Special Needs Celebration Picnic

 Last weekend, we attended our first Special Needs Celebration - put on by our new pediatrician's office. (Dr. Rick is now our pedi but has been a dear family friend my whole life... & has unofficially been helping me figure out medical stuff since my pregnancy with Will.)
When Dr. Rick got down on one knee for a picture with Will, Will copied his stance - so cute!
He loves Dr. Rick!
The picnic was at the lake at a camp & attended to by 800 people!  It was amazing to see so many families! 

One of the many factors we considered when thinking about moving closer to our kids' specialists was our desire to put down roots for them in a community with kids with differences.  When we were pregnant with Will, we resolved that we would mainstream him as much as possible.  We would raise him to live in a society of people who have hands and feet.  We would expect him to know how to function in the world.  But, we also wanted to give him, as much as possible, a sense of community with others with similar differences as him.  We have strived to build relationships for him with others who can answer his questions about how to do different things better than we can simply because they have experienced doing life with a limb difference.  We have taken him to meet Kyle Maynard & Nick Vujicic.  We took him to Out on a Limb Camp to be around other kids with limb differences.  We are thankful for the opportunity  at various children's hospitals to expose him to all sorts of differences - kids with wheelchairs and walkers and halos, kids with cancer, kids missing limbs, kids with mental disabilities, kids with learning disorders, kids with Autism, etc.    I am so thankful that from early ages my children will be around other children with differences.  We have attempted to attend functions at the hospital that will allow him to be around other kids with similar differences.  We think it is important that he have that sense of community so that when he encounters loneliness because he does live in a world and in a family where very few people (if any) have hands and feet like him, he will have roots in a community of those who understand and who get him in ways we can not.  Of course, then we had Ellie and again, we want her to have that same sort of sense of community.
So, when considering moving, we wanted to be able to give both Will & Ellie roots near others with similar differences.  We wanted to offer them that sense of community.
Which is why we were so excited to learn of this giant picnic put on by Dr. Rick's office for all of the special needs families they serve.

I must admit, however, that while we were excited to participate, the reality that we qualify to attend a picnic for people with special needs and disabilities... and that we qualify twice was just a bit difficult emotionally.

They had lots of activities sponsored by various community programs and resources.
Since we are new here, this was good for me to become familiar with what is available to us in our new community.

 Will loved the therapets.

 Ellie loved the little horses.  Her whole face lit up in a big smile.
 Will got to brush this horse.

 The highlight of the day was dunking Dr. Rick!
 Got him!
 Through the woods with Daddy

One of the things we love about Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is the fact that they provide ways for children to build relationships with their doctors through events such as camps and the ski trip.  I think this is so good for children to build trust - they will have a long relationship with their specialists and TSRHC really works hard to develop that between the patients and doctors.
What we observed at the picnic is that Dr. Rick & his partners are building relationships with their special needs patients.  By spending time with the families at the lake, by including their own families at the lake, they are getting to know their patients (& their patients get to know them) away from a clinic setting.  We are thankful that we have had a relationship with Dr. Rick for a long time but this was a fun way to get to know the nurses and other doctors.

It was a good afternoon and though hard in some ways, we were thankful for the opportunity to be around other families with kids with differences.

So many beautiful kids.  Sometimes, I wish I could just take pictures of all of the sparkling eyes and funny personalities and cute kids - the creativity of our God as He creates beautiful children - many with differences - fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.
We bought Will a shirt at the event that he wanted - it had the superman logo...
and this phrase which I want to copy (it wasn't trademarked)
"Born Different to Make a Difference."

Yes.  They certainly are.

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