This month we celebrated Beth's (my daughter, pictured above with brother John) 37th birthday. It was a joyous event, in large part due to the fact that Beth loves birthday parties. She loves seeing her friends and family. She loves the atmosphere of special events; and people love being around her because she is a special person. Beth is special in many ways: she has a delightful (bubbly) personality; she has a wonderful sense of humor, and she has numerous special needs, many of which she has risen above.
Beth came to be a part of our family when she was only three days old. Her birth parents were young and unable to care for her. Within a year, through adoption, she was officially ours. But early in Beth's life we became aware (especially my wife who is a special education teacher) of a number of development concerns. We would eventually learn that she had several developmental and learning disabilities.
A significant shock came when Beth was about five years old. She was under the care of well regarded development pediatrics team. But at the conclusion of a six month check in we were told that there was a high probability that she would never learn to read. This news did not set well with my wife and a decision was made, in cooperation with the public school system, to try a combined home school - public school approach (an approach not often accommodated in the 1980's.). To make a long story short, Beth eventually graduated from Redlands Community College (almost with honors) with an AA degree and then from Northeastern State University with her BA. Today she continues to be a voracious reader. We are all so glad that, as well intentioned as they were, we didn't listen to the experts. Because you see sometimes vision, determination and hard work trump the opinions of the experts. The doctor's wanted to focus on the significance of Beth's problems; my wife wanted to focus on her Preferred Future.
So "Happy Birthday" Beth! You are indeed a inspiration and a life-lesson for us all.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.