I have finally put the finishing touches on a project that was on my mind for awhile. It’s all about providing an introduction to Juliana. Business cards and personal cards can’t touch this! Juliana now has her own greeting card that we use to introduce her to people who are new to her or our family.
Many special needs parents come up with ideas out of necessity—this is one of those times. So, before I tell the story of what prompted this idea, I want to make it clear that we have a great church and an amazing staff of volunteers who look after our kids during church service.
Last year, we noticed that when we came to get the girls, Jessa was off playing, but Juliana was sitting happily enough at a table by herself. I didn’t think she was being isolated, but when we noticed it a third time, I knew it wasn’t a coincidence. I told Lamar “If Juliana is sitting alone again today I’m going to say something to the nursery coordinator.” “Yep, I think you should,” he responded.
So when we arrived after service, there Juliana was again. I pulled the nursery coordinator over and told her my concern. She assured me that Juliana wasn’t being isolated or ignored; that someone had been helping her and she had a good time. She said that Juliana had just finished her snack and seemed content to watch the other kids play. I knew that was odd—Juliana sitting still that is. “So she didn’t want to get up?” This confused the coordinator and then I explained to her that Juliana can’t get up out of her chair on her own—unless she scoots and then falls hard onto the floor.
The nursery coordinator was mortified! And I felt bad because I made an assumption that they had figured this out. It is really hard to tell your kid’s story in a five second drop-off before church. And with even the best volunteers, it’s hard to figure this out with a room full of screaming toddlers.
My creative thinking kicked into high gear. Instead of trying to tell Juliana’s story over and over again, I created a little card that does all the work. I won’t bore you with all the text, but here is the introduction:
I so love this. Now, each week I check to see if there is a new volunteer and if so, the new person will read Juliana’s greeting card. I go into church feeling that her needs will be met and people will know what’s unique about her since she can’t tell them herself. I’m feeling good because I finally got the card out of my head and onto paper. But, I feel best because now, when we meet someone new I don’t have to re-tell Juliana’s story.
“Here, read this,” I said to a friend of mine last week. She knows Juliana’s story, but I wanted to get her reaction on the greeting card. “What’s this?” she said. It’s Juliana’s story in a card.
“Oh, wow,” she said as she began to read. And then her eyes welled up with tears.