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'I found who I was meant to be': 17 ways children with special needs change us

"He was not the son I expected when he was born, but he was the son that I needed."
/ Source: TODAY

Becoming a parent is a love-filled adventure, and raising a child with special needs is no exception.

Adrian Wood of Tales of an Educated Debutante shared this photo of her little boy, Amos, age 2, a joyful child who has experienced delays with motor skills and talking.

This month, the TODAY Parenting Team is talking about how life changes when you become a parent. After sharing Amos' picture, we asked members of our TODAY Parents Facebook community to tell us how having a child with special needs changed their lives. From helping you find your passion to astonishing you with the deepest love, here are just some of the ways your lives have been forever changed.


Amanda Lee Bilbo/Facebook

“My little guy has shown me how to stay positive and happy no matter what is going on medically or in life.” — Amanda Lee Bilbo


Jeremey Poindexter/Facebook

“[Calvin] has made me a better father and a better person. He was not the son I expected when he was born, but he was the son that I needed.” — Jeremey Poindexter


Amber Tetreault Alston/Facebook

“She has taught us patience, love, compassion and tolerance.” — Amber Tetreault Alston


Taylor Martin/Facebook

“She has taught us that it is not [what's] on the outside that matters but what's on the inside!” — Taylor Martin


Tiffany Spoor/Facebook

“I found who I was meant to be by having a child with special needs.” — Tiffany Spoor


Tara Spurlock Tomblin/Facebook

I learned “patience and to appreciate all the little moments.” — Tara Spurlock Tomblin


Katie Dvorak Bach/Facebook

“Although times can be challenging, she has helped us to keep pushing through and to never give up!” — Katie Dvorak Bach


Felicia Gurule/Facebook

“[Lexi] taught me what patience, beauty and love really mean!” — Felicia Gurule


Kara Klentzin Marmo/Facebook

“I became a warrior for my child. I had to advocate for her needs, find strength that I never knew I had so I could help her, and do whatever the hell it took for her to get her better.” — Kara Klentzin Marmo


Lisa Schizmom Lee/Facebook

“Having a child with special needs has taught me to love deeper… Gracelyn may have been born with damage to her brain [but] to us she is perfect.” — Lisa Schizmom Lee


Mia Marie/Facebook

“She has taught us so much about strength and love, and has made our lives and our hearts fuller.” — Mia Marie


Rebecca Hernandez/Facebook

“She has taught us that despite what may be different about each other, we all share the same desire to be happy.” — Rebecca Hernandez


Sherry Lee Milia/Facebook

“I've found my true smile, my true passions in life and how to always find a reason to be thankful.” — Sherry Lee Milia


Lisa Sommer Judd/Facebook

“I've learned from him to see the best in people, live in the moment, work my tail off if I want to accomplish something, and that we each have something of value to offer this world.” — Lisa Sommer Judd


Sarah Kelly/Facebook

“It made me stop putting so much emphasis on the future and start living in the present... All of my worries go away with a hug from this special, amazing child.” — Sarah Kelly


Missy Cooper/Facebook

"He has taught me that it's okay to do things on your own time and to ignore the charts." — Missy Cooper


Sarah Sousa Stevens/Facebook

"He inspired me to go back to school and become a speech and language pathologist. I now work with other autistic children helping them to find their voices and advocating for them as well as for my son." — Sarah Sousa Stevens