Ashley amazes me in so many ways, but one thing that continually amazes me is how adaptable she is.
Imagine just for a moment what it would be like to be deaf and blind. And, to have been that way since birth. All the visual and auditory experiences we take for granted, she never experienced. Imagine how frightening life could be if you couldn’t see where you were going – if you couldn’t hear what people were saying or asking you – if everything you touched had a strange and different texture.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t even want to eat a food that looks different, or try on an article of clothing if it feels funny on my skin. That is what Ashley’s life is like every single day.
Yet, she always just goes with the flow. Go in the car and not know really where you are going? Sure, she would say. Walk through a shopping mall knowing there is a crowd of strange people around? Of course, she says. Sleep in a strange bed in a hotel room in a place that is completely alien? Why not, her excitement says.
I don’t think I could be so easy going if everything I had to do was a challenge. I believe I would be frightened to even take a step in a direction that was unknown. And I know that meeting new people that I couldn’t see or hear would cause me to shrink away.
But not Ashley. That must be why so many people don’t believe at first that she is deafblind. She doesn’t act like she is deafblind. At time, I don’t think she even believes she is deafblind. She is fearless, and even though that drives me crazy with worry sometimes, it is the reason she has advanced so much in life.
I’m so glad I was able to adopt her and provide an environment where she was comfortable enough to become the explorer she is. The alternative, had I not adopted her, was institutionalization. I don’t believe the Ashley I know and love would even exist had that happened.
'No limits' has always been my mantra for her. 'No limits' is her mantra for herself. She is amazing and wonderful and fearless. She is a strong young woman, and I am so very proud of her.