I've never seen in with my own eyes, just heard about it or have seen it on TV! Unless you actually go through this, you might think to yourself, what's the big deal, it's not that bad, or get over it. This, I won't get over and it is a huge deal. In fact, I woke up this morning more disturbed than when it happened yesterday. We woke up yesterday as we usually do on Sundays, late and running around like crazy trying to get out the door for church on time. For some reason, it never happens. We were really excited because 2 weeks ago we tried yet another church that would be the best fit for our family. We loved this one. It was relaxed, the people were welcoming, the music was good, and they were going to be building and adding on which we were really excited about. I have been so hard to please when it comes to churches. We had the perfect church when we lived in Newport News VA and nothing had ever come close since. I started to lower my expectations a little in order to find something that would make me happy on Sundays. We have been to 6 or 7 churches since we moved last year and finally thought that we found one that would work if I wasn't going to be able to commute back and forth to our old church! They had opened up with about 30 minutes on adoption and how important it was and how they supported it so much. There were quite a few families that were adopting that attended church there and we were so excited to meet them over time. What sold us...they had an adoption ministry for families that had adopted or where in the middle of adopting. We couldn't wait for this week to get more information on that! I had expressed to everyone that asked how excited we were to try this church for second time just to make sure it was the one that we wanted to pursue. Back to running behind! We get out the door about 10 or 15 minutes later then what I wanted but we still made it one time. We walked in and the place seemed empty, so I quickly figured out that we were actually early. Thirty minutes early to be exact. We got the service times messed up. So, we went to sit at the coffee bar and hang out until we could drop the kiddos off. Of course Haiden was having none of the sitting around and wanted to walk so off him and Charlie went. It was just me and Noah! A really nice woman walked up to me and asked "you're the House family, right"? It was really weird since we hadn't met anyone yet. It turns out that she was in charge of the kid's programs at the church and she wanted to show us their "Access Ministry" or their program for kids with special needs. Still trying to figure out what piece of paper I filled out or who Charlie talked to since this lady new we were the House family and we had a child with special needs I agreed to check out the program. Charlie and I gathered everything and followed her. Let me just stress that she didn't head in the direction of the other classrooms with the REST of the children. We literally went in the opposite direction and up one floor. Once we got out of the elevators, we continued to wind back to the room where she wanted Haiden to feel more comfortable. She explained to us that Haiden would be in there with a few others also with special needs and would get the one on one he would need. After asking her how many other kids where in there she informed us 3 including Haiden. The age range is also birth to third grade. Now why in the world would I want him in there with a third grader or a newborn for that matter?! We did tell her thank you for her time and that we were going to talk it over but for now we were going to put him down in the class he was already in. We said our goodbyes and went our own way. I got down to check the boys in and for some reason only Noah popped up in the computer system. All of a sudden I was being "helped" out by women who already knew what was going on. We were informed that Haiden was not in the system on the first floor because he was supposed to be upstairs in the special program. After explaining to her that we wanted him with his peers the lady excused herself to "get help" because we were causing so much trouble. I was watching the exchange of conversation between the two women and overheard the "boss" say "I'll take care of it". She continued where the other left off telling us that it would be better for Haiden if he was up where he could get one on one and sometimes two on one. I tried telling her that he doesn't need anymore attention than any other kid that age. "Well...didn't you tell the volunteer that he chokes sometimes? The volunteers aren't comfortable and they don't have the training they need to deal with something like that". This was her reply! Uhmmm I'm sorry, you don't require your volunteers to be trained in first aid and CPR and you let them be around children? My final question to her was "so you're telling me that he is not allowed in that classroom, is that what you are telling me"? I'm not exactly sure what happened after that because I felt like I was in a dream. I felt like this was not really happening and they were going to let Haiden into the classroom! Needless to say, we left because unlike Charlie I was not willing to give them a chance after that.

Now call me selfish, but I am tired of always being the ones educating and explaining. I'm tired of trying to fix the ignorance in the world one uneducated person at a time. Most of the time, I understand, or try and most of the time I am completely supportive of Charlie when he is traveling, gone for days, at meetings, on boards, in classes, and speaking in front of whoever will listen. But not that day, not on Sunday! I just wanted to go to church. I wanted to be accepted and to just go and listen to church service like everyone else. Instead we were pre-identified as being the family with a child that has special needs. Then, our choice, our decision was taken away from us and someone decided what was best for our child and our family.

Now, I'm not in denial. I know perfectly well that as Haiden gets older the learning gap between him and his peers is going to grow. He will need more help and more support and more one on one as he gets older. I know this. I then will make the decision, Charlie and I, and we will decide together. Not a stranger! Anyway, that is about all I have to report. Nothing about the adoption. We are still waiting to hear back from Russia. The word is still the end of Feb. So everyone keep us in your prayers and thoughts and I'll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything new!


  1. I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you. As a pastor's wife, and a mother to a child with DS, I am appalled that something like this would happen. I really, REALLY think you should call the church and talk to the senior pastor. NOT the children's pastor, the boss- the senior pastor. Explain your situation and that you don't think it's right that you weren't even given a choice of where to send your child. Most people doing most of the work in churches are volunteers who have no idea how to deal with a situation that is outside the norm, and when you politely declined the special needs class, they were thrown for a loop.(I am sure they thought you would be happy to have it. If they don't have special needs children, they probably don't understand why inclusion is so important to us.) This I can guarantee, if the Senior Pastor had a child with special needs, things would be different, so try to make him understand why this just wasn't acceptable. Please, please, don't give up on this church because they weren't prepared. It seems like they could have so much for you! If this is an Assembly of God church, maybe we could help you. If you would facebook msg me the name of the church I could find out.
    Again, I am so sorry this happened! I know you were so excited about this church.
    Tracy McCain

  2. I haven't finished reading your post yet, I saw that you lived in NN- that's where we live now. Where in NN did you live and which church did you go to?

  3. I do not know if you wil ever read this comment as I have just read your post about Martin as well (very sorry for your loss, and I pray that he is happy and truely loved). I just wanted to also comment about your church situation. My daughter is 2.5 with DS and thankfully our church has been great and although she is technically too younge, she has been allowed to participate in the Pre-school classroom since September. However, I know of another family who has been struggling at their church with having their daughter accepted in the kids classrooms, if you get a chance check out Sarah's blog ( if you have not already found it. In her posts Fitting Inside the Box (part 1 & 2) she talks a bit about her church situation. Thought she may be able to provide you with some support. I will keep Martin and the rest of your family in my prayers.