Counting the cost of anything is a good plan. We plan ahead as we build or purchase a home; making sure we have enough money to do the things needed. We plan ahead as we make a budget knowing the amount of money coming in and where it will be spent.
But I how many of us “counted the cost” of what it would take to raise a child? And one step further, for those of us raising a child with special needs, did we ever consider what that might cost?
According to “Autism Speaks” the lifetime cost of raising a child with autism is 2.3 million dollars, and families shoulder much of that burden. One doesn’t always consider that someone might wear diapers for the course of their lifetime, or that special chairs for transport or feeding will come close to the cost of a small car might be needed.
But even beyond our pocketbook, most of us have never counted the cost on:
- Our own health as care-givers
- The stress this kind of 24/7 care causes
- Lack of support (family/friends)
- Lack of sleep
- Interruptions – all the time
- Relationship strains on the husband and wife and other children in the family
- Time we’d spend taking our child to years of various therapies (OT, PT, Speech, behavioral, counseling, to name a few)
- Eventual long term care for our child and/or us
- And the list goes on.
Because of our love for our child, most of us have never considered these things and what it might “cost us” because we simply “do” what is needed. We love them so much that we can only do the very best for them and we want only the very best for them.
If there is anything for which I want to count the cost, may it be simply love. Yes, it’s hard work, sleepless nights for years, and many other challenging things including the high cost of care, but God gives us strength when we need it, brand new days for which we can give thanks, and love that (thankfully) is endless.