Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dear Hurting Parents

Dear Hurting Parents

If you are reading my letter it is because your road to parenthood has ended in tears of heartache instead of the ones of joy you expected.  The baby you planned who would grow and develop like most do is not who was born to you.  You might be feeling confused, sad and angry.  If you have this letter it is because you are thinking that you are not up for raising your child who has come with a diagnosis and many challenges.  You might be feeling enormous guilt over these feelings and might also be wondering if not you who would want to step in to raise them.  What kind of person wants to adopt a child who will not be as other children are?

I am that person.  My wish has always been to adopt children born with disabling conditions.  I knew from the time I was a child and devoured any reading material I could find about children with disabilities that this was the life for me.  We all have skills and talents.  We have our own strengths and weaknesses.  None of these make us better than anyone just different.

For me a child with special needs is no different than a child without.  This is not to say I am blind to what it is before me but that every child requires love, encouragement, time, education, attention and a lifetime cheerleader.  For the child with disabilities the need for these multiplies it's true but with the mindset that it is all for the greater good makes it all worthwhile.  I  am not coming into raising a child with challenges from a place of grief.  In adopting a child with a diagnosis and/or prognosis I am getting the child I begged the universe for, whom I believe I have the love, skills and commitment to raise.  If between a combination of my efforts and the child's inborn determination development occurs far past predicted outcomes then fantastic but if for whatever reason the child does not develop beyond their first day of infancy then that is acceptable to me as well.

I believe that every child has a right to a family who not only thinks the sun rises and sets on their shiny little heads but who is dedicated to providing them with a lifetime of experiences surrounded by people who love them.  Every person born has the opportunity to make a huge difference in the world, to leave a mark in some way.  Children with disabilities are no different no matter their diagnosis.  They have been given life and survived and for some against all odds.  It is my job, privilege really as their mother to ensure that they are able to live it to the fullest.

Raising children with disabilities requires a day to day commitment and is one not suited for everyone.  Accommodations have to made and there can be daily duties that shall we say are far from glamourous but it is the life I have chosen and that gives me great joy.  We all make different life choices and ones choices do not make any one person better than the other or worth more admiration.  They are just different.  We are given but one life to live and at the end it is to be hoped that we are able to look back at the decisions we have made and know that we made the best possible choices.

Should you decide that raising a child with a disability is not something you feel able to do no matter what your reasoning it is my wish for you that you are able to find peace in your decision.  Should I be the one you choose to raise your child I hope that you would find comfort in the knowledge that your child would be cherished beyond measure, forever carry my heart in their hand and would be offered every opportunity to be all that they were meant to be.

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