It’s funny how often the first thing I want to do as a parent is whine a little about my kids and how tired I am after a rough night or whatever the case may be. It’s weird really, because honestly which parent isn’t having some sort of a hard time. Then, just when you think that having all three of your kids smothered in chicken pox for a week is hard work (with a 10 month old teething with a runny stomach-it was hectic guys!) then you meet people like our wonderful friends Josh and Amberley Klinkenberg. Dude’s!!I have never met such cool people in my life before – not because they’re both just amazing people but because they’ve found the joy in caring for a special needs kid…….. then went and had 3 more just to make it look “super” fun. Ok, I know that they didn’t start out that way, but I get super humbled when I listen to their hard work stories and learning from it all.
Guys, when they are home with their children they don’t sleep a full night’s sleep – EVER. As much as this post is probably going to read as a bit braggy – I don’t give a left rats bottom because people like these, are to be celebrated, admired and supported.
My hubby first met Josh a few years ago through Sounds of the Nations (which is what they both do – Tim in Africa and Josh in Oceana) and they clicked so well when they did, that they absolutely knew that we’d click as families.
Ok, we haven’t all met yet, because New Zealand is very far from South Africa but from what we’ve experienced when we engage over the internet and on life exchange trips – It’s mind blowing how when a family clicks together – they just click! (It really helps when the dad’s get along – I think us mommy’s kinda just make a plan if our kids love each other)
I haven’t met Amberley in person but when both of our hubbies say we’d get along – I bet we would.
Anyway – My heart leaps everytime I think about them because of what God has done in and through them and what an amazing story they have to tell. So when they started recording podcasts about their journey from when Elijah was born up to now – I have been listening and getting in there like it’s my weekly bag of sweets.
I’m the type of person, that if there’s information to be had, to help someone that I love – then I’m going to grab it with both hands and consume as much as I can, to make it easier for me to understand what that person is going through and where they’re coming from.
Ok – so their son has a syndrome called C.H.A.R.G.E. Syndrome.
In a nutshell – it is a multiple syndrome package. If you want to read up on what it includes then have a read on the basic explanation from the link above. I have a basic understanding of what Elijah has, but I’m wanting to rather focus on them as parents.
It’s been amazing to see how they’ve approached their journey and where they’re at now. They’re able to look at their lives and make each other laugh through the massively hard journey they’re walking on. I completely admire this because it could have nailed them to the floor and they could have thrown in the towel and given up – but they’re making it a really huge God story and a tool to be able to support other families that are just getting into it and also educating people, like myself – who are their friends and just want to be a better support for them as parents.
As they are, we are believing for a miracle to pour over Elijah and have God completely heal him. That’s their continued prayer while they navigate through the hard part of every day.
It’s awesome to see two amazing people continue to trust God even through the hard part of dealing with the continuous care of their amazing son.
It was great to have Josh come and spend time with us here in Cape Town, and while he was here – our kids asked a lot of questions and we were able to get the basic understanding of how Elijah lives his everyday life.
Watching my kids start to care for someone they’ve never met and pray for him, has been one of the most heart warming and proudest moments for us as parents. I’ve included a pic of a t-shirt we sent through to him, I specifically put my kids hand printed on the back of the t-shirt so that every time he wears it – it would be a symbol of us laying hands on him and praying for his healing miracle. To this day, from the moment Josh entered our lives (physically as a family unit) we have had a soft spot for them and will continue to learn about their journey and how God is using them through it.
The most massive thing that really was mind blowing for us from our side, was that our son Jude – was almost non verbal until Josh visited us. When I say non verbal – he was saying the bare basics and was really behind with his speech as two and a half year old. But the moment we introduced Josh to Jude – Jude completely lit up and learned how to say, “unkoo Dosh” it was mostly all he said while he was here – to a point where we had to say to Jude, ok-leave uncle Josh alone now. It went something like this……
and so on and so forth (thanks for your patience Josh – we were starting to hear screeching nails on a blackboard, even though we are so grateful the ball started rolling for his speech )
It was during this trip that Jude discovered Superman as well (through his cousins). He completely linked Superman to Josh and to this day, Jude says that Superman is “Uncle Josh” Here’s a little vid of him showing me his new top he’s got.
Don’t you think they look the same? I think he might be onto something……
But all the while we had Josh here with us -Amberley was soldiering on, alone with four kids. One special needs, all the kids schedules and all the while caring and nursing her (back then) 10 month old baby girl. Don’t you just feel tired reading that? I am mind blown!! But, you know what I love about her (even though I haven’t “met” met her) is that she is real enough to say, with a smile, I’m so tired and this is hectic – COME HOME Josh!! Lol!! Wouldn’t you too? So, so, so normal and there’s no sugar coating it at all – which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!!!
If you have the time and want to know more about the syndrome I’ve mentioned – then please pop on over to their page on facebook. They’ve got this really cool podcast thing going, where they share stories about their 9 years as “Special Need kid” parents. Their Instagram is also full of everyday moments to have a view into their amazing lives.
We absolutely love them and we hope that by reading a little bit about what they’re like from me – that you’ll grow to understand what it’s like to befriend a “special needs” family. I know we have and it’s incredible to watch our kids learn so much by watching Amberley and Josh doing something so taxing while, holding Jesus’ hand along the way and raising 4 incredible kids as well.
Do you have a special needs child? Or have friends with one? Tell me how they’ve enriched your lives and taught you to see life from their perspective. I’d love to get tips on how to be a better friend to them with your help.