My husband and I had been trying for a number of years to have children with no success. We had finally decided to try for adoption, when the opportunity presented itself for my husband to work for his company’s head office in Harrisburg, PA.
Being Canadian, a work visa was issued to him however not to me. I had worked since I was sixteen years old and I now had the opportunity to do whatever I wanted to do. I was at a loss as to what that would be. I surveyed friends for opinions. One friend said she would volunteer with a non-profit and help people with disabilities. ‘Wow, you’re special but not something I could do." I informed her. "People with challenges make me very nervous!"
Once in America I enrolled in university to complete an advanced degree. That gave me time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. During my second year we were blessed by a woman who was pregnant by her third child but was unable to care for it and offered her unborn baby to us.
We immediately set to work, creating a nursery and reorganizing our lives for a much anticipated baby. A couple of months after bringing the baby home we noticed some peculiar behavior. After many consultations with specialists it was discovered our child has a rare neurological order called Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood. The effects of this disorder would result in a range of physical and developmental delays. At the time it seemed a devastating diagnosis. However we had no idea what a difference our sweet boy would make to our lives.
Our son is now 13 years old. He has had years of different types of therapy in trying to make him the best he can be. During that time I got more and more involved in the special needs community. Since that time I have sat on the board of two non-profits and worked for one, all of which have been involved in the special needs community in some way.
The bottom line of story is watch what you say. Fifteen years ago I could never imagine getting anywhere close to a person with a disability. Today I’ve come to the realization what an important lesson each and every one of these people have to teach us, especially about unconditional love and acceptance. Watch what you say, as one day you may have to eat those words!