#livefree story

Today’s guest post lights me up. I love how Lori Schumaker honestly shares her struggle and what she learned through it. I hope you love this as much as I do. ~ Suzie

I distinctly remember the book.

It was filled with the necessary information to prepare an adoptive family.

One section stood out in particular, though. In the quiet of our home, our boys tucked safely in bed, I read aloud pages and pages of scenarios as we discussed our answers.

HIV? Family history of depression? Mental illness? Developmental delay? Autism? Facial abnormalities? Heart defect?

Were we willing to consider a child with special conditions and if so, to what degree?

With each question, I felt the knots mounting in my stomach.

How does one rationalize these kinds of choices? These are the children that need a family most. The counsel of our social workers echoed in my mind.

Be truthful. Recognize your limits. Know what you can handle.

As my husband and I looked into the depths of what life looked like as parents of a child with significant special needs, we chose what we thought was our child.

Our criteria was a girl under the age of 3 with mild special needs. Minor physical health needs and developmental delays due to institutionalization.

We serve a Father who knows all that we do not. He knows the depths of our capabilities, even when we are unaware.

In April of 2011, we walked out of a Bulgarian orphanage with our 4½-year-old daughter. Within hours we realized this little one had needs way beyond our felt abilities. But as we held her in our arms, we knew we were holding onto the child God had gifted us and we already loved her with every beat of our hearts.

We decided to trust God with His gift.

The knots. The guilt. The fear. They were all there in those moments.

But God’s Word stood stronger.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

~ Philippians 3:13-14

The road has not been easy. But the choice is one I would never change.

I didn’t know I had the strength to parent a child with significant special needs. And honestly, I didn’t have the strength. But God is for me and He is the strength in me.

Today, my little one attends a school for special children and each day as I walk in and out of those doors, I am blessed by the children, families, teachers, and staff that have found themselves receiving this gift. It is a gift chosen by some, but one others try desperately from which to run. In either scenario, God opens our eyes to the beauty of these precious children and to a unique community of people in our world who work passionately every day for the least of these.

Friends, I didn’t believe I would ever have what it takes to be this kind of Mama.

But I was wrong.

God is good. And He is right. I do have what it takes!

And in whatever situation you find yourself, I believe you have what it takes, too.

When God moves our heart in one direction or another. When He opens or closes doors of possibility. Or when He places us in the midst of an unimaginable situation, just hold onto the truth that He knows the depths of your abilities and He will show His strength in you.

Press on, friends. And look forward to what lies ahead.

Lori Shumaker


I’m so grateful that Lori joined me today. I love her #livefree story. Encouraging others is Lori’s passion. So whether she is in wife, mom, friend, teacher, or writer mode, encouragement is the desire of her heart.

And because there is no better encouragement than the love of Jesus, pointing to Him brings her great joy!

Her blog, Searching for Moments can be found at www.lorischumaker.com.

You can also connect with Lori at: