Thursday, March 29, 2012

What A Pity.

I get the look all the time.  In the grocery store.  At Target.  When we're on a walk in our neighborhood and pass somebody we don't know

The look.

Most mama's like me who have differently-abled kids know exactly what I'm talking about.  I could probably stop right here and not say another word.  But for the rest of you, I'll explain.

The look says "Oh - I'm sorry...".

It says "That poor family...".

It says "How did that happen?  She's so young!".

It usually goes hand in hand with a sympathetic smile.  You know - the one that says "You poor thing - I feel so sorry for you...".

If we happen to be in the check-out behind someone with a 'healthy' or 'typical' baby, well Lord have mercy.  I can see the guilt oozing from that new mama - who was quite perky just a minute ago.    Her look says "Ohh - I'm so sorry you got one that was damaged, instead of one like mine".

Well guess what, lady?  I didn't want one like yours.  That's right - you heard me.  I chose this kid.  Yes, I knew he had Down syndrome.  I knew he would struggle with things that your baby will learn quickly.  I knew he'd log hundreds - no, probably thousands - of therapy hours before he graduates high school (and yes - he will graduate high school).  I knew things would be different.  I knew it would be challenging.

Does this look like the face of a kid who deserves your pity?
But I don't want your sympathy.  Don't feel sorry for me, please.  Don't pity me.

And don't feel sorry for Carter, either.  Knowing that everyone pities you is no way to go through life.  This kid will have to work harder than his friends.  He'll have to put in more effort than his siblings.  He'll have to try harder than his teammates.  But don't pity him.  Because some day, when your baby is 17 and screaming at you because you won't buy her $94 designer jeans - my kid will be asking if he can have another banana.

It's the tradeoff.

Just treat us like normal people.  Like a normal family.  Treat Carter like a normal kid.  Because really - in most ways, that's exactly what he is.

I'm just sayin'.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Blessed - so, so BLESSED to be this boy's mama.  Don't pity me.


  1. I really liked this post. You did chose him...and who wouldn't when you look at him? He is the cutest and happiest kid!

  2. Thank u. I hate "the look". I want to scream this lifes not what u think. Its oh so much better. no pity!
    I would not change a thing if I could

  3. I LOVE the analogy about the 17 yo screaming about the jeans. :-) How true! (However, I do pray that never happens in our house w/ our girls!) Anyway, very true. Remember that day I went to Madtown for you? I had both Elijah AND Jonathan with me. I have never felt like such spectacle in my life..oh the looks and the how dare she have another child after having "one of those". But truthfully, most of the comments I get around here are about the number of kids I have. One of the funniest ones was an elderly man at the grocery store said something about me having my hands full...funny thing is that I only had the 3 "middles" with me (ages 5,7,9) - all very capable of taking care of themselves! I literally laughed at him and told him he had no idea. :-)

    Maybe we should do take our 3 Ukrainian boys on errands together someday and have a hidden video camera. That might worthy of a documentary!

  4. Pity you? NO WAY! Envy you...Definately!

    Love your posts. They make my day!


  5. Your sweet Carter is SOOOO Darling!!! You chose a treasure!

  6. Wow!!!! Thats great! To be honest, i fear that look a little bit once we get our kiddo home. Now, i will look at it just the way you said! Thank you for that!!!!!

    p.s. we hopped over from the blog hop :)

  7. Great advice! Normal is a Cycle on the Washing Machine!

  8. I totally get ya Ashley. It's great you broach these topics, lay it all out there, and inevitably you're helping someone deal with it as well. NONE of this is easy, except the love part:)
    I get "the look" too!!! But mine is cause our skin/hair color is different! (maybe the father is dark? oh no, she was infertile, she couldn't have her own, oh thats so sad. It's so wonderful she took in an orphan) Uggg! I cringed when I knew the question was coming.... "Where is he from?" Right in front of Aidan, like he's from Mars or something! I handle it better now, for Aidan's sake, and to educate. "Aidan was born such and such, we're an adoptive family. Aidan needs to know adoption is not a bad word. But most of the time I don't talk about the adoption, people can figure it out. Families are made in different ways, and Aidan knows the way our family was made is very, very special!

  9. Ashley,

    I have to admit I was one of those "lookers" because I had no idea. & I truly am soo sorry for every mother I put through that look. I had no idea the joy brought to families because I was unaware, until I found this world of special needs adoptions and mommies blogging their hearts out so others, like myself,understand. I am SOOOO happy my eyes were opened. You are soo right with this blog & "I wish I had known then what I know now."



  10. This is part of why I LOVE bringing kids with special needs out into public places and just letting them BE KIDS. Because when their children see a child with special needs, they don't think the way adults do. They just see a potential playmate. and then the parents learn something too!

  11. I love this post.
    I know that look.
    I understand.
    It is good to know that I am not walking this path alone.
    Well said.

  12. what i did when i saw the 'look'? i smile, and enjoy, and kiss my boy all over to prove them how happy we are, and with time i learned to ignore them

    now i have two kids with down synrome, i get the look again, or i notice it again, but oh well, who cares! we are happy!


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