27 October 2009

Welcome To Holland

Recently, a dear friend Jen Reeves shared this little story with us about being a parent with a child with an unexpected challenge.  We really appreciate this story as it is a fabulous analogy of some of the feelings we have had in the past few weeks.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND (by Emily Perl Kingsley.  (c)1987 All rights reserved
"I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.   It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go.

Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland." "Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."


  1. Thank you for sharing that. We are not going through the same thing, obviously, but I feel I can relate to that story as well and it helped remind me to "focus on the lovely things" of my personal Holland.

    Bennett is such a little sweetheart. We are praying for you guys and can't wait for you get to bring him home!

    Love you guys!

  2. What a wonderful story. You're right - it's a great analogy. I have a friend here (our realtor) who's son has Down's Syndrome. In talking with her, I think she would feel the same way. However, she posts regularly on her blog about the joys and blessings her son brings even though her experience with him, her Holland, is much different than that of others. You can check out her blog here:

  3. Before I even read the article, I thought, "But Holland has tulips." We want to live Holland with you, beautiful in its own unique way.

  4. What a beautiful story, Breck. Thank you for sharing that with us.
    Liz Sherman

  5. Although, we may not have a wonderful time in Italy, we will become holy saints in Holland. I am praying for God to give you the grace to embrace His will for you as our good master. I was the saddest I have ever been in my life when I found out my son was deaf. But the Holy Spirit, our great counselor, has truly renewed by mind to see my son through God's eyes. Trials are no vacation.. but they draw us closer to our heavenly home.

  6. I added Bennet's picture to my blog so my readers can learn and cherish his arrival in Holland.

  7. Love this story. Praying for you daily.


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