What would you do in the following scenario: your parents got guardianship behind your back and told you never to fight or speak out against it? That it was all about protecting you? And then you found out the real reason for this. Well, I’m at a loss. It was fifteen years ago this fall that this was even considered a thing. For one, I can’t easily get hired for a job, and behavioral assessments have proven not a good or effective way to determine whether I as a blind woman need a guardian. Let’s face it though. I have a few things I want to do with my life, but people think a job is a requirement in life, but when you’ve been carved out like a piece of chicken, used as a bad example to others, and then your friends were turned against you, you pretty much have nothing to lean on, no references that speak highly of you, etc.
As a blind person, I could have found a meaningful career if not for this fifteen year song and dance tomfoolery that I call what my family deems as protection, but this was playing games with my freedom and rights as an adult with a disability. Let me warn all parents with disabled kids, whether your child is nonverbal or otherwise, recognize that they have a brain, they have rights, and that they could do something meaningful whether you like it as a parent or not. As I told the Parker Daniels show, what do you want your child to do in twenty years? I’ve spent fifteen of those years playing catch up with relationships, having to explore things that I couldn’t under my parents’ oppression. And yes, before you start touting “But we protected you” bullshit, think again. Protection is overboard and overbearing when it involves removing rights, especially those of association with the people the subject chooses and the rights to marry and own property and have financial freedom. Because of my father’s name on my bank account, I can’t own a home, apply for a home loan, etc. So I’m considering my options. I’m trying to think of ways to get Trenton and I better housing that doesn’t require rental style rules, rules about guests, rules about pets, or rules about screaming whining kids. I’m sorry, I want kids before the pregnancies become risky, and risky pregnancies are no fun. My friends who have been pregnant know the big thing about pregnancy is that every one of those things is different. Of course, I’ve had friends miscarry, even if they don’t smoke or drink or do drugs. However, miscarriages are painful and trying is important. If I miscarry too many times, I’ll have to consider adoption but that costs money and time. If I were to adopt, it would most likely be girls with disability or other forms of differences, including autism. Parents with those Autism Speaks stickers on their cars may soon find that it is harmful to keep those around, and I’d encourage parents to look deeper into an org’s philosophy before joining or adopting this. I will never also use bleach to “cure” anything, including autism because the difference has no so called cure, and autistics can’t or will never submit to being fixed. I’m sorry, but they also can’t be given second class status with guardians hovering over their rights, including that of intimacy and healthy relationships they desire. There are two autistics who married in an all autistic wedding, and they went to a support group that showed them ways they can engage in healthy intimate activities. So there you have it.
Here is, for lack of a better way to say this, a road map, not an instruction manual, for a disabled person who is born this way.
- Keep the baby. If the baby is disabled, and you can’t handle it, then you have a week to drop the baby off at a hospital or fire station or whatever. I don’t know how the so called “baby drop” thing works, but it’s within a month or a week in some places, and if you can’t handle a child’s disability, you are responsible for abiding by the laws with regards to safely placing your child with a family that can handle the child and give it the loving care it needs to grow and develop.
- If you choose to follow the instructions on keeping your baby, then great. Welcome to parenting, but beware. You will need to research, research, and research like crazy any philosophical things and orgs you can join that help you understand and accept your child’s disability. For example, for blind children, go to http://www.nfb.org, or you could also go to http://www.acb.org, or http://www.afb.org. There is a lot of pertinent info on these sites, so check those out. If you have a Down’s syndrome baby you chose to keep, pick up Jason Kingsley and Mitchell Levitz’s book Count Us In, Growing Up with Down’s syndrome. You never know, you could run into a Down’s syndrome support group. If you are purposely looking to adopt a DS child, try Rees’s Rainbow Down syndrome adoption ministries. I don’t know if they’ll allow LGBTQ+ individuals to adopt, but there are lots of domestic avenues you can try if that one doesn’t work. This one jumps out at me though as they adopt waiting children out with Down’s, and these special people are waiting for good loving families, and let me give an example. I believe Barbara and Jack Levitz are Jewish, and they gave their son a bar mitzvah, so did many other families I’m sure.
- Recognize the risks. While you are the parent of a child with a disability, keep your brothers and sisters a safe distance away from your disabled child. They could become the first target for a preying relative, and as demonstrated in some case studies in the Protecting Your Children from Sexual Predators book, they don’t have to be male. If Uncle Pete is caught messing around with your disabled kid, kindly walk between them and tell the guy to back off. And yes, when the child is old enough, boundary setting is so important. Disabled kids are at higher risk of being sexually exploited, so having boundaries for these kids is highly important and vital to you and your child’s relationship and the child’s survival into adulthood.
- Recognize the child’s right to exist. Never use threats to kill or harm your child as punishment or during discipline. This hurts and downright degrades the kid. I speak from experience with a mother who thinks she can get away with this kind of thing, and then she verbally abused me as a teenager. Of course, because of threats at a young age, I learned quick that I couldn’t trust either parent. Neither could I trust my brothers and family and then, there went the support system.
- Recognize the child’s adulthood without fuss. When your child turns eighteen, that’s it. No natural guardian or plenary guardian can really do much. If your highly functioning child with a disability wants to move on with his or their life, let them. Female disabled adults as well as the female transitioning transgendered people are at most risk. Trans women of color with disabilities would probably be at a considerably high risk of being murdered, so let’s start with recognizing these people for people. Next, teach your at risk child the importance of self defense. As a parent, you want what’s best. I wish my parents had given me the opportunity to do karate or a form of martial arts. There is one guy I know who knows all the martial arts he can, and it doesn’t mean he can punch people out when they don’t respect his boundaries. The first step, according to my ex who did tae kwon doh, is diplomacy. Just your words can make a difference, but in mass shootings and all out attack situations, transgender people of color with disabilities should be alert at all times, and keep doors and windows locked like any other person. IF you’re talking someone in a wheelchair, this gets a bit more complicated. I have friends who are transitioning but that can wait for another story. If you’re talking any trans woman with a disability, as a parent, your job is to support their lifestyle no matter what. I’ve received my share of right wing transphobic commentary in my inbox, no names of course, but it bothers me that transgender rights and the right to exist for all people is not written somewhere.
- Support your child’s decisions, regardless of your feelings towards LGBTQI+ and black and other minority groups. If your kid came out to you as male to female transitioning or female to male, no matter what the issue, you must never leave them to rot in the Conservative family you may be a part of. If you are a transgender youth or someone in the LGBTQI+ category seeking help because your parents won’t listen, the Trevor Project is the first thing to jump out at me. http://www.thetrevorproject.org if I’m not mistaken.
When your child becomes a senior citizen, you’ll likely be dead yourself, but if your child is dead before your other children grow, remember that your loss is still painful as everything else involving death is painful. If your child with disability has a terminal illness, make sure you are granting them wishes: Make a Wish Foundation will grant wishes to terminally ill kids, so get your chapter involved in granting your child’s wish. St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee does research on childhood cancers, and a lot of us are aware of all this, but St. Jude would be just one of many things I’d do if my kid had cancer, should that be a part of my equation. If your child has another form of terminal illness, sickle cell anemia included, be sure you still get with your hospitals and Make a Wish and treat this as an opportunity for your child’s dreams to come true. When they pass on, you will have the satisfaction in knowing the child got what they needed or wanted. There were twins who went on a Disney cruise together before little Dante, one of the twins, died of leukemia. Dante had money raised for him, and I felt like it was the coolest thing ever. There was a girl with Ret’s Syndrome who went to Disney and now, she has photos of the times she spent with the Disney cast, all of these help with crises she has to endure in a sense because of her Ret’s.
Now, let’s move on. I will write something about a road map for aging seniors and parents in another post. But today, I have a date with my man and a couple of people we know. We’re going to Westminster to have some fun, so hopefully we won’t run into anything.
Thank you all for reading this and have a nice day.