Monday, September 6, 2010

Disabled


     Aaron is disabled. It is the sole reason he was abandoned at birth. His weak arms and crooked feet turned the world against him. He is disabled. It is the reason he was pushed aside at his baby house orphanage-- placed with the other 'damaged' children. It is the reason he does not qualify for educational services. He is disabled. It is the reason they dressed him in pretty clothes and took his transfer picture when he was 5 years old. It is the sole reason he is now in an institute for older boys. He is disabled.


     He has a funny walk and his arms swing helplessly in front of him. It was the first thing we saw when they brought him into the director's office-- his disability. We can't ignore it. Sadly, it defines him. They asked us several times if we understood that he was disabled. We did understand. We saw it with our own eyes. Yes, he is disabled. Yes, he will spend the rest of his life dealing with people staring at him, seeing his disability. Therapy and surgery may grant him greater use of his arms and hands, and he may be able to gain a more natural gait, but he will always stand out to strangers.

     It hurts. It hurts to know that wherever he goes people will stare. It hurts to know that for the rest of his life he will be defined by his disability because most people won't get to know the person behind his disability. When we first saw Aaron, we saw his disability. But the first time he smiled, and then laughed, his disability melted in our eyes. His laugh shocked us. We couldn't help but laugh back. We wanted more. We wanted to hear him laugh again. All three of us in that first week. Aaron has a contagious laugh. A contagious smile. A surprising mirth in a world that seems so despairing. He doesn’t laugh because he is unaware. Some of the boys here laugh with little understanding of the world around them. Aaron has a clear mind. He is mentally normal. He has learned to laugh in spite of his world. His strength and character shine through in his laughter. After only a few visits in July, Elijah said to us with such eloquence: "I don't see Aaron's arthro anymore." We didn’t either. We just saw Aaron. That’s all we see now.



     As we move toward the day when Aaron leaves the institute, our hearts want to surround him and protect him from the stares of the world. We want to defend him against the whispers. We want to shout out how special he is. We want people to understand what this child has overcome. He is the toughest little guy we have ever encountered. We cannot wait to hear the words of the judge pronouncing him our son. We are proud of him, and jealous for him. Yes, he is disabled. But he is so very much more.

23 comments:

  1. Praying every day that He works in the heart of that judge. Our four girls take turns every day saying a prayer for this judge. I'm counting on Him to use this situation to show my girls the power of prayer and move this one person's heart to the right place and grant this adoption! This boy just needs to be on his way home with you soon!!! God bless, Jennifer

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  2. I love your blog. And people that get to know Aaron will not see his arthro either. I stopped seeing it a long time ago, and I am only reading about him. He will be a gift to everyone who meets him!

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  3. I think sometimes God breaks our hearts so when it heals it's that much bigger and stronger, capable of loving that much more. Aaron is blessed and your family is blessed, may God give you peace. We are praying for his adoption and your safe travels back.

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  4. You might be underestimating people.

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  5. I read your blog out loud to my family. You have touched and moved our hearts with your words. My eyes are filled with tears. Keep writing and we are going to keep praying!

    Our dossier was sent in to the country! Hopefully we will be traveling next month.

    I look forward to hearing more about your journey and your precious son.

    Bless you,
    Hansina (Liam's mom)

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  6. I wouldn't worry about the stares or what others think too much. I have a little boy with DS, and I did worry about this when he was born. I quickly learned that when people are staring Carson will tell them "hi" and we have met some very nice people that way. Aaron is so handsome they will be staring simply because he is such a good looking kid.

    Kayla

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  7. He is also differently-abled. :) After all, he can play with his feet and write with his feet and you can't! :) Does he eat with his feet? I know many kids who do, and cut their steak with a knife, all at 6 years old.
    Mama just carries a box of wipes to keep feet clean. :)

    There may be something that can be done to improve Aaron's arms, but maybe not. In our daughter's case, there was nothing to be done with her feet. (much more deformed than Aarons) and her feet had to be amputated so she could walk. She cannot bend at the hip more than about 15 degrees. Surgery was attempted, but there was not enough hip material to make a difference. So, her leg was reattached in the right direction, but she still cannot bend. This makes falling rather scary. Thus, I have many more gray hairs. :)
    I just don't get the staring thing. We have been stared at since 1981, when our son was born with Cerebral Palsy. It is so strange that if we are "different" we are deemed as less than. Yet, any person on this planet is subject to being the stared at... we are all one accident away! That is what my sweet daughter in law told her parents when she married our son. She said, "I could marry a guy who is perfect in body today, and next week, he could be worse off than Tim!" LOL
    She was right.
    She loved Tim, because of his infectious smile and for the person he was, not because of how he looked or walked.

    Ok, I've said enough. Aaron will be fine, whether surgery improves him or not. He'll still be Aaron, whom God adores and loves and has given a different lot in life to bring glory to His kingdom. :)

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  8. What a wonderful post! Yes, there will be stares, but God has given him the gift of laughter, and I think that it will show people the true Aaron. When you get home, would you post a video of him laughing so that we can hear it, too????

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  9. Hi Julia,
    i read your blog every now and then and i'm praying you will be able to take your precious boy home soon!
    On sept 8 people are praying and fasting for families like yours, (experiencing many bumps on the adoptionroad)
    please go over to www.aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com
    and try to enter with a link...

    Wishing you all of His blessings.

    Adriana(Dutch)

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  10. I think the judge needs to hear what you just posted. She needs help to understand that Aaron is so much more than a disability. My prayers are with you and Aaron. What a blessing you are for each other!

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  11. You know what, I think Aaron will be his best advocate. Just as you see beyond, others will too - he seems like just such an amazing young man. you will protect him as he learns a new culture and society, you are great parents, I am so excited to have him be able to leave there, and so anxious about your next court appearance, you are in my thoughts continuously.

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  12. It is such a sad thing. Unfortunately adults are worse than kids! The worse thing is when Gerri and Aaron realize that everyone else sees them differently. We tell Gerri they are looking at her cause of her beautiful casts! Kids will just play :) Luckily going forward Aaron has a FAMILY to protect him and treat him like the adorable, loving and ABLE child that he is! We do not treat Gerri like a disabled child, she is expected to do everything herself and she amazes us every day!!
    good luck!!!
    hugs,

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  13. Julia,

    Your journey with Aaron is probably the most amazing of all the RR blogs I have read. The first thing I see when you share pictures is not his disability but his piercing, beautiful blue eyes. I will be praying that your court date goes well and you are home with Aaron very soon.

    Linda

    (Grandma to a special girl in EE we will be
    bringing home real soon.)

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  14. This made me cry! I pray everyday for you and your family! God has given you the honor to take care of one of his angels

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  15. What a beautiful blessing and gift from the Lord he is! Who cares what anyone else may think. If they can't see past that then they are the ones missing the beauty of God's creation and the more that Aaron possess. Praying for court and that the Lord just speak through the both of you and that the judges heart is softened to see the light! Praising the Lord that you get to be an example in a dark world that needs to see Christ!

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  16. I am so touched by your love for your son.

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  17. My heart sings over Aaron with you!! May many others that the Lord brings into your lives, from doctors serving him to friends of Ben and Elijah and home school co-op people all join in God's delight in the way Aaron's spirit of overcoming and laughter mirrors the Father's heart and brings Him glory. I have only read the first few comments but I find myself in agreement with so much. God, get all the glory by bringing this adoption to pass and setting the stage for those to come. Release to the Nalles this their 3rd son! Love you guys! : )

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  18. and look at all the lives this lost boy has touched. It's pretty amazing.

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  19. As a mom of 2 disabled kids, my heart is so full for you. I promise that the blessings will far outweigh the pain.
    Sometimes I feel sorry for my friends if "normal" kids because I know they are missing out on the extra bonus blessings I get! I am so excited for you! Jer 33:3- God had great things in store for your family!

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  20. i have 6 kiddos. 5 of them have special needs. some obvious, some on the painfully on the inside. of course i too see them as themselves and their special need only a part of them. i bawled like a baby at reading this post. i have felt the stares on my little ones and also have seen the pity in people's eyes but also have witnessed the miracle of people getting to know them and to be amazed at how far they have come and what they can teach others. hugs to you. so glad aaron's family found him!

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  21. Our daughter (bio) became sick at the age of two and to save her life we had to disconnect half her brain. She woke up from surgery and could move nothing on her left side. Five and a half years later she does everything she wants to do, with a limp, a left arm that doesn't work, and a great big smile. Reading is difficult, and sometimes it takes awhile for new learning to find a place, but we've come to understand that our daughter is not disabled, just able to do do the things she wants to do. Where there's a will, there's a way, and you'll help him find it. I don't use the "D" word anymore, because everything is possible it just might not look like everyone else.

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  22. He may be disabled, but he is beautifully and wonderfully made! (And quite handsome, too.)

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Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!

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