I am a Coward

Hello, my name is The Yeti…
… and I am a Coward.

Ping enjoying a horse ride, even with Spina Bifida

Now, I’m not ALWAYS a coward.  There are many many things in life which I face bravely.  I can wrestle with bears wrapped in bacon… but for the life of me, children scare me.

Now that might seem odd as I currently have 4 (and one waiting in China) children.

Maybe it isn’t so much the child that is scary, but more of the what can happen to them that I find scary.

I read some of the stories here on No Hands, I talk to many adoptive parents of children with special needs, and I know a few family with children who have special needs or other disabilities… and I think… I am such a coward.

I know I have two children with special needs, so maybe that sounds brave.  But I don’t feel brave.

Swimming is a great activity for children with Spina Bifida

We tell our family stories in safe places like No Hands, we tell our stories in the shopping malls, church, Yoga class, pottery class, yes, even poetry time at our local Starbucks.
We tell our family stories to encourage others that this adoption thing can be done.  That it can be done well.  That children can find loving homes.  That children with special needs can be loved, and excel in life and accomplish so many more things than anyone could have expected!  That our families can be complete with the joys of children…

… but it is scary, see… and I’m a coward.

See I read and hear some of these stories, stories like Lilah (covered here on No Hands), or the little guy with hearing loss because of a cleft, or my friends whose daughter will never walk and has other issues… and I’m scared… I think “I could never do that” or “I could never deal with that, all the doctors, and unknowns and blah blah blah”.

My children are brave.  My children with Spina Bifida… they don’t get the choice to be brave or to be a coward… they have to be brave.  I have the luxury of being able to be a coward.

So much braver than me…

However, being a coward isn’t all bad.  Well, okay, it is.  But the good news is that you do not have to be a coward.  If you have ever read these stories and maybe been a little scared, maybe started thinking “You know what, adoption is too big, it is too hard, special needs are too scary”… that is never the intent of our stories.  We mean to encourage, to show that family works – regardless of how that family is made, or what special needs may be present.

I never though we could adopt a child with special needs… now, I would not change anything.  I love my children, all of them.  The special needs don’t even factor into the love.

And even if they are as scary as you think, once you see your beautiful child, all the fear will dissipate and be replaced with love.  Eventually.  Once they stop yelling at you in Chinese… or pretending to slit your throat while you sleep… you know what, maybe is wasn’t the Special Needs that I should have been worried about.

So, I’m The Yeti… and I’m a coward.  :-)

NOTE: 

Yes, you should get educated about your child’s special need and maybe have your wife read a book about it, but then again – you should be getting educated to be a better parent anyway, special needs or not.  You should also parent according to you child’s unique situation… I will probably never ask my children with Spina Bifida to be a professional gymnast… but that doesn’t stop us from having a great life.  From one coward to another… read and get educated on special needs, they are not as scary as you might think. :-)

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