I love being a mom. For as long as I can remember, all I wanted to do was get married and have kids. That dream took a little longer to come true than I had thought, but it happened. I have two amazing boys. They make my life so much better than I ever thought was possible.
My oldest son has a disability. After a perfect pregnancy, he was born full term and developed cerebral palsy due to birth complications. I always thought we’d have more biological kids after him, but it just never happened. Thankfully, when he was 5, we were given the opportunity to adopt our great nephew. He was 3. It seemed like the perfect situation. Both of these boys could grow up as brothers.
Adopting a child has its own issues. There are emotional issues that surface with the child that you don’t anticipate. On top of the issues he came with, he also has to learn how to be a brother to a kid with a disability. That, in of itself, is not easy.
There is a lot of focus on our older son. There is always a doctor appointment to go to. There is therapy every day after school. We have to help him access his environment and assist with his everyday needs. He is always getting some sort of attention from someone. Because of this, it always seems like our youngest is living in our eldest’s shadow.
It’s the same when we go out in public. People always talk to our eldest son. They chat with him. They give him a high five or pat his head (like a dog, but that’s another story!). They ask about his communication device. They ask about his wheelchair. As an afterthought, they sometimes say something to our youngest. It’s usually an, “Oh, hi.” It makes me sad. I know it makes him sad, too.
I try to make time to do things with just him. Even if it’s just running to the grocery store. That gives us some time to talk, just the two of us. I hope he doesn’t grow up resenting his role. He is a great little brother and a huge protector of his big brother. But it’s quite a big burden for such a little guy!
Parenting a child with a disability can be one of the most joyful and rewarding experiences. It can also bring stress and anxiety. Increased, sustained levels of stress and anxiety can have negative effects on parents and their children.
Categories: Family Support