was invited to the offices of Senators Clinton, Kennedy, Harkin,
Durbin, and Speaker of the House Hastert among others to discuss
issues concerning special needs children, healthcare and
Knowing that she would be attending a
symposium on health care in Virginia, Chriss decided that she needed
to take the opportunity to visit her friends in Washington, D.C. She
wondered if she would be "invited in" now. Much had changed
since her first visit more than five years ago. Then her son
Stephen, a medically fragile child was still alive, and she needed
to be his advocate. She was living everyday with the issues that
families with children with disabilities face regularly. Chriss wondered: "Did she
still have a message? Could she still reach the hearts of the
decision-makers now that Stephen was gone? Are the issues families
face still the same?
THE ANSWER WAS YES.
Here is a portion of the message she
took with her...
I am a strong person, there is no way I was strong enough to keep on
loving my son, kissing his soft cheeks, providing for him and
singing all the way through his death. That was the grace of Godís
love...People have said many things about our life together and the
choices I made, many of them painful. For the last five years, I
have listened to other people's arguments and judgments. My
revelation? We were born into a war, the war against good and evil.
Evil tries to convince us that good does not exist. God exists and
He is good."
Chriss was reminded again and again
that the perception of value
surrounding a child with special needs has not changed. Fighting
these perceptions is a fight against evil.
times when Stephen was alive, I was afraid that if I pushed too hard
or was too antagonistic, someone could make a decision that would
hurt my child. My child can no longer be hurt, so I can step into
the gap for other parents and draw attention to the needs of
families and children."