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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Labels (01/05/04)

TITLE: Alenas Special
By Annette Bury


My heart pounded as I clutched onto the arm of my husband, Bob. Taking long strides, I bit my lip. Turning the corner, we stood in front of Ms. Walker’s* office.
Bob looked me in the eye. “Don’t worry, okay?”
I sighed. “Bob, something is wrong. Why wouldn’t Ms. Walker discuss this with me on the phone?”
I knocked.
The door opened as Ms. Walker stepped aside. “Please come in Mr. and Mrs. Bury.”
We slid into our chairs as Ms. Walker shifted in her seat.
“Mr. and Mrs. Bury, as you know, we’ve administered extensive testing for your daughter, Alena. I realize some of the information is unavailable, since you didn’t adopt her until she was almost eleven. And since she lived in Russia, we just don’t have all the background information. But I want to share with you what we do have.” Grabbing two packets off her desk, she handed us each one. “Please take a few minutes to look it over, and then I’ll try and answer any questions.”
I scanned to the bottom of the sheet. Alena’s I.Q. score in bold, dark print; far below normal. I read on through each test result, revealing below standard scores.
My lip quivered as I fought back the tears. “Are-Are you sure Ms. Walker?”
“Yes, Mrs. Bury, we are. I’m so sorry. Alena is eligibly mentally impaired.”
I nodded.
My husband blurted out, “So, how do we fix it, Ms. Walker?”
“Mr. Bury, I’m sorry there’s no way to fix her condition.”
I asked many questions about Alena’s future, but all my answers were met with, “I’m not sure, but she’ll probably never accomplish that.”
Once in the car, I blurted out, “Bob, you don’t get it do you? You can’t call someone to fix our daughter – she’s retarded. There’s no cure for that!”
After arriving at home, Bob left for work while I fell to my knees, sobbing. My precious, beautiful daughter that I had prayed for was now officially labeled. I had only consented to the testing, so Alena would receive additional help with her schoolwork – Never, expecting anything like this.
For the next several days, my daily chores were completed in a flood of tears. Often Bob would find me lying on our bedroom floor, sobbing. He’d stroke my hair, and say, “Alena is going to surprise everyone with her accomplishments. Just wait and see.”
One day as Alena and I walked toward a store, she reached out her small hand to me. Looking at her fragile hand, I clasped mine around hers. At that moment, God spoke to me in a whisper. “She’s still that same, tender child whom you fought to give a home. You loved her before you knew about her impairment.” Alena smiled at me as she offered to push the cart. She asked as she often did, “Mom, how can I help you with the groceries?”
Those words reminded me of all her kind gestures and the numerous miracles God had performed in giving me this child. I needed to give up my pity party and start trusting God again.
With my faith restored, I believed God for a miracle, and He heard my prayers! That year Alena surpassed in everything I was told she’d never accomplish.
Even though the educators labeled her, Jesus Christ didn’t. He didn’t label my daughter, so why should I? Alena’s future is in the hands of the Master, who created her, yes, special and unique.

* Not her real name

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 01/12/04
God is indeed the miracle worker and we will both be forever grateful for the work He has done in our children's lives!
In Him
Donna Anderson01/12/04
He's labeled us all : 'LOVED'
Christine Rhee01/12/04
This article grips the reader's emotion and then twists it! Well done!
Ginnylynn Rodriguez01/12/04
Excellent story! Very heart wrenching but we all know how God makes beauty for ashes. God bless you.
Glenda Lagerstedt01/13/04
What an awesome testimony of our God's miracle-working power.
Violet Nesdoly01/14/04
Fabulous story, Annette. Hope that special little Alena keeps surprising you!
Kathy Pollock01/15/04
I have three children who have been "labelled" by society. The key for me is to see their individual strengths and focus on them. Lables might be guidelines sometimes, but as you have found, we don't have to be bound by them.
Bonita M Quesinberry,R.C.01/18/04
Heartwarming article. As a Christian counselor, I refuse to use labels nor and my patients are called participants: after all, they are not patient to get well. I detest labels, especially in my work, because each one denotes "incurable," an idea I cannot adhere to: for God is the great psychiatrist and healer. Nothing is beyond His infinite capability. Well done.
Bonita M Quesinberry, R.C. -author
Associate Editor, Waltsan Publishing
Donna Haug01/18/04
Echoing the comments of others, I was touched by your story. I know the word count limits your story but I would love to hear in more detail how God worked in her life over the year enabling her to overcome. God bless! Donna
L.M. Lee01/18/04
seeing children as special, and remembering just because we grew up, we're still special is hard sometimes. good story.