DEAR ABBY: Years ago you printed a poem that said God sends children with special needs to special parents because he knows that they will be well cared for. (These were children with various disabilities.) I wish you would print that poem once again. I am sure it would help many parents who have a disabled child. -- FAITHFUL ILLINOIS READER
DEAR FAITHFUL READER: The poem is very moving, and I'm pleased to reprint it. It was written 50 years ago by Edna Massimilla of Hatboro, Pa., the widow of a pastor, when their daughter, a child with Down syndrome, was born. (She is now with the Lord.) When I spoke with Edna -- who is 90 -- she explained that she wrote the poem to emphasize that every creation is for a purpose, and she's still writing poems and songs especially for children with disabilities. Read on:
HEAVEN'S VERY SPECIAL CHILD
A meeting was held quite far from Earth
It was time again for another birth.
Said the Angels to the Lord above --
"This special child will need much love.
"Her progress may be very slow
"Accomplishment she may not show.
"And she'll require extra care
"From the folks she meets down there.
"She may not run or laugh or play
"Her thoughts may seem quite far away
"So many times she will be labeled
"'different,' 'helpless' and disabled.
"So, let's be careful where she's sent.
"We want her life to be content.
"Please, Lord, find the parents who
"Will do a special job for you.
"They will not realize right away
"The leading role they are asked to play.
"But with this child sent from above
"Comes stronger faith, and richer love.
"And soon they'll know the privilege given
"In caring for their gift from heaven.
"Their precious charge, so meek and mild
"Is heaven's very special child."