"When do I forgive God for what he did to my son?" Jennifer (member jjld), the mother of a child with a rare genetic disorder, reached out to other Beliefnet parents on a board she started entitled "children with special needs." More than 110 members responded with words of comfort, faith, and at times a strong rebuke. Some told their own moving stories of coming to terms with their child's disability. Below are highlights.

Jennifer's post:
I'm a mother of 2 wonderful children one with Prader willi syndrome and one that is an average baby girl. My question is: when do I forgive god for what he did to my son and to let god back into my life. I am a baptist and believe in god but I am mad at him because I struggle everyday to be there for my son who is five years old, who can't talk and will have a weight problem all his life. -jjld

Beliefnet members respond:

Are disabled children less "valuable"?
My 6 year old daughter is mildly retarded, has a profound speech disorder, and has epilepsy. I struggled with these issues a lot when we first started learning her diagnoses...I was confused, upset, sad, mad, frustrated, you name it. I kept asking God, "Why? Why? Why?"

A part of me thought she wasn't as valuable as other typical kids because she'd never be a "rocket scientist"-she'd be very limited in the jobs she'd be able to do. And yet, another part of me refused to accept that she might not be as "valuable" as other children. I kept asking myself and God, "How is it that she can have just as much inherent value as any other child, in spite of the fact that she will never be able to accomplish as much as other kids? What is it that gives a child their inherent value?" God led me to a verse that talks about a blind man coming to Jesus and his disciples asking if it was this man who sinned or his parents who sinned that caused this man to be blind. Jesus replied that this man wasn't blind because of his or his parents sin, but so that His glory might be revealed in this man's life. So, I realized that my daughter was a conduit for God to reveal His glory to us, and all people who she comes into contact with..God was pointing out to me that we are not valuable based on how much we can contribute to this earth-I came to realize that our value is based on loving God and being loved by God. Through my daughter, I've learned that God is love, and that our purpose is to love and be loved. I'd heard all of that before, but now it is no longer a trite phrase. -afreespirit10

It's okay to tell God off
I know that God is big enough to deal with our anger. I think it is perfectly okay to begin to renew your relationship by telling Him exactly how you feel and why. I have told God off lots of times, and He is still there for me when I need Him..-dragonmama

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A very helpful poem
I used to feel the same way. Only I blamed myself first. I thought I had done something terribly wrong and was being punished. Casey was born 6-8 weeks early.we found out he was mentally handicapped. Well, that RIPPED out my heart. He'll never be able to do anything was my first thought. Boy was I WRONG. Gold medals in Special Olympics. Boy Scouts all the way to Life Scout. He graduates high school this June. What helped me get through it all was a poem someone gave me from his school:

Heaven's Very Special Child
A meeting was held quite far from earth.
It's time again for another birth.
Said the angels to the Lord above,
This special child will need so much love.
His progress may seem very slow,
Accomplishments he may not show.
And he'll require extra care
From the folks he meets way down there.
He may not run or laugh or play:
His thoughts may seem quite far away.
In many ways he won't adapt,
And he'll be known as handicapped.
So let's be careful where he's sent,
We want his life to be content.
Please Lord, find parents who
Will do a special job for you.
They will not realize right away
The leading role they're asked to play.
But with this child sent from above
Comes stronger faith and richer love.
And soon they'll know the privilege given
In caring for this gift from Heaven.
Their precious charge, so meek and mild,
Is Heaven's very special child.

Remember the life of Job
I have a son that was born 1 lbs and 8 ozs, who is a special needs child.Take the time to review the life of Job. God allowed everything to be taken from him; but he did not curse God and die. Take the time to know GOD for who he is. Don't let Satan have the victory by blaming GOD. He takes care of you everyday. GOD may have allowed this affliction upon your son for you to inspire someone else. -shelle92470

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I'm not the trivial person I used to be
I was tremendously angry with God and most of the rest of the universe when my hidden blessing, Sam, was born nearly 6 years ago with Down syndrome. But as someone said earlier, now I get it. And getting it makes me happier. The world isn't about me and what's owed to me. Life is definitely more difficult with Sam...but it is also much more joy-filled and fulfilling. I'm not the completely trivial person I used to be-I had to accept that Sam was given to the world for a reason, maybe for no other reason than to help his self-centered mom see a little bit of what it's really about. I don't frequently tell people this, but it seems appropriate here (and this isn't an experience I have all the time): when I was pregnant, God told me that my baby was special-I'm not a religious person although I believe in God, but I really had no doubt about this being a message from God. Of course I was immediately happy, thinking of all the great things this baby was going to do! World leader, cures for deadly diseases, maybe a major musician or writer...and then Sam came along. My first thought was "Oh great, God has a sick sense of humor." But of course Sam IS special, he's very special and not in the special-needs sense. And today I'm fine with God (sick sense of humor and all, but I take things with a grain of salt a bit more these days!), and very fine with Sam. -suze999

God is not being fair
I'm from India and a father of two beautiful sons but alas! both mentally retarded. Who will look after them after me and my wife leave this world. They cannot survive one day in this wicked world. IS GOD DOING JUSTICE! I am sure i have not sinned to this extent to be punished like this. I will not be at peace for whole of my life and not even at the time of death. I feel God is not being fair. -jssaxena

God works through humans to eliminate suffering
At this point in time, my understanding about God and disabilities, disease and death is this. He did not create them. He is fighting against them. ALL suffering, including but not limited to, disabilities is the result of sin in the world. Not your, my or anyone's specific sin. Sin pollutes the spiritual realm, the physical realm, everything. So that even innocent people suffer.Part of the way God works to eliminate sin and suffering is through humans. If we are trying to see the world through God's eyes, then where we see suffering, we work to eliminate it. In this case, many people start support networks for the disabled and their parents. People try to find ways to work together so that all people are provided for and cared for. -afreespirit10

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God will not give us more than we can handle
I am a mother of a 10-month-old boy with Down syndrome. I found out when I was pregnant and cried when I heard the news. But, through the rest of the pregnancy and up until this very moment, God has answered the many prayers that were prayed by family and friends, and He has given me the strength to do what must be done for my son. My son has been a blessing to me and I know that, even though he is a "child with special needs," he is special because he needs me and I need him. God said he will not give us more than we can handle, and yes there are those moments; but when my son smiles at me-just because I am his mommy-I know why God put him into my life. -moralessh

We have been truly blessed
Our adopted son, John-Paul, has Down's Syndrome. He joined our family when he was 13 months old, he is now 16 years old. We have been truly blessed by his presence in our family. He is a wonderful lad and is so happy. While one would never, ever wish a child to be born disabled, the joy that these "special" children can bring to a family is wonderful. We would certainly not be without our son. -Rose-Mary

The result of past lives
Being a Hindu, we believe in reincarnation. This enables us to reason out any calamity as a punishment for the past life. Further we have children who did good to us so that we repay them by looking after their needs in this life. We have a son aged 38 years. He had an attack of polio when he was only six months old leaving him fully paralysed and dependent for life on us.We always console him by telling that he is lucky that he is born in our family where he can be looked after. He appreciates this..So you see, you must be brave and take this as a god given responsibility and perform your duty with love. -abmehta

A disabled adult responds
As an adult with a moderate disability, I thought you might want to know my opinion on your post. Though I understand your feeling, there is a reason for your son's situation. Your son is very special, just the way he is, and fulfills a very special need in this world, just as he is. if I were you, I would be somewhat angry at first also, but I think its important just to appreciate the blessing that he is, and try to make that replace all the anger in your heart. -ctolson

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