Tuesday, May 28, 2013

His plan, my story|Reece's Rainbow

Ever since I was little I fantasized my life when I grew up, I made up folders with magazine cutouts of my house, & my Husband. I use to say all the time I was going to only adopt & I would have a houseful of kids. But, I never truly understood the cause of the orphans til I was 18. I'm not sure what I pictured of an orphan in my 6-8 yr old mind.

When I was mid elementary age, I did a report about Down Syndrome (which my sister has) & before then I never fully grasped what Trisomy 21 was & all the learning that went into that report was just a helpful tool for what was to come.

While he was etching the path for my passion, my sister & I had come to love a christian summer camp for kids with special needs & their siblings. As soon as we picked my sister up from camp & were watching the video I just knew I wanted to come the following summer. In 2003, I attended that camp for the first time & I enjoyed it enough to go back!
2004 was another good year at camp & not wanting to leave on the last day yet again. 2005 I wanted to go back but God had other plans as we said goodbye to our home in MO of 5 years to embark on a new journey to CA. It was just not possible to fly back over the summer so though I missed it that year I knew I wanted to go back the following summer.
2006 was a great time to come back as Extreme Home makeover had redone some things at Camp & built some new Buildings so I was excited to return. 

Each summer I grew in my faith, made new friends, got brave to try new things & got to discuss the daily life of being a sibling to someone with Special Needs with others who knew what I was going through. The First new thing I tried was the slides. I was so scared but then I don't remember if it was someone at camp talking to me or what but I decided to try out the side slide which was less scary than the other slide. My whole cabin was waiting for me at the bottom of the slide cheering me on which made me less scared/nervous. Summer 2007 I tried the big slide which I'm glad I did! 

That year also brought me the courage to finally get baptized in the camp pool. 2008 came this time I attended camp without my sister as she decided she did not want to come back. I still had a great time though. 2009 God had other plans for me. I wanted to try going to youth group camp instead as usually they were held the same week. 

Well the camp I signed up for turned out to be a different plan than the whole group expected. Halfway through the first day, I got sick. Almost all the years I went to the other camp it was the same deal. As I tried to rest while my parents were going to be called, a precious friend kept checking on me to make sure I was okay. When I woke up my Mom was there, as we walked back to the car to leave tears pouring down my cheeks I wished I could have made it through the week. Each day I was in a blah sort of mood as all my friends were at camp & I was at home with nothing to do. My Mom came up with the idea for me to go back for part of the day. So when we arrived everyone was so glad to see me. That days plan was to go white river rafting. I was scared out of my mind but after it was said & done I'm glad I got to go. 

The next summer I decided to go back to the camp in MO with another church group but instead of being a sibling camper I would go as a CIA (Christians in Action) counselor. What I expected was I would be in a cabin with a 1:1 interaction with a camper with Special Needs.  Well, God knew what I could handle so he put me in a cabin with siblings & not only that but two of the girls in my cabin had been my cabin mates in previous years. I managed that year quite well not getting sick til the last day but I managed to feel better before I had to leave. That summer I now will always cherish as my "last" full time at Camp. 

You may ask why I put last in quotes? I will answer that in a moment but first I want to tell you the camp has a mini camp every twice a year over a weekend period. Since my Grandma lived nearby in fall 2010 I thought it was perfect timing to go see her then spend the weekend at Camp. God then answered by request from that summer when he gave me a somewhat challenging younger camper with Down Syndrome & living with a cabin full of girls with Down Syndrome. I learned so much that weekend that not all kids with Down Syndrome are alike.

I did not realize the next challenge & different twist God had planned. 2011 I planned going to Camp in MO by myself & serve there yet again. I was prepared but I did not even last a day before I got sick. I had been placed in a challenging cabin full of campers with various forms of autism & it was decided I would be a floater since I had been to camp before. What is a floater? A floater is an extra counselor so to speak in case a counselor gets sick or if a camper is more challenging & they need some extra help. I felt better kinda part of the time & enjoyed spending it with their cabin but sadly it did not last for the week. After discussing it for awhile people from camp decided it was best I go home. It was a stormy night as my Mom came to get me to go back to the town my Grandma was at. I was devastated, hurt emotionally, & angry. I got mad & blamed myself & played the what if game of it. I cried many buckets of tears over the next few days after. Though I will never fully share the details of what went on & though I did sorta get over it took me at least a year or more to fully heal from what all went on that summer.

I would say the hardest part was forgiveness to the person(s) that I felt hurt from.When I finally did I felt so relieved that I did. I finally got back to wearing the camp shirts I had even though I had a hard time I still supported camp in what they do for these kids. 2012 I just felt I needed to take a break from camp. I did miss going but I think back now that maybe God just had something different in store.
This year, my friends have asked if I'm going to camp & the answer to that is No. I just have this feeling that God is not leading me back there & I don't have the urge to go. Please don't get me wrong like I said above I still support the camp & their love for the campers, it's just time for me to move on at least for now.

Only God, I went back to look to see what I wrote in July 2012 & realized that's when I originally announced I was going to Russia with an adoptive family. Sadly his path was different as that trip was closed with the Russian adoption ban with the USA. I believe he has given me a Love for that country that I have never even been to for a reason. My parents & sister went there long time ago to serve on a Mission trip & help be a part of building a church there. We have a few friends from Russia. Almost all the orphans I first started advocating for are stuck in R. I find it no coincidence that I love Russia so much & just maybe this is the plan God has set for me.

Thank you girls for leading me to a country I Love & I am still praying for God's Plan in your lives.

No comments: