#NHBPM is coming to an end but I have two more posts in me yet.
If I could accomplish one thing in 2013 it would be...
My goal for this blog is always to advocate for blind children and those who are differently abled by sharing Tom's story.
I want to see more opportunities for children of all abilities to learn and play together. When you grow up with many different types of people that becomes your normal. When people with disabilities are segregated they become easy to ignore and easy to de-value. That is what we need to get away from. Because, truly, disability is a natural part of the human experience and I believe that different can be beautiful.
There is a desperate need to share this message. Why? I recently read this article in Slate Magazine about a woman and her daughter with Down Syndrome. The problem wasn't the article. It was the comments. So many people blamed this woman for having a child who was "medically expensive and would never amount to anything." Really. I am not kidding. Take a look at the comments and assess for yourself the real need to advocate for children of all abilities. I just went back and saw that the more recent comments are far more kind. The earlier comments were disturbing and very hard to read. It is just shocking to think that some people probably look at my son and begrudge his very existence.
Some of the commenters bring to mind the worst of eugenics. Some dare to argue the utility of human beings - as if that could possibly be measured. Tom has brought more joy in his three years on this earth that some people manage in a lifetime. I am absolutely sure of that.
What do you see in this old picture?
Could you have imagined how much he had inside?
Some of the comments demonized the parents for not aborting children with potential issues. If every child with "potential health issues" was aborted there would be a lot less people walking around today. And I would remind people that I had excellent prenatal care in a major city and no one expected Tom to have any health issues. Medical science is not perfect but neither are we. And I'd take Tom for the person he is, just as he is, any day of the week.
There are no guarantees in this life. That I know. You could give birth to a perfectly healthy child only to have any number of things happen (accident, illness, mental illness, addiction, criminal behavior...) You cannot look at any baby and possibly know what the future holds. No one can. All you can do is love your children and try to give them the tools they need to thrive in this world.
Every person that thinks of people who are blind or differently abled in any way, just a little differently after reading this blog is a gift to Tom. Open your eyes and see the possibility in every child. Then share that idea with someone else and we will really have something going.