special needs

When You Check The Box

Even though I'm hearing impaired

I am a healthy adult.

Even though this wasn't learned until my late childhood

I was a healthy child.

 

She didn't always eat healthy while I grew in her belly

There were no prenatal visits or vitamins

Still I am fine and I'm healthy.

You should know that still I have worth.

 

I know you checked the box on that homestudy preferences list

that you were not open to prenatal drug use,

a family history of depression or bipolar

you checked the box that you would not adopt a child

whose birthparent's wanted to choose their name.

 

Does this have anything to do with the needs of the child?

Or is this just you playing a matchmaking game?

Does my health depend upon your understanding of medicine?

Is healthiness a societally constructed concept?

Is an autistic child unhealthy? Down syndrome? High IQ?

Does a lack of birthparent history dictate the child's future health?

Are you seeking perfection in a child; A valedictorian graduating magna cum laude?

Is a "special needs" adoptee incapable of success? PTSD? Anxiety?

 

Not knowing family medical history can feel scary

and in utero drug exposure may concern you

But know that adoptees will seek righteousness with Malala.

We Will Rise with Maya Angelou

We strive for peace like Benazir Bhutto

and have hoop dreams like Sheryl Swoopes

 

Although I may strain to hear you at times,

or I may lose my balance,

I may need a sick day or two to recoup

Still I am healthy and I am strong.

 

Dyslexia doesn't define a soul

anymore than a perfectionistic mother in defeat.

ADHD shouldn't equate to "I can't parent this"

just as "normal" is not synonymous with healthy.

 

Prenatal alcohol exposure doesn't make my brother less human

Prenatal drug use doesn't make my sister's body wrong

We aren't a series of labels, or orphaned bodies to experiment on.

We were healthy children that have grown to be healthy adults.

We were adopted as we were, and have grown in to who we are.

We have struggles, and faults, we succeed, we laugh at times we gain ground,

and at times we fight bad thoughts.

 

When you go to check the boxes

Please don’t predetermine what healthy might mean for me.

Please examine your own beliefs first.

I wonder, what does “healthy” mean to you?

Aren't We All Special?

Can we collectively agree that none of us are any more special than anyone else? Can we agree that we all have very real needs that deserve to be addressed in varying ways? Rather than evoking pity, and feeling sorry for the few, I think it is time that we realize just what makes us uniquely human. Humans are continually trying to navigate this complicated world in different ways utilizing their specialties, and specific needs. Some have navigated the world via their wheelchair in the White House (F.D.R was paralyzed from the waist down) while trying to lead American during the Great Depression, some are using their athletic abilities in professional soccer (David Beckham has OCD), some are enjoying their time on earth as an actress even without the ability to hear (Marlee Martlin), and of course there is Helen Keller who published 12 books for our continuing education and entertainment. Some of us (i.e. myself), though given the special needs label and after having been adopted through foster care, are working to erase the labels and de-stigmatize areas that are divisive by blogging. As a lover of words - both reading, written, spoken and signed, I truly believe in the power of words. Words reinforce perceptions, and shape our world. I'm working to reinforce the positive perception of those with different abilities. In this sense, I'm representing all of us.

My full article regarding the term special needs within the realm of adoption can be found at Lost Daughters.