Last week it was reported that Catherine Zeta Jones checked herself into a treatment center to get support for Bipolar II disorder.
My first reaction:
Catherine Zeta Jones?
Almost everyone knows Catherine as a beautiful, talented, Academy Award winning actress with a charismatic husband (who just beat throat cancer), 2 adorable kiddos and a totally fabulous house…in the Bahamas.
No one would have guessed that she has a special need.
Personally I think we all have some special need. I admit to having a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). No one would know that because it’s not something I broadcast nor is it something that anyone can see or focus on.
Whatever the special need, it should be secondary to who we really are. Just like Catherine, before last week she was just a beautiful wonderful actress. Now that the public knows that she has bipolar disorder, will that change for her?
Unfortunately for the kids waiting on the special needs lists, the child’s special need is the highlight of their description. Prospective adoptive parents look at the lists and see words such as spina bifida, cleft lip and palate, giant congenital nevus, Hepatitis B, limb difference, etc. and those words unfortunately become the “definition” of that child. Obviously highlighting their SN is necessary since they do have a medical condition that should be disclosed. And I am not advocating for parents to commit to adopting a child they do not feel comfortable parenting.
It is just painful to think that the SN becomes the child’s identity. I admit to getting flustered when I see people post messages about “the Down Syndrome kid” or “the missing foot kid”. It’s personal for us as someone who KNOWS our new daughter Bella’s name referred to her as “the kid without a hand and foot”.
And then there is my personal favorite….they way some people have referred to our daughter Ava as “the birthmark kid”.
My wish is for every person to see every other people for WHO they are instead of “what is wrong with them”.
Heck….I wouldn’t mind a house next door to Catherine in the Bahamas either.