We still can’t share details about our daughter’s special need, but I’ll tell you that it falls under the category of “limb differences.” She will probably have a few surgeries after she’s home with us, but she will always have a visible disability. The medical professionals we have spoken with assure us that she will be able to adapt and do anything that she wants to do in her life. Honestly, we’re less worried about any possible physical limitations than we are about her attachment and emotional development. Those will be the primary focus upon returning home, and will keep us all very busy for a while.
But, twice since receiving her referral, I have witnessed children saying hurtful things about other children with visible disabilities. Both times, I wanted to cry – both for the child it happened to, and for my own sweet one in China. I worry about adults asking inappropriate questions and making inappropriate statements, and I worry about children being mean. Of course, we expect inquisitive comments, and we especially know that young children are curious and don’t intend to be hurtful – that is really not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about when they’re old enough to be deliberately mean. I’m hoping we’ll still be at our sweet charter school that has such a family-feel, and where her older brothers and sister will be close by to defend her, if needed. I’ve also heard from other families with kids with limb differences that the child’s circle of friends is usually fiercely protective, and that the child gets good at brushing it off. We think she’s gorgeous and perfect the way that God made her, and pray that our families and close friends will feel that way, too.
I already feel the heavy burden of responsibility on my shoulders of teaching her and the bigger kids appropriate responses. I will have a little bit of time to practice answering before she can understand me and process what I’m saying, but the three older kids will be carefully watching and listening from the very moment that she’s in the US. I feel like I can’t mess it up even once. I talked about it with a good friend, and expressed by concern that I’ll just fall apart early on if someone says something really hurtful. She said, “Well, I sort of think that would be an appropriate response. I guess maybe they’d learn to think before they speak the next time.” That gave me a little freedom to let the expectation of perfection go a little bit, but it still weighs heavily. I’m praying I’ll be able to educate with grace and love when needed, while setting a polite but firm boundary when that is what’s called for.
Anyone reading have experience with this? Want to weigh in?
PS – The yellow onesie underneath the black one has her monogram! I can’t wait to show it to you. Both of them are beautiful, and were purchased for a very good price HERE.