Happy Birthday, Reed!

Fifteen years ago today, Reed came into our lives. We were able to bring him home from the adoption agency on a sunny Saturday afternoon after I had spent that Friday night and Saturday morning speaking at a couple’s retreat for Woodland Baptist Church in Beaumont. Although I had had two biological children with my first wife, Lydia, who was killed in an auto accident along with my daughter; Dixie and I had not been able to have any children of our own. After five years of infertility treatments (truly a nightmare) the Lord blessed us with the opportunity to adopt Reed.

He was slow to sit up, talk (although he made great train and animal sounds), crawl (he scooted on his behind everywhere he went), and walk, yet it was not until we moved to Shreveport, Louisiana that we heard the word, “autism,” for the first time. The segue used by our doctor to introduce the topic was to ask if we had ever seen the movie, “Rainman.” (Note to doctors: there are better ways to introduce parents to the possibility that their child might have autism.)

We did all that we knew to do for him. We involved him in some early childhood education through the schools in Shreveport, but we finally chose to teach Reed at home in order to give him as much individual attention as possible. Those early days were not easy (I distinctly remember standing in the doorway to our hall, hitting my head against the doorframe in frustration), and the present has its difficulties, also, yet I can truly say it has been a blessing to have been chosen in God’s providence to be Reed’s dad.

Through God’s grace and much diligence, Reed has come a long way. He can add, subtract, multiply, divide, and use other math skills needed to survive in this world, and knows that man’s chief end is to “glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” (And, to be perfectly honest, can memorize Scripture much better than his father.) Granted, he struggles, as many do with Autism Spectrum Disorder, with emotional swings, focus, speech, verbal tics, and understanding what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior in our adult world; yet, he knows that his only hope is to be found in Christ, and he is resting in what Christ has done on His behalf.

I am not sure what the future holds for Reed, but I do know that God has a purpose for his life. And, by God’s grace, Reed’s desire in living is the very same as mine: to learn to “love the LORD [his] God with all [his] heart, and with all [his] soul, and with all [his] mind,” and to “love [his] neighbor as [himself].” May the Lord bless him on his birthday and through the years to come.



  1. Diane said,

    February 16, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Happy Birthday, Reed!

  2. rpcbmt said,

    February 16, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Yes indeed! Happy Birthday Reed! Hope you have a great day buddy!
    -pastor mark

  3. Jamie said,

    February 16, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    loved reading this, Clifton–such an encouragement to me as a parent! I hope Reed has a very happy birthday 😉

  4. February 16, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY REED!!!! We have enjoyed visiting with you!

  5. Branson said,

    February 16, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Happy Birthday Reed!!!!

  6. Carly Barnett said,

    February 16, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Happy Birthday to Reed! What a wonderful blog.

  7. Lauren said,

    February 17, 2010 at 9:22 AM


  8. Sandra A. said,

    February 18, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    I am a little late (no surprise there) but the blog was wonderful.
    Happy belated birthday, Reed!!! So glad to know you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: