May 22, 2007
In which I come out as the softiest of softies
An exaggeration, perhaps. Still, I found this editorial quite moving. It’s about a man who, together with his wife, adopted a six-year-old autistic boy. Other people question the choice, saying amazingly insensitive (not to mention classist, racist, and/or ableist) things like “God knows what that kid’s parents were doing when they conceived him;” “You two have such good genes. . . Why waste them?” and “Healthy white infants must be tough to get.” The whole thing is worth reading, but these paragraphs nearly had me in tears:
The boy who was still in diapers and said to be retarded when he came to live with us is now a straight-A student at our local middle school. He’s literally rewriting the common scripts of autism and “attachment disorder” (the broad diagnosis for the problems of abandoned and traumatized kids). These are hopeless scripts, unforgiving scripts in which the child can’t give back.
My son does, and others can as well. Recently, in response to my hip replacement, he typed on his computer, “I’m nervous because Dad has not brought me braces [his word for crutches].” I was just home from the hospital — wobbly, a bit depressed, in pain. To my question, “Why do you need crutches?” he responded endearingly, “You know how I like to be just like you.” My son was trying to make me feel better, taking on my impairment, limping with me.
Again, the whole thing is worth reading. [h/t to Jill at Feministe]