I have had the privilege of volunteering for our local Family Connections group for over a year now. The group does exactly what it says: It connects families with children of special needs together for support purposes. I currently support 9 families in our area whose children have been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Some moms just want to talk once or twice and get some questions answered. Other moms aren't in a place to even accept their child's diagnosis yet. And then there are the moms that I truly have connected with beyond the support group. They've become my friends :)
Our Family Connections group had a Christmas Social the other night. It was held at a local (Free Will) Baptist church that one of our Family Connections members belongs to. They are kind enough to host us through monthly meetings, workshops, and lectures.
However, I did find it very strange that the church had invited a local dance team ministry to perform for us and our children that night. This was odd on many accounts. First of all, Family Connections is not a religious group whatsoever. It welcomes all families of all races, ethnicities, and religions. Its purpose is not to share any religious teachings or messages, but to be supportive of all differences. It is most certainly not a Christian ministry. Second of all, the dance team was there to bring the message of salvation in hopes that they would reach members that have not come to accept Jesus in their life. Um... I think most of us there came because our kids wanted to see "Santa Claus" and the cookies were tasty. (and those cookies were tasty!) And thirdly, did they really expect small children to sit through their lengthly performance? Especially kids with special needs? Think of the children that were there. Kids with Down's Syndrome, kids with Autism, kids with ADHD, kids with physical disabilities. Even typical kids would have had a hard time keeping quiet and settled!
I snapped this picture while Jaina was fidgeting on my lap during the dance performance. I just love her freckles!
Jayce was certainly not quiet and settled. He wanted to dance on stage with the dancers and I had to physically remove him from the middle of their performance several times.
Despite the over indoctrination that myself and my children received (I just chalk it up to their ever growing knowledge of world religions), we did have a fun time at the party.
There was a gingerbread house:
There was face painted and cookies to eat.
And of course, there was Santa.
Jaina told me she asked for a ferret. Um, sorry babe, not getting one. Maybe my good friend Kim Brooks can talk to Jaina about how much work and responsibility they require!
Jayce told Santa he wanted a DS. That is the only thing he wants. Period. No toys, no games, just a DS.
Well, okay, maybe a candy cane would make him happy, too.