Renna Graciela is our daughter. She is ten years old and is a child with special needs. And she is a miracle.
All children are miracles, really, but Renna truly is one. Born five months premature, she weighed only ten ounces when she came into this world. Doctors told us flat out that she wold not live; if she did, she would be left permanently and severely disabled, with no hope for a viable future.
Well, God must have wanted Renna to live because she is still here, ten years later. He has plans for her ... and for us as well.
Renna cannot walk or talk. She requires twenty-four hour care, but we are more than happy to care for her. She IS, after all, our daughter, and we love her so very much. Renna has truly been a blessing in our lives and in the lives of others.
Besides Renna, we have a son, Ryan Scott, who is eight. He and Renna share a very special relationship. He is her "big", more capable brother, and he watches out over her like a hawk. He's learned acceptance of the disabled because of her, and he will beat up any kid who dares to try to pick on her (or him). He would bend over backwards to make her happy, which he often does.
We are very proud of our son.
Because Renna cannot swallow or chew without the risk of choking, she is fed by a tube in her stomach (we call it her "button"). She is fed five times a day; we give her special nutrient suppliments that we hang up on an IV pole that's attached to her chair; we hook the tubing up to the bag, and the stuff goes where it needs to go: into her belly, where it is then digested. She's also not toilet-trained and cannot dress herself.
People tend to feel sorry for her (or for us), but what they fail to see in Renna is her sunny smile or the fact that she loves life (and people). She has taught people to enjoy the simple things in life, and that if she can smile, then by God, so can they. They see her as a person with value, with worth, and they learn to accept Renna just as she is.
We prefer it this way. We want people to look past the weelchair or the obvious physical disabilities and see Renna as we do: as a child who happens to have physical disabilities.
Life has not been easy for Renna (hospital stays, illness, etc.), but we take it one day at a time and learn to trust in God in all things. He's gotten us through some very scary times, and we cannot imagine our world without His mercy or grace, either in our lives, or in the lives of our children, particularly Renna.
Well, Renna is up; she is in her room, cooing up a storm. That must mean she's hungry or wants to be in the livingroom with us, where all the action is. I will write in here again soon; until then, this is Marshella Tipton saying so long; may God bless you as much as He's been blessing me and the lives of my family!
~Marshella Tipton, Ontario, Ohio (just west of Mansfield).