Today we are advocating for the special need of Limb difference. Limb differences are a very common special need found in waiting children. A Limb difference is any change from what we would consider a typical limb. Anything from missing a finger, to missing the whole arm is considered a limb difference. Limb differences also include shortening of a section of the limb, or any difference in formation of the arm or leg. That means bowing of a single bone in an extremity as well. We tend to hear more about limb differences in the arm than differences in the leg. A limb difference can also be the result of an amputation resulting from an accident. Most children we see on a waiting child list were born with their limb difference.
Treatment for Limb differences can cover a wide range of options depending on the difference. It may involve surgery or therapy or no treatment at all. For example, an extra finger may be removed to help the child’s hand to move more efficiently. For children missing a thumb, a finger can sometimes be moved to help it act as a thumb and assist in grabbing objects. For children who are missing all toes, a block can be crafted to fill the front of the shoe and assist in walking more smoothly. Sometimes a shortened limb can be grown to help it reach close to the length of the other limb. Quite frequently, the child does well in everyday life and no treatment is needed.
Children with a limb difference may not feel the loss that a child with an amputation may feel. They were born this way and grew with their difference and to them it is the way they are. Parents of these children learn to deal with stares and questions of others who do not understand. Education is important in helping others to understand the difference.
You can read more about Limb differences on this site. In many cases, children with limb differences have no limitation in how they function. They can do everything, they just might do it a little differently. They might hold a jar under their arm to open it or carry a tray holding it on the bottom instead of using two handles. Sometimes equipment can be helpful as well. A child missing a hand may find a one handed keyboard helpful. The important thing to know is these children are perfect in every way. They will do everything, they are intelligent and from my personal observation are adaptive and flexible and out of the box thinkers.
Watch this video of a sweet seven year old without hands who won a Penmanship Award.
Waiting Children with Limb Differences
Andrew is a two and a half year old boy whose smile lights up the room. He is happy and playful. He enjoyed having his picture taken and posing for the camera. He also enjoyed playing with bubbles. He sings children’s songs. He was able to throw a ball and he can run. He is a happy boy who makes everyone smile. His special need is limb difference of both hands and feet. Could he be your son?
HuaHua: Update: My Family has found me!
HuaHua is a two and a half year old boy who cries big tears when he is sad. He loves to be pushed on the ride on car but cries when you stop. HuaHua has limb differences in both his hands and feet. The differences do not slow him down at all. He carries heavy objects and walks well. He is a sweet and serious boy who needs a forever family to dry his tears. Could he be your son?
Billy: Update: My Family has found me!
Billy turned six in September. He is a sweet and smart boy. He has limb differences in both hands and one foot. He speaks in long sentences and is very descriptive when speaking. He can recite Chinese poems. His favorite color is yellow and his favorite animal is a Panda. He writes his name in simplified Chinese characters. Could he be your son?
Andy is a 12 year old boy who goes to school in the town he is from. He writes his name in complex Chinese characters. His favorite subject is Art and his favorite color is blue. He is described by his caregivers as respectful and as getting along well with his peers. His favorite food is ice cream. His limb difference is in his leg. His upper leg bone is bowed and shortened. It does not slow this boy down one bit! Andy uses a crutch to walk. Could he be your son?
All four of these precious waiting children are designated to Gladney Center for Adoption.
Go here read a family story from a wonderful mom who adopted a little girl with Limb difference from China. This is another inspirational post highlighting a child with limb difference. Finally, this blog features sweet Dawson, and this one features precious Maeryn whose pictures are above.
For more information on any one of these beautiful boys please contact me.
Patricia Marcus is the program director for Superkids Charity. She has been traveling to China since 2007, taking teams, working in orphanages training caregivers and helping children find their forever families. She is also a pediatric Physical therapist and has worked with children with Limb differences her entire career.