We always thought adoption would be a part of our family’s story. After attempting a domestic adoption in between our two biological daughters, we read a story that pulled our hearts toward China. After a lot of prayer, we took a leap of faith. Just a few months later, we were matched with our sweet Asher.
Asher was 18 months old at the time of adoption and is now five years old.
I honestly had never even thought about what it would be like to have a child with a limb difference. Asher was born with amniotic band syndrome. As a nurse practitioner, I knew this meant that parts of the placenta caused restriction to parts of his body in utero. For Asher this meant being born without his right lower leg, in addition to some finger and toe deformities.
We are blessed to live 30 minutes away from an amazing prosthetist who fitted Asher with his first prosthetic a few weeks after we arrived home. They have surrounded Asher with so much love and support over the last few years.
The first few years Asher was home, he was definitely more timid in his mobility. It took a while to get used to his prosthetic, and it seemed like there were more times than not that he would prefer to not wear it at all. But over the last year, he has really blossomed at school with his friends, even wanting to play soccer.
One thing that has always been important to our family is that Asher knows that it is his story to tell. We have always been very open about how to talk about his amputation and his prosthetic. Just like how he talks about his adoption.
This year in his preschool my once timid little boy stood up in front of his class for show and tell and told about his foster parents in China and showed them pictures. I couldn’t have been more proud.
Do kids (and adults) ask regularly about his prosthetic? Of course. It is incredibly important to us that Asher knows that it is not something to be ashamed of but that it is part of his life. We have always explained that he was born with a shorter leg and so his beloved prosthetist, Mr. Kyle, makes a new one for him every year as he grows. So far they have included a dinosaur, rocket ship, batman, and smiley face prosthetic. Kids are of course always honest and it makes us so happy to hear Asher explain his prosthetic with no problem to other kids at the playground.
In June he participated in the Endeavor Games, a summer event with the events similar to the Paralympics. We have done everything we can to encourage him that he can participate in activities just like his siblings and friends. At the same time, we seek out opportunities to expose him to other kids and adults that are “like him”. The first time we took him to the Endeavor Games he was only three. He spent the entire time pointing out other people that had a leg “just like me!”
As he grows older we hope to attend camps and other activities with kids with limb differences. It is so important that he knows he is not alone in the challenges he faces. Now he loves running, climbing, jumping, riding his balance bike, and was even able to score a goal in soccer this spring.
We know that there are challenges ahead. Asher starts kindergarten this fall and we know that other kids are not always kind and that every day will not be met with optimism and perseverance.
But I am hopeful that Asher knows that he is surrounded by a family that loves him every step of the way and that he is the amazing kid God made him to be.
– guest post by Kelli
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