Janel and Autumn

Posted at 3:28 PM | Comments (0)

I received this email today. Here is a wonderful example and testimony of God using Janel to help children with disabilities.  So I asked permission to share.  So, meet the George Family -   Continue to pray about where God can use you in helping people with disabilities and their families.

Dr. Ackerman,

I graduated from Liberty in 2004 with an M.Ed. in Elementary Education.  I'm in the process of returning to add the needed classes to receive an endorsement in Special Education.  While looking around the web site today, I came across your blog, and it touched a spot deep in my soul.

God put a burden on my heart several years ago to reach students with special needs.  I am at home with my two preschool children at the moment, but the 6 years I spent teaching in a Christian school before having children left me very concerned about the lack of help these children are receiving.

Since feeling God's leading in this direction, he has given me the personal experience to strengthen my resolve on this matter.  My husband and I have been foster parents for several years now, starting out doing respite care for the first few years.  When I became pregnant with my son, we were planning to take some time off, and that's when Autumn came along...  We first met her in August of 2005.  The full-time foster parents she was staying with had Auburn season tickets and a few other trips planned, so Autumn stayed with us often.  As we got closer to my due date that December, we stepped back from keeping other children, but told them we would continue to do respite for Autumn.

It's amazing to look back and see how sometimes God gets you to the place He wants us to be one small step at a time.  God placed a tremendous burden on our hearts for her, and she moved in with us completely in March of 2006, when my son was just two months old.  As of last September, she is officially ours through adoption.

We knew when she moved in that there were developmental delays.  We spent 3 years in Early Intervention and going to different therapies 3-4 days a week.  This year, she was admitted into the Special Education preschool class under OHI and is now going to class 4 days a week and receiving speech and PT while she's there.

I struggle with having to choose between the two things she needs most - spiritual influence vs. help for her educational needs.  I'm not sure yet whether or not she'll ever be able to attend a private school.  The cognitive area has always been her strongest, but having taught, I know that's not always enough to get you through a Christian school, as all the other needs will not be addressed.  However, with her past, more than anything she needs to know God loves her and be surrounded with people who can help her understand that.  Parents should not be put in this position.

Without turning this into an epic, you can see where we are.  I know God has called me to do something about this, and I know He put Autumn in our lives to give me an intimate understanding of this need.  My ultimate vision is to open my own Christian school that is equipped to meet the needs of all students.  I am doing what I can to be ready, anxiously awaiting for God to show me when the time is right and exactly what I need to do to get started.  I live in Birmingham, AL.  There are many good Christian schools in the area, but none of them are meeting this need.  This seems to be a prime location for such an endeavor.

At some point, I would love to have a conversation with you and hear any advice you have.  I will eventually need to take 623 which will require a campus visit, but that will probably be next summer.  I appreciated the passion that came through in your blog.  I sat here and wept as I read your thoughts.


Janel George