Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Labels (01/05/04)
TITLE: Alenas Special
By Annette Bury
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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?”
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.”
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