I'll tell you ahead of time, this post may not flow very well. The writing may not be my best. The thoughts shared might be scattered.
But I've been holding back feelings and I realized that someone else might have those feelings too. Someone in a situation like ours. Or someone who might later experience these feelings.
It's just that sometimes I feel like a partial mother. Like I don't have the same rights as those that were blessed with their special needs children through birth. Like my thoughts and feelings aren't weighted the same. This is not something that I get from those parents, I fully recognize that these are feelings that I put on myself. None the less, they are still there...and I still feel them.
I'm sure that someday that will go away, when I've had Gumby long enough to feel confident enough that, were I to encounter criticism, I could defend myself...even if just to myself. But right now I don't have that.
I don't have the common bond over when we found out that Gumby has Down Syndrome. We didn't go through any feelings of anxiety, worry, sadness, loss of what we had imagined her life to be like before we knew. I don't have the experience of her first four years of life. I don't know when she hit her milestones and I didn't help her achieve them. I've done nothing so far to help her become the child that she is today. She is the person that she is because of someone else. Not because of our family.
This might be a petty thing to think about, I know. But I still feel it.
Sometimes I just want to say that I don't care about all the research and finding out all that I can about Down Syndrome. I know the things that are important to know for Gumby, but I don't spend that much time trying to figure out more. And quite frankly, I don't want to know what is typical for other kids and what her abilities might or might not be based on experiences of other people. All I want to know is what Gumby can do. Gumby will do what Gumby can do and it doesn't matter what people expect of her. It does however matter what I expect of her. If Handsome and I expect less of her than she is capable of, that will effect her greatly.
I want to say those things, but I don't. I don't say them because I'm afraid of offending someone that has been a parent in this different arena longer than I have. I'm afraid of someone being appalled by my statements and getting upset. I'm afraid of someone saying that I should do things a certain way or I shouldn't have adopted a little girl with DS, because obviously I'm clueless. Because I don't want to make anyone angry, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings if my opinion is different than theirs.
So, I don't say much. I don't say much about how I feel in parenting Gumby because I'm a sort of outsider. Or so I feel.
I do figure that my feelings are the same as most parents in that I never want to limit Gumby by what people think can be her future. My thoughts don't ever dwell on things that limit her, only on the infinite possibilities and the amazement I feel in how quickly she is changing...and how smart she is.
So, while I am feeling brave against the normal limiting feelings I will say:
You don't know my daughter, just like I don't know your children. Don't assume she will not be able to catch up with kids her age in school because of her institutional background or her diagnosis. Don't assume that she will not live on her own as an adult. Don't assume she will not have a job just like your kid. Don't assume she will never get married. Don't assume that if she does, that person will fit into this category or that. Don't assume that she will never be a parent. Don't assume that she will not live a long and healthy life. Don't assume anything, just like you wouldn't assume anything about Curly's future.
Curly's future, Gumby's future, and Smile's future....they all belong to God. He, and He alone knows what that future holds. So please don't think you know anything that hasn't been shared personally with you about her, just because of a little test run on her blood that showed an extra chromosome.
(I would venture to say that those last feelings are ones that I am learning to feel that other parents have felt from the time their children were little.)
And if you are a parent working on adopting a child with special needs and you don't already have a child with special needs, just know that IF you feel like an outsider sometimes, I totally understand where you are coming from.
1 month ago