myhollydays

A glimpse into the world of the handicapable.

Archive for the tag “Family”

Adoption…baby pictures

20131230-002007.jpgI have a friend that has a blog. She adopted two little boys from China. She had a conversation with one of them about baby pictures. She was showing them baby pictures of when she was a day old. She was in her little hospital issued baby crib, her belly button had been pinned up and healing, the hospital issued blanket was displayed around her. Her little boy asked where HIS baby pictures were. He had none.

I don’t remember asking my mom for my baby pictures. I don’t think I gave it a thought until my high school graduation. It was a tradition at our small private school to show a slideshow of each of the graduates. The slideshow consisted of a letter written by our parents and pictures capturing our lives from birth to graduation day. It was a sweet tradition and I had been looking forward to seeing what my mom would write to me. I wasn’t disappointed. =)

However, I didn’t have a baby photo to include in my montage like my classmates. Instead, my slideshow began at 2 years of age. I was a little embarrassed at the fact that I didn’t have a picture of my mother swaddling me at the hospital hours after my birth. To clarify, I wasn’t embarrassed about being adopted. My entire school (all 200 of them) knew about my family and about my situation. I was proud of being adopted. My mom would always reassure me about how she “picked me to adopt.” I was “special because I was adopted.” However, I wanted to be like everyone else and have that infant picture.

Decades later, I still don’t have infant pictures of myself. Instead, I have something SO much better. I have an infant picture of my precious baby boy. I have a picture of myself in the hospital holding my baby just hours after he was born. I have my memories of him growing inside of me. I have pictures of my pregnancy. I have journals I have written before, during and after his birth. I have so much more than I could have wanted as a high school graduate. I was just focused on wanting the wrong picture.

 

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Adoption

When I was a kid, I never understood what it meant to be adopted. Meaning…I knew that I WAS adopted, I knew that I had a Korean mommy. I knew she couldn’t take care of me, but loved me very much-according to my mom. I just didn’t know what the whole process really meant.

I’m noticing that more and more of my friends, colleagues and people about my age are adopting…it is finally sinking in the reality of adoption. What it costs the birth mother emotionally. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to hand over Caiden to complete strangers and trust that they would love him as much as I do. I can’t imagine the sacrifice my mom and dad made when they decided they would take me in. How difficult it must have been to have a child that doesn’t speak their language, doesn’t look like them and have no idea of her full potential (physically, emotionally and academically). I don’t even want to get into how much the adoption itself cost!

I applaud all the moms and dads out there that have welcomed those who are considered “unadoptable” (like myself). Wow…

Now that I’m all grown up (I’m using those words loosely), I appreciate all that my parents did to make sure I felt loved. They did a great job making sure that I knew that I was hand picked and wanted. They pushed me because she knew I could do anything I set my mind to. I am here today, a wife, a mother an educated professional…and able to achieve all that and more because of this great country and my awesome parents. My parents never made a distinction between birth kids (aka the “real” kids as some would say) and the adopted kids (er…fake kids?). We were a family and there was always room for one more.

I do think of my birth mother every once in awhile. I think how hard it must have been for her, but at the same time I am a little bitter at the country that (at that time) weren’t as open minded to disabilities as the Western world.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret…my brain still thinks I’m Caucasian.

What was I so worried about?

Caiden is a little over 5 months now.  He is so happy, just smiles all the time.  He is also just a laid back kid, nothing seems to faze him too much.  He is a social little bug!

Since the summer began (2 weeks ago!), I get to stay home with Caiden and just hang out with him.  I LOVE being at home with him.  I get to see him try to crawl, give me the MOST DRAMATIC frowns, and give me the happiest squeals and giggles.  I am also VERY protective of him.

I think the reasoning is that, well, first off, I’m a mommy.  Secondly, I feared (okay, I admit, I still fear) what others would say or think of him having a mommy in a wheelchair.  I get the vibe at times that some people are not too pleased that I made a conscious choice to get pregnant.  I could have “spread” my disability to him, or made his life harder than it needs to be.  WELL…to be honest…who’s life is NOT hard?  Seriously…!

However, the thought still stays in my head.  I keep thinking…well, I grew up like this (you know…not walking) and I’m used to the stares, the nervous smiles and the “OH @#*&$ how am I supposed to handle this situation” looks.  Chris (the hubby) married me knowing he would have to deal with the above types of people.  He is used to it.   I am quite in awe of how brave and self-confident he is about the whole situation.  It never bothered him, even when others were worried for him.

BUT…I brought a baby into the equation.  Caiden wasn’t really born into it (not really), and he didn’t choose this lifestyle or his mommy.  So, I fretted (as any normal mommy would do) about how others would treat him, what other people would say to him, or how others would treat me when he’s around.  I know I can do anything I set my mind to.  If you give me a challenge, or just tell me I can’t…well, I will do anything in my power to prove you wrong…and then some.  Still, you have people out there who do not know me well, and will still try to limit me.  Not really on purpose, but trying to be the good Samaritan, or trying to “help”.  It’s condescending.  Plain and simple.  I do not need to be taken care of and I usually don’t need assistance…unless I specifically ask.  =)  I don’t want Caiden exposed to that type of mindset.

Yesterday, for the first time ever…Caiden and I went out to a place that wasn’t with my husband or family members.  I took Caiden to the store.  Just me and Caiden.  I was so nervous and scared.  I wasn’t nervous because of the transferring in and out of the car, or being able to carry him around, that’s EASY PEASY!  It was how I thought people were going to react.  I thought people might stare at me or at Caiden and judge us. I thought people would be rude, or disrespectful.

I got out of my car, put Caiden in his front carrier and we rolled in to the store.  This is the store that Chris, Caiden and I usually go to every week.  It was so intimidating at first.  But everyone cooed and smiled and played with Caiden and greeted me in such a respectful manner.  The employees were so nice and friendly.  The customers were hilarious.  Chris was right…they weren’t judging, they weren’t disgusted.  They wanted to help.  They wanted to see what they could do to make things easier.  Why was I so worried?  I forgot, most of this world is actually…good.  =)

God knew what he was doing when he gave me Caiden.  We are a perfect match.

So, that’s one fear confronted….so many more to go.  But you know what?  I’ve got time.  =0)

I’m back!

Caiden on our first family vacation!

It’s still hard to believe…my baby boy is almost 5 months old. He gabs, rolls, laughs and grabs. He is a bouncy baby boy, and he is ACTIVE! He loves to jump (with help from his mommy and daddy) and dance, sing and play. It’s amazing how much this little Zoomie has grown.

I think what amazes me so much is the fact that he was in my body 5 months ago! Now that he’s older, he is able to bear weight on his legs and stand on my lap and he TOWERS over me. He is tall!

Everyone asks “What’s been the hardest part of being a mommy and being in a wheelchair at the same time?”. Well, to be honest…being a mommy has been easy. Being a mommy in a wheelchair…well, that part is easy too. After all, it’s basically the same thing…only, I’m faster down a hill.

I think I had a few concerns before Caiden was born. However, I figured it out with time and thanks to my wonderful, supportive and amazing husband. Here are a few things that I had on my mind before his birth:
1. How on earth do I carry him?
Easy peasy! When he was a bit younger (AND A LOT SMALLER), I could fit him in the crook of my arm and then push my chair by gliding along a wall or whatever free standing furniture was close by. I still do that, but not as much since Caiden is able to sit in my lap. I also use a carrying pouch. As long as Caiden is facing out, he is happy. He is definitely a great rider!
2. How do I travel with Caiden?
Again…easier than I thought. I carry him to my car with my pouch. I am fairly (and unnaturally) strong, and so putting him in the car seat was very easy. Then I load myself in the car…and voila! Off we go!
3. How would others view me? Meaning…how would other people (strangers and acquaintances) react to me with a baby on my lap?)
I’ve taken Caiden to the store, mall, park, etc. many times now. I usually get positive (or puzzled) reactions, but never anything negative (knock on wood). I can let my imagination go wild some times and it never bodes well for anyone. =)

Actually, when I post on Facebook (granted everyone on my FB account is someone I know personally), I get pretty positive responses. I am usually greeted with supportive comments and friendly well-wishers. I had noticed that a group that I belonged to hadn’t had much to say to me during and after the pregnancy. I know that there are people out there that did not want me to get pregnant in fear that I would give my SB to my son. I don’t think people realize how hard the decision was for me to become pregnant. I did worry about my health…about my mobility…about my job. I worried about finances…I worried about money…about my ability to be a mom…about…well, everything…I’m human. I worried so much about what my in-laws would think or say or react to my ability to handle pregnancy and being a mom. I worried about my family…how would they react, say or think.

But now that I have him, none of that matters. Of course…my worrying didn’t help, hinder or solve a thing. In fact…it was a waste of energy!

My sisters, bless EACH of them, would listen patiently to my worries. It was endless hours of me worrying and countering each with a sweet and loving reassurance.

But now…he’s here. He’s in my arms and made his way to my heart. I couldn’t imagine life without this little boy. I couldn’t imagine life with out my strong and loving husband. There is a reason why marriages either get stronger or break when a baby is introduced into the family. There are so many things that we have to communicate to each other. There are so many compromises and teamwork. I feel like I’ve met a whole new part of Chris. I love watching the two together, it makes me feel so complete.

My boys!

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