Thursday, November 15, 2012
Amanda’s arrival, I felt something deep inside that something didn’t feel quite right about her. I can’t explain it. You can call it instinct, intuition, but there is a feeling that Mothers have when they know something isn’t quite right with their child that only Moms can sense. I shared my concern that I felt something wasn’t quite right with others who made the placement but they assured me, she’s perfect!
However, when we would go the grocery store or run errands around town, people would stare or come right up to me and try to clinically diagnosis her with some type of disease or syndrome. Yes, right there in the middle of the Kroger on aisle six, I’d have somebody come up and say “what’s wrong with her.” I’d reply rather quickly “nothing, nothing is wrong with her” but internally I knew there was something different about her that I couldn’t figure out. I found myself defending her and my own biological children were defending her outward appearance and behaviors to strangers and to classmates. What these strangers were missing was Amanda’s huge smiling face, big brown eyes and her wobbly bye-bye wave she just learned last week. While their comments and stares hurt me and my biological children, I learned I had to deal with my own insecurities and focus on getting her the early intervention assessments and help I felt she needs and not let their comments eat away at me.
Being a stubborn southern gal, I become her own personal patient advocator to reach out to various medical professionals, agencies, advocates, and therapists and I am sure I have made a few upset with my persistence. I find myself spending long nights trying to Google her symptoms and behaviors. I am armed with a list of questions and even a bit more paranoid with the knowledge I gained when I prepare myself for our doctor appointments. However, I feel an informed patient is the best patient!
While she may not appear what society considers “normal” in her physical appearance, is cognitively much slower than her peers, she is indeed perfect.
She is perfectly made just the way she is and she has a specific purpose in her life and to those who meet and get to know her. We look to celebrate the smallest things that other children at her age have mastered. While I am trying to be a perfect parent in an imperfect world, I sometimes let my head get the best of me. I find myself instead of experiencing the things for what they are; I fall back on what they could have been for Amanda and compare her to other children at church or daycare I see. As we come upon Thanksgiving in a few short days, we have something new to be thankful for this year. It’s Amanda’s arrival. I realize that we need to be thankful for the time we have together despite the obstacles of life.
Christy Benson is director of Clinical Informatics Analysis & Measurement for Texas Health Resources, Mom to two boys and foster Mom.