A Special-Needs Parent's Greatest Fear

I recently had someone message me and share some concerns they were having regarding their adult child who is in college. This person was really concerned about how the child’s struggles would impact completing college and their future ability to work. They closed by asking what I worry about for our son, Jordan, and if I had any concerns. At the heart of this question was, am I worried about my son’s future?

The short answer is, “Yes.” In the midst of being so excited and happy for the amazing progress he has made, it is easy for me to worry about my son’s future and wonder how his social/emotional struggles will impact it. It is easy for me to get caught up in the game of wondering. Wondering if he will be able to find a career he thrives at and enjoys? Wondering if he will get married? This wondering game can go on and on. If I don’t end it, I always come out the loser.


The future… How can two ambiguous words be so scary? These two words will strike fear in the heart of the most stout parent of a child with additional needs.

I have had the opportunity to talk to many the parent who will refuse to even think about the future. Some parents offer a confident answer by sharing that one of the child’s siblings will take care of the child if something were to happen but many more just look back at me blankly because they don’t know.

The truth is none of us knows the future. I know what Jordan’s struggles are and am able to come alongside him and try to help him grow. He may always struggle with certain things but hopefully he will be more equipped to handle those struggles. That’s what we do. We take it day-by-day. We research and look for additional resources. We talk to other parents about what they are doing and we pray, because that is ultimately the only place where hope can be found.

We take comfort in Job 42:2, where Job acknowledges that no purpose of God can be thwarted. Why does this bring us comfort? It allows us to praise our heavenly Father because our son is fearfully and wonderfully made and when He knit Jordan together in his mother’s womb, He had a plan for him even at that time. That plan will not be thwarted. We look forward to that day spoken of in Revelation 21:4. That day when there will be no more pain, no more tears and our children will no longer have their additional struggles.

Are you the parent of a child with additional needs? We want to hear from you! What is your biggest fear about the future and what helps you overcome those fears?

Jonathan McGuire is the co-founder of Hope Anew, a nonprofit that comes alongside the parents of children with additional needs on spiritual and emotional level. You can follow Hope Anew on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/hopeinthetrenches/.