The big D (disabled, that is)

When we adopted two years ago we thought we were taking on a (mostly) healthy seven year old, who was only a bit vertically challenged. As in, he might look like a five year old, but his behavior and cognitive function were mostly on target for his age range, if you give him a bit of extra leeway to account for his traumatic social history.

The last two years have been a humbling process as we have been handed diagnosis after diagnosis telling us what was evident right after we took custody. That our little guy wasn’t nearly as healthy or mentally stable as the Russian paperwork made him sound.
You’d think it would get easier after a spell, that you’d develop a thicker skin each time you accept a new name for a set of personality quirks; a label that helps professionals know how to approach your child. A special set of words that opens doors to extra assistance because your kid is qualified.
But it doesn’t. 
Each one comes like a swift kick in the gut. A chink in your armor. And the latest one isn’t any different.
Our paperwork is back, the board of disabilities has taken my son into their database. My son is officially disabled.
It is so easy to park myself on that word. To feel overwhelmed by its implications. To be not quite ready to call myself the parent of a disabled child (even though I embraced the roll a long time ago). To be emotionally blinded by a label that doesn’t change my child in the slightest bit.
And how weird it is that the only thing that this emotionally charged label really changes is how my son’s needs impact our finances. How many services that used to cost us money will now be provided free of charge because he owns a different word. A word that makes him qualified for government assistance.
Disabled. Such a bittersweet word.

1 comment:

Aleta said...

Oh my gosh, that word should never be used with a child in this world. How very sad... but as you also said, now financially you can have assistance with his needs. I'm sending prayers of strength for you and your family.


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