I’m pretty sure that is not what my mom expected to hear. My hips straightened out on their own, but I had several different casts over the course of the next year. I had corrective shoes that I received as gifts for Christmas, Easter and my birthday. They were expensive. The shoes looked like I had the wrong shoes on my feet, as in the left on the right and vice versa. Regardless, my mom did what she had to do.
Jeremy was diagnosed with diabetes at age 10. His mom rushed him to the ER immediately, recognizing the signs of diabetes. He was drinking juice like it was going out of style. She did what she had to do.
I am Type A, while Jeremy is so not. We both think we are right all the time. I have OCD tendencies with certain things. Jeremy is not a fan of organization. We do things very differently.
Jeremy has a messed up thyroid. I constantly battle my weight. Jeremy has MS. I spent years in therapy trying to muddle through special needs motherhood.
We are not perfect.
None of us are.
So why, oh why, do we live in a world where perfection is the unachievable goal of the human experience?
When you enter the world of adoption, buzz words start flying around. Special needs, waiting children, medical needs, healthy, etc. I cannot fathom why we celebrate when a healthy child is chosen, but questions, shock, and surprise follow the choosing of a child with needs.
This post came to mind during a conversation with my mom. Someone had asked her if we said we were open to special needs when we adopted AJ. The answer: No. You get this checklist, which reminds me of a grocery list. All of the conditions listed, and you pick what you would consider accepting. We did not list any special needs, other than what was required to be accepted for Guatemalan adoption. Low birth weight, prematurity, and lack of prenatal care were all required to be accepted as they are very, very common in Guatemala.
AJ fit all of those criteria…ah hum, and then some.
When a child with special needs is born to a family in the traditional way, I have heard (since I have not experienced it) that grief is obviously felt. However, the flight or fight instinct kicks in and you move forward. You still love that child!
So why is it so surprising when someone chooses a child with special needs? There are no guarantees in the world of parenting. This I can testify. Foolishly, we had just assumed that because we specified “this” type of child, that’s the type of child we would get. God laughed. And we are so grateful he did.
When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, or a lifelong chronic disease, we do not throw them on the curb. When your child is diagnosed with autism or a syndrome or anything life-changing, you do what you have to do and move forward. So why is that the first instinct when it comes to a special needs child to throw the idea to the curb? “Oh, you don’t want to adopt those children because they are so damaged”.
What if that was you?
What if you were damaged at 3 or 7 or 12 years old? What would you want your parents “to do with you”? I think perspective plays a key part in that. We put up this perfection barrier-where anything that doesn't fit the perfection mold is meticulously scrutinized and judged.
While my and Jeremy’s examples are minor to us, to some they aren't. My mom could have ignored the doctor and who knows how I’d be walking now. Jeremy’s mom could have ignored the signs of Jeremy’s diabetes and, well. That would have just been bad.
None of us are perfect.