Please Don’t Leave

I’ve read posts by several bloggers recently on the subject of lost friends – people who leave your life once you have a child with disabilities. I’ve experienced that also, but it began before my dear Ashley ever joined my family.

When I shared with my friends and family that I wanted to adopt a child with significant disabilities, so many of them couldn’t even find the words to discuss the subject with me. Some looked at me like I was crazy – some looked on with disbelief, thinking perhaps this was a phase that would pass – and others tried to find something missing in my life that would drive me to fill it with someone who ‘needed’ me. Only a handful supported my decision.

Once I brought Ashley home, the shock and rejection on the faces of my so-called friends was as clear and bright as a neon sign. My parents tried to accept their new grandchild, but they too were at a loss, a loss to understand and relax enough to revel in my joy.

As the years since my first adoption have passed, and more children with disabilities have joined my family, my former friends have moved further away. My circle of support is now found in others like me – others who know the joy of adoption even amid the challenges of disability. My only family member who has remained close, and actually grown closer through the years, is my brother, himself an adoptive parent of a child with significant disabilities.

I believe that early and ongoing rejection is one of the reasons I have chosen to write about my life and my children. I want people who may one day be faced with the decision to support or withdraw to understand that life does go on for a family touched by disability. I want them to share the joy, the challenges, and the love that comes from knowing children like mine. And like mine, I believe their lives will be richer for the experience.

Deborah can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Sunday and Wednesday, and can also be found at Pipecleaner Dreams.

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