Inspirational Poetry
Below you will find poetry and verses written by parents who have children with special needs or disabilities. Their words are inspirational and often empowering. Most of all, these words remind us that we are not alone.

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The tiny son of a dear friend is tugging at my shirt,
and when I turn to look into his eyes, aquamarine
like the late afternoon Mediterranean, he grins.
And not just any old smile, this boy lights up the room,
the house, the street in both directions for miles.
I could fight it, but there would really be no point;
he holds all the power and whether or not he's aware,
we can't wait for him to wield it, rendering all of us
mute and helpless, the audience he captivates without
a single word from that cupid's bow under his nose.
Aiden, dear boy, you may never know just what you
do to all of us, but we are grateful for it and wish
we could explain, in words you would absorb,
that when our favorite little guy comes in from his
storms, tears loose of the tantrum that blindsides us
all, there is nothing so beautiful as that flawless
face, grinning like all is forgiven, love has won again.

© 2007 M. MacDonald


I Am the Child

I am the child who cannot talk.
You often pity me, I see it in your eyes.
You wonder how much I am aware of - I see that as well.
I am aware of much - whether you are happy or sad or fearful,
patient or impatient, full of love and desire,
or if you are just doing your duty by me.
I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater,
for I cannot express myself or my needs as you do.

You cannot conceive my isolation, so complete it is at times.
I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated.
I do not give you answers to your everyday questions, responses over my well-being, sharing my needs, or comments about the world about me.
I do not give you rewards as defined by the world's standards -
great strides in development that you can credit yourself.
I do not give you understanding as you know it.

What I give you is so much more valuable - I give you instead opportunities.
Opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine;
the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities;
the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible.
I drive you further than you would ever go on your own,
working harder, seeking answers to your many questions with no answers.
I am the child who cannot talk.

I am the child who cannot walk.
The world seems to pass me by.
You see the longing in my eyes to get out of this chair,
to run and play like other children.
There is much you take for granted.
I want the toys on the shelf, I need to go to the bathroom, oh I've dropped my fork again.
I am dependant on you in these ways.
My gift to you is to make you more aware of your great fortune,
your healthy back and legs, your ability to do for yourself.
Sometimes people appear not to notice me; I always notice them.
I feel not so much envy as desire, desire to stand upright,
to put one foot in front of the other, to be independent.
I give you awareness.
I am the child who cannot walk.

I am the child who is mentally impaired.
I don't learn easily, if you judge me by the world's measuring stick,
what I do know is infinite joy in simple things.
I am not burdened as you are with the strifes and conflicts of a more complicated life.
My gift to you is to grant you the freedom to enjoy things as a child,
to teach you how much your arms around me mean,
to give you love.
I give you the gift of simplicity.
I am the child who is mentally impaired.

I am the disabled child.
I am your teacher.
If you allow me, I will teach you what is really important in life.
I will give you and teach you unconditional love.
I gift you with my innocent trust, my dependency upon you.
I teach you about how precious this life is and about not taking things for granted.
I teach you about forgetting your own needs and desires and dreams.
I teach you giving.
Most of all I teach you hope and faith.
I am the disabled child.

- Author Unknown


Heaven’s Very Special Child

A meeting was held quite far from earth
It's time again for another birth
Said the angel to the Lord above
This special child will need much love
His progress may be very slow
Accomplishments he may not show
And he'll require extra care
from the folks he meets down there
He may not run or laugh or play
His thoughts may seem quite far away
In many ways he won't adapt
And he'll be known as handicapped
So let's be careful where he's sent
We want his life to be content
Please Lord, find the parents who
Will do a special job for you
They'll not realize right away
The leading role they're asked to play
But with this child sent from above
Comes stronger faith and richer love
And soon they'll know the privileges given
In caring for their gift from heaven
Their precious charge, so meek and mild

- Author Unknown


Growing Pains

My Precious little girl
How my heart ached for you today
when you tried to play with the children.
You sought to win them over with your sunshine smile.
Your sparkling blue eyes expressing the words
your lips are unable to form.
You couldn't understand when your gestures of friendship
were not reciprocated.
I saw your attempts to join in their games - games they played with your toys
which you shared without hesitation.
You stood by on the sidelines watching intently, enthralled with their
every word and action.
When one child fell and began to cry,
you were the one who ran to give her comfort
deeply concerned about her well-being.
And when the children left
you were saddened to see them go.
I cradled you in the safety of my arms until you smiled again.

- Juby Shapiro


To My Anticipated Son

I anticipated complaining of a waking baby;
Not of being grateful he’s able to wake at all.
I anticipated the wonder of time rushing past;
Not of reflecting on milestones so small.
I anticipated crying at immunizations and bumps while learning his way;
Not of agonizing at more tests, evaluations, and word of more delays.
I anticipated choices over preschool, clothes, and scout troops;
Not of choices between hospitals, specialists, and which support groups.
I anticipated loving him, but enjoying his independence from me soon;
Not of loving him so much I’d want to keep him sheltered in my cocoon.
I anticipated health and perfection when my baby was inside,
thinking anything less would be tragic;
But now that he is here, my special son has worked some kind of magic.
I anticipated anger and disappointment at this fate;
Not the joy and growth and knowledge that have become mine as of late.
I anticipated something different, that is certainly true;
But that’s because I never could have anticipated, one I love, as much as you.

- Written to Tim with Love from his Mom, Kathleen Hoppe, August 1995


A Different Kind Of Flower

She had been so depressed after the birth. Depressed and guilty and
angry. She had been so good all through the pregnancy; it just wasn't
fair. Her baby wasn't perfect. Her baby had a cleft.

The front door closed in the other room. She knew her husband was home.

He was later today than usual. Looking up, she saw him come into the room.

He held out to her a gorgeous bouquet of roses. But wait, among the roses
was one lone orchid. It was a beautiful orchid. With splendid color and
plump. Lush petals, different from all the other flowers in the bouquet.

She looked at her husband and stroked the errant bloom.

"What's this?" she asked him.

"Honey," he said as he sat beside her, "this flower is our son. Every
other baby in the nursery had rose-bud lips. But his lips were open, like
the petals of this orchid. Everybody else had a rosebud, but we had the only
orchid in the bunch. I just wanted you to see how beautiful an orchid is,
even among the rosebuds."

She smiled. The orchid was beautiful after all. How could she ever had
missed the beauty of the orchid among the rosebuds?

- Joanne Green


Perfect Beauty

The Great Sphynx of Egypt has, over the years,
Lost her nose.
Venus de Milo has no arms,
And the Liberty Bell sports a great, wide crack.
And yet each of these is considered to be a thing of beauty,
A standard of perfection.
And so it must be that we do not,
as one might imagine,
Look to perfection in order to see beauty,
But rather, we look to beauty,
And thereby see perfection.

- Joanne Green


And God Said.... No

I asked God to take away my pride. And God said "No."
He said it was not for him to take away, but for me to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. And God said "No."
He said her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience. And God said "No."
He said patience is a by-product of tribulations.
It isn't granted, it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness. And God said "No."
He said he gives me blessings, happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain. And God said "No."
He said suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and
brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow. And God said "No."
He said I must grow on my own.
But he will prune me to make me fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life. And God said "No."
He said, "I will give you life, that you may enjoy all things."

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as he loves me.
And God said, "Ah, finally you have the idea."

- Author Unknown


"My Little Man" (for Christopher)

Little boy, my little man, light and love of my life,
So precious, so gentle, you are my shelter, my shining light.
You are totally dependant on me, on your own there is nothing you can do,
But little man, this may surprise you, for I am just as dependant on you.

We seem to make each other stronger, just by us being together,
Sometimes when I hold you, I wish that moment would last forever.
At times when things get me down, I want to just sit with you for a while,
So you can speak to me with your eyes, and run to me with your smile.

Moments we've spent together are some of the happiest I've ever had,
I want to laugh with you when you are happy, and cry with you when you are sad.
I want us to lean on each other as we continue to grow together,
Because the love I have for you, little man, is a love that will last forever.

Some people may see a mountain and think it's much too high to climb,
But to you and I it's simply another hill, it's just a bit bigger this time.
We have some challenges ahead of us, but together these challenges we'll
get through,
And I thank God everyday for this special gift, this special gift that is you.

- Kim Ambrose


Angels Unaware

The gift I give to you will not be made of gold,
but it’s beauty is more splendid and precious to behold.

The hands of man could not defile this gift so pure and sweet
for it’s constructed by a higher being with whom man cannot compete.

The very presence of this gift can warm the human heart.
The joy it brings is heavenly, and never will depart.

I’ll give you mountains of laughter, but there’ll be some valley’s too.
I will not leave you comfortless... I’ll be right here for you.

Not everyone can have this gift. You are chosen see.
I looked upon the earth below, and saw that YOU would be.

I will give you extra strength which you will need to tarry;
and if you’ll call upon my name, your burdens I will carry.

There will be ones who don’t understand, they have not eyes to see
the beauty of this special gift; given to you, from me.

Lift up your arms, receive with joy the special gift I bear.
My chosen ones, I give to you an Angel...unaware.

- Teresa Hatfield


Ode to Special Moms

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social
pressures and a couple by habit.

This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children.
Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments for
propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs
his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son, patron saint, Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter,
patron saint, Cecilia.

"Rudledge, Carrie, twins, patron saint, give her Gerard. He's used to

Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped

The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," says God. "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does
not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But has she patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of
self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll
handle it.

"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is
so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give
her has his own world. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not
going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just
enough selfishness."

The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally,
she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child
less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied.
She will never take for granted a 'spoken word.' She will never consider a
'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will
be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset
to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.

"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see . . . ignorance,
cruelty, prejudice . . . and allow her to rise above them. She will never
be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life,
because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel, pen poised midair.

God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

- Erma Bombeck, May, 1980


To All Parents

I'll lend you for a little time a child of mine, He said,
for you to love the while she lives and mourn for when she's dead.
It may be six or seven years, or twenty two or three,
but will you, till I call her back, take care of her for me?
She'll bring her charms to gladden you, and shall her stay be brief,
you'll have her lovely memories as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise she will stay, since all from earth return,
but there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I've looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true
and from the throngs that crowd life's lanes I have selected you.
Now will you give her all your love, nor think the labour vain,
nor hate me when I come to call to take her back again?

I fancied that I heard them say: Dear Lord, thy will be done!
For all the joy thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter her with tenderness, we'll love her while we may,
and for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay;
but shall the angels call for her much sooner than we've planned,
we'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.

- Edgar A. Guest


My child has some special needs,
but that's part of God's design.
I just need to remember
that God's will is best, not mine.

My child is not a burden,
he's a blessing from above.
Sometimes we face a struggle,
but our lives are filled with love.

Put Jesus at the center,
and forget your selfish ways.
The Lord will surely bless you,
and will help you through your days.

- Beth Lohse


My Little Angel

Sometimes angels aren't covered in light
Sometimes angels aren't always right
Sometimes angels don't have wings
But nothing compares with the love they bring

My little angel isn't very tall
My little angel hasn't said a word at all
But there's nothing like the sound I hear
When my little angel is drawing near

When my little angel comes around
I feel I can fly, and I'm leaving the ground
All I hear are the beating wings
Baby's cries, but no other things

My little angel sleeps all day
But when he's in my arms, there's nothing to say
His halo is a cow-lick of soft, golden hair
He can't work miracles, but I don't care

My little angel can't walk or talk
But time flies fast, and you race the clock
My little angel won't be little for long
But my angel will never be gone

- Author Unknown


Special Children

God gave this child to you to guide,
to love, to walk through life beside.
A little child, so full of charms,
to fill a pair of loving arms.
God picked you out because He knew
how safe His child would be with you.

- Author Unknown


Slow slow children...
Run the race.

Our special children try to pace all they do, all they feel,
to learn to live to become real.

First she tries to count to ten.
Then, she stops and tries, again.
One has learned to lift a spoon.
A task that equals men on the moon.
Another has learned to say a word.
A better sound has not been heard.
And it was he that learned to play
and work with others throughout the day.
With patience and love, he will try
to care for himself, and to get by.

Slow slow children...
How they grow!
Our special children...
What they know!
To love. To give.
For us to live.

- Eleanora N. Gambino, June 26, 1973


Little Angels

When God calls little children to dwell with Him above
we mortals sometime question the wisdom of His love.
For no heartache compares with, the death of one small child
who does so much to make our world, seem wonderful and mild.
Perhaps God tires of calling the aged to his fold
so He picks a rosebud before it can grow old.
God knows how much we need them, and so He takes but few
to make the land of Heaven more beautiful to view.
Believing this is difficult, still somehow we must try
the saddest word mankind knows will always be "Goodbye."
So when a little child departs, we who are left behind,
must realize God loves children, "Angels Are Hard To Find."

- Author Unknown



You were supposed to be the full flowering
Of dreams;
When I heard your twelve-week-old heartbeat,
From then on you mattered more than anything.

On a morning dripping sunlight,
Your father's blue blue crystalline eyes
Fell on me like stars,
The idea of you forming
In the space around us.
You were just waiting for an opening,
And open I did,
My heart, my blood, my brain.
Then suddenly there you were, carried
Inside me like a fine ocean mist.
From then on you mattered more than anything.

So my dream baby was begotten,
Borne, beautiful.
Then came days of broken promise.
Hours passed like snails,
Hours punctuated by your shrill
Distress, unassuageable, unassuageable.
How could you suffer so?
That neurology was to blame made no difference
To my grieving heart.

In my dream you are without fault,
And only I have to atone for generations
Of too little love.
In my dream you grow to manhood brilliant, blissful.

Each day I awaken a little more
To who you truly are and who I must become.

- Lisa Turowsky


Welcome To Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley
©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved. Article printed with permission of the author.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with 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.


Walk in my shoes by Victoria Zicafoose
Walk in my shoes just one step,
you will feel my pain and how
I have silently wept.

Walk in my shoes just one foot,
you will feel how I struggle every day
to stay strong and be tough as wood.

Walk in my shoes, just one yard,
you will feel my heart ache and
be able to empathize how some
days are truly hard.

Walk in my shoes, just one mile,
you will feel the frustration I feel in
having to keep a phony smile.

Walk in my shoes for a day,
you will suffer the pain I feel,
when the judgment you subtly pass
is so obvious to me.

Walk in my shoes for a week,
you will then come to realize
how much respect you really have for me.

No need to walk any further,
for you are able to step out of my shoes.
You will now know all the struggles
it takes to survive and all
the stress that is juggled.

Before you judge me, just try a walk in my shoes,
even if it is for a moment.
For you will never know when you will
be wearing the same shoes too.