It’s rather obvious that I haven’t been here in quite some time. It would be easy to say I hadn’t written because I’d gotten wrapped up in life. That would be true, to an extent.
The greater truth is that I came to realize how little I actually knew. The other, and somewhat silly, reason is that I felt pigeon-holed by the whole limb different title. I mean, we’ve never seen ourselves as an adoptive family, we’ve always seen ourselves as a family who happens to have adopted. We’ve never seen Ying as a limb different child; we see her as a child who happens to have a limb difference. So why exactly did I start a blog titled limb different?
But as time has gone on, I’ve remembered that I started writing here precisely because I was shiny and new at special needs and limb differences. I started this blog because these are the answers that I wanted when we were starting out. I wanted someone to tell me how to buy a modified car, how to go to an IEP and how to deal with stares in public, and, and, and….
So to anyone stumbling here because you’re starting out, having gotten a little further down the road, I’d tell you this:
Having a differently abled child is as much the fabric of our lives as having a child that runs on high octane – it’s life.
We hardly notice the stares any more. If anything, people come up to us and are very complimentary of Ying and her pink wheelchair. Sure there’s the rogue old man, who tells me he thinks I should tighten the seat belt of Ying’s chair because he’s worried she’ll fall out. But more often that not, I’m meeting the smiles of someone across the way. People seem to feel a great sense of pride in Ying, even people we don’t know.
The questions have gotten harder -- because they now come from Ying herself. We tell her the one thing we know to be true: we don’t know what God’s reason was, but we know He has a good one.
Do not dismiss the thing you think is hard today. Do not minimize it or trivialize it or compare it to someone else’s definition of difficult. You own it. Some day it will be a measuring stick of how far you’ve come.
Maybe you feel a little isolated, a little alone. Make you think people can’t relate. And to your exact situation, in that exact moment, they probably can’t. Just like you can’t relate to their exact situation at that exact moment. But you are not alone. I’ve been surprised by the painter who casually mentioned an autistic son after seeing Ying. By the coworker who, knowing about our adoptions, talks about a difficult childhood. We were meant to share the hard, to steady the hand next to us, to cheer on the tired mama to the left of us, the stumbling friend to the left of us.
Finally, watch this. Watching this woman put on fake eye lashes will blow your mind, and, sometimes, that’s all the inspiration you need.
Let’s meet here more often. I’d forgotten how much I like it here.