Humans of NY http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 http://humansofnewyork.tumblr.com/ (¾) “My maternity leave was spent bouncing between...

(¾) “My maternity leave was spent bouncing between hospitals, therapists, and the insurance company.  I still talk to a doctor every single day of every single week.  My daughter has had five surgeries already, two on her heart.  I have to fight so much.  It took a month of phone calls with the insurance company just to get her a single shot that she needs to stay alive.  I hear other parents say it’s going too quickly.  But it’s not for me.  We live in a different world.  My kid doesn’t babble.  Doesn’t eat food.  Doesn’t crawl.  My husband is lucky because he has no idea what the milestones are supposed to be.  But I do.  I know what a fifteen-month-old should be able to do.  Every month I have a mom’s lunch with coworkers.  They’re the most fantastic people in the world.  But it’s so hard to hear them complain that their kids follow them around and eat everything.  My daughter has a feeding tube and doesn’t move.  Both my husband and I work full time.  We’re so tired.  It’s like a bucket that’s being drained from so many holes.  But you know what?  It’s better than the unknown.  It’s better than I imagined it was going to be.  Because I’m a parent now.  And when you’re imagining all these things, it’s so hard to picture the love.  She’s such a happy baby.  She gets so proud of herself when she accomplishes something.  She never wakes up crying.  The one thing that comes easy to her in life is love and happiness.”      
(Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi, UAE)

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183616515791

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Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:16:55 +0000 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183616515791 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183616515791
(2/4) “There was an eighty percent chance of miscarriage.  I...

(2/4) “There was an eighty percent chance of miscarriage.  I walked around every day not knowing if my daughter was still alive.  Every two weeks I went to the doctor to check for a heartbeat.  I always asked them to face the ultrasound screen away from me. I couldn’t bear to look.  At week twenty-two my placenta began to fail.  I was hospitalized at week thirty.  The blood flow through the umbilical cord had been reversed.  The delivery took three days.  Her heartbeat was dropping.  The chance of stillbirth was so high.  During the emergency C-section, there were thirty people in the room.  My husband said that all of them had an ‘oh fuck’ look on their face.  The last thing I remember is the gas mask being put over my mouth.  Then I woke up asking for milkshakes.  They wheeled my entire bed into the NICU to meet my daughter.  She’d had oxygen deprivation.  Her heart was halfway beating.  I was still paralyzed so I couldn’t even sit up to look at her.  The nurse took my phone, held it over my daughter, and turned it on ‘selfie mode.’  This is what she looked like when I saw her for the first time.”
(Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi, UAE)

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183611926426

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Thu, 21 Mar 2019 18:08:34 +0000 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183611926426 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183611926426
(¼) “At ten weeks the blood test came back with markers...

(¼) “At ten weeks the blood test came back with markers for Down Syndrome.  Then the next week we found out there were further complications.  There was a grieving process for both of us. We had to realize that things were going to be different.  I think it was harder for my husband, even though he didn’t cry as much as me.  Sometimes it’s not as easy for men to show emotion.  Women tend to band together.  I joined so many mom groups.  I talked through everything.  My husband is a bit of a jock, so I kept sending him videos of Down Syndrome athletes.  I wanted him to get excited about the possibilities.  We drove to the beach one weekend shortly after the diagnosis, and the entire ride we talked about the future.  We talked about how much of our daughter is going to be like any other child. And how we can still be a family.  We can still go to Disney World.  We can still have adventures.  When we arrived at the rental house, I put one of the ultrasound pictures on the fridge. That evening we were sitting on the beach, about to go back inside, when this little girl with Down Syndrome came walking up to us.  She was wearing a Minnie Mouse bathing suit. She didn’t say a word. She just stood there, smiling at us.”
(Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi, UAE)

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183609927166

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Thu, 21 Mar 2019 16:05:44 +0000 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183609927166 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183609927166
“We’re from the small island country of Vanuatu.  I don’t know...

“We’re from the small island country of Vanuatu.  I don’t know anything about sports, but nobody else wanted to coach the team.  So I volunteered. Special Olympics gave me a list of sports and I chose the long jump.  But two of my athletes couldn’t jump.  So we moved to the javelin throw.  But that was too hard to throw, so now we’re competing in the shot put competition.  When I first met Monick, she’d never really left her house before.   She couldn’t look me in the eye.  And she was afraid of the shot put.  She’d drop it on the ground every time I handed it to her.  She’d hide her hands behind her back.   But I invited her whole family out to train with us.  Everyone participated.  And that gave her confidence.  On days we weren’t training, her mother gave her coconuts and rocks to throw.  When it was time to compete, nobody knew if she’d be able to get on the plane.  She was so scared.  She was crying and clinging to me the entire flight. Once we arrived, we had to drive straight to the stadium for qualifications.  Everything was so new for her.  She’d never left her island before.  The stadium was so big and she had to go out on the field all by herself.  On her first throw she forgot everything she learned.  She dropped the shot put immediately and the referee raised a red flag for disqualification.  But then she looked back at us.  She calmed down.  She remembered being back on the island with all her family.  And she threw it so far on the second throw.  When the white flag was raised, we all went crazy.  And she won the silver medal.”
(Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi, UAE)

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183594310956

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Wed, 20 Mar 2019 22:22:39 +0000 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183594310956 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183594310956
“I’m here to support my older brother.  You’d never know he has...

“I’m here to support my older brother.  You’d never know he has special needs by looking at him.  But what you can learn in one hour, it might take him three or four years.  Even though I’m younger, he’s always looked up to me.  He writes on my Facebook wall all the time.  He’s so proud of my accomplishments.  On this trip he’s been sleeping in the bed next to me, but he still texts me that he loves me so much.  My mom says he was so happy when I was born. He saw me as an example.  Anything that I did, he wanted to do.  He learned to feed himself after seeing me eat.  He stopped using diapers once I did.  It’s getting harder for him to copy me now that we’re adults, but the desire is still there.  He wants to drive like me.  He wants a girlfriend like me.  He wanted a job at the grocery store so badly that he cried during the interview.  He wants a family.  And a house.  And a car.  And I want him to get there too.  But I’m not sure he realizes how difficult those things will be.  There’s another level he has to get past.  Cooking is still difficult.  And washing clothes.  And counting money.  We’re just not there yet.  So I have to be ready for him to live with me for the rest of my life.  And I have to hope that my future family will be OK with that.  My brother wants to be independent so badly.  And all of us want him to get there.  But if he doesn’t, I’m here.”
(Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi, UAE)

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183588814991

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Wed, 20 Mar 2019 17:30:12 +0000 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183588814991 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183588814991
“I first met him when he was thirteen years old.  He lives in...

“I first met him when he was thirteen years old.  He lives in one of the most remote regions of Brunei.  You can only get there by river.  There’s no running water, no electricity, no utilities.  Certainly no special education facilities.  He came alone to our city looking for assistance.  When I first met him, his trousers were completely torn.  He was so small for his age.  I’m a special education teacher, so I said to myself: ‘I’m going to help this boy.’  He lived with me for four years.  It was the only way he could get training.  I coached him on the Special Olympics soccer team.  I tried to give him structure.  I told him: take a bath every day, go to sleep early, always go to school.  The advice had to be continuous because he forgets very easily.  But I did everything for him.  He became like my son.  But he never called me ‘father.’  Always ‘teacher.’  And I never forced him to stay.  He’d leave home for a few nights at a time, but he’d always come back.  I was really hoping he’d live with me until he got a job.  It’s dangerous for him to be on his own because he needs guidance.  His family has many bad habits.  But last October he turned eighteen, and he chose to go home.  He reaches out to me sometimes when his family runs out of food.  Or when he needs money.  He knows that I can never say ‘no.’  At first it was very difficult.  I worried nonstop.  I’d always ask his friends: ‘Where is Azril now?’  But I have to accept I’ve done all I can.  He has become an adult.  When we return from the games, I think it’s time for me to let go.”            
(Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi, UAE)

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183565988621

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Tue, 19 Mar 2019 16:04:01 +0000 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183565988621 http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/183565988621