You may remember this post from last week, if not please read it now...we'll wait... ok ya back?
My favorite friend here in my new town called me after I posted that to apologize. You see that morning at church she asked if Annie's head was swollen from surgery, and she feared that her question set me off that day. No! Not even slightly! First of all, she is a nurse, and worked in neurosurgery, so asking me medical questions would never bother me. She was looking Annie over as a nurse, what is wrong with that?! Believe me, I want her looking! If she notices something is wrong, then I want to know! Ya know? Secondly, as I said she is my favorite friend here, and she loves Annie, so I would never be offended by what she says/asks. (though I appreciate her apology- it is hard to humble ourselves in that way, so thank you friend- even though no apology was necessary!) :)
Actually, I am not offended if anyone asks medical questions about Annie. Just think about it, would it be easier for Annie to answer questions about what makes her her, or to deal with people staring at her trying to figure it out on their own? Also, I want Annie to be proud of who she is. Having Spina Bifida and all that comes with it does not define her, but it is a part of who she is. I do not want her to be ashamed of any detail of her makeup.
The reason the little boy bothered me so was because he called out her difference as she was a freak. It wasn't an innocent question about her braces, her skin color, her head- it was an announcement to the world that she was different, a freak, unworthy.
We're all curious, children especially. I've had so many children ask about her skin color and why it is different from mine, why she can't walk and if she ever will, and about her head after surgery. I have no problem answering these questions and I will help Annie to answer them as she grows up. As I said, I want her never to be ashamed! I even have adults ask me, and as long as it is in a nice way, I have no problem answering.
It is like with adoption, if people ask me if she is mine, I will say yes. If people ask me if I am her real mom, I will say yes. If they come to me and say, "I hope I am not offending you but I must ask, is she mixed, or is she adopted?" I will then give them her whole life story. :)
So yes, if someone says something in a condescending, disgusted tone like, "what is wrong with her," or something like that I may not answer fully or friendly. But if something is asked about her differences in an innocently, nicely, curious way, then I have no problem answering. :) As I said, I would rather them ask instead of staring and trying to figure it out on their own. If they ask I can tell them. I didn't know anything about Spina Bifida until after I said I wanted Annie. I know many others do not know anything about it either. I have no problem educating others on how awesome my child is! :) (So dear readers, if you have any questions, feel free to ask- questions about ANYTHING! :) I give you permission!) :)
People abort children with Spina Bifida out of ignorance. I love educating people so they see how awesome a child with Spina Bifida can be, and how they, like all children, are worthy of life and love.
Here is the part of the post where we let you in to our deepest heart, and I ask you to be kind. These pictures cause me pain, but they are part of Annie's story. I will never share her whole story, until maybe in the future when she wants to share it. So here is a snippet of her story that I have never shared on here.
Part of the reason these cause me pain is because she was not with me yet. These pictures were taken April 2010, the same time we were in Boston celebrating our third anniversary. As an adoptive parent, there is a sadness knowing you missed on the first months, (or years), of your child's life.
Annie was born with Spina Bifida and because of that she has Hydrocephalus, (fluid on the brain). She was given a shunt to help drain the fluid. Well, at one point it became infected and she was brought to the hospital and abandoned.
She had an infection in her BRAIN and was not given surgery she desperately needed. All the cysts and how complicated they are now is because of this neglect. Yeah, I try not to think about that because it makes me mad. This is when I have to cling to Romans 8:28.
After months of waiting for her family to sign off on surgery, CPS stepped in, got her surgery and sent her to a foster home.
These next 2 pictures are from the day after she was released from the hospital after surgery. Her head was misshaped because of the fluid and pressure that was allowed to grow and swell while waiting for surgery.
Just look at her head! Breaks my heart! (and notice her legs- that is because of Spina Bifida- she is a miracle I tell ya!)
Everyday after that her head went back to normal little by little.
Can you believe her leg?! Now she is working on walking. :) She has come so so far!
Almost a month later, you can still see a little misshape, but it is almost completely back to normal. :)
As I said in the post linked above, Annie's forehead protrudes slightly because of all of this. Nobody really notices this they say, so here is a pic that shows it. Her head is beautifully shaped and you would never know that she is the same baby as the pics from April 2010. This forehead is the one the boy called out as a freak. Now do you kinda see why I was so upset? You can barely see it protrude, and it is because I am pointing it out to you. She is gorgeous and he and anyone else who says otherwise can kiss it. Just yesterday, she was playing with her dress up jewelry and she had her little mirror- looking at herself she sang, "you are so gorgeous to me..." (she changed the lyrics on her own). :) Never let anyone tell you differently, my sweet angel!
Tomorrow I will post our September photoshoot, this pic is a sneak peek. :)