This month I began a journey, with you in my heart and on my mind. I still remember the day I found out that you were on your way. We had Indian food. Usually, I love it but that day, it seemed off. As we drove home on that blustery winter night, I shivered knowing that I in fact was pregnant. It hadn't been long since we lost your cousin Clare to cancer and I truly believed you were a sign that she was with us, her presence, her spirit and her life carried on through you. Your name comes from her.
Let me tell you about Clare in case I ever forget. Like me, Clare was adopted, into my biological family. Watching her mother love and care for her actually healed a part of me that was forever aching for true understanding of what adoption was and what my own mission in life was. I always thought it was to advocate for adoptees, but most adoptees are so wanted and so loved, I saw in Clare that I knew my life was truly wanted. Clare shined bright. Always. She danced, in an amazing way. She had a talent, a smile, a personality that was light hearted, carefree and truly a gift to anyone she met. When cancer walked into Clare's life, her spirit didn't walk out, it strengthened. Again, Clare taught me the meaning of strength, courage and faith. As I watched her face her battle with beauty someone twice her age could only wish for, she taught me that you can find beauty in each challenge in life.
I knew the moment we knew of your coming, you were a part of Clare. I never knew that you, like Clare would teach me more as a child than any adult or life lesson ever could. When I knew something was different about you, you taught me to speak up. When I was told "no", I trusted my gut. You taught me to keep pushing for what we know is true. That you are a gift, a blessing and something so unique that each day you teach. You have purpose. You challenge others to grow through your own journey with autism.
Seraphina, we are four years into this journey and I am not afraid. Like Clare so easily did, I see beauty in each moment of your life, yes, even when you are so upset, unable to control yourself and hoping that someone can help you calm you body, you are perfect. Perfectly made. Earlier I spoke of a journey, a step I have taken with some courage and risk of failure because of you. I began to truly bare witness to my new purpose in life. Advocacy. As I sat at New Jersey Partners in Policymaking, we listened, we learned and then we created.
When I see you, I see a beautiful child. One who finally turned "6" with hopes, dreams and goals. I see your love of babies and animals. I see your nurturing, kind spirit that is so beautiful when you share it, I sit back and watch in awe. Recently I have witnessed care far beyond what others told me to "expect" out of autism. Your wishing children don't cry, you empathy. Your own need to be included. You amaze me. As I watch I continue to hope. I hope you find peace. I hope that you can control your emotions and I can teach you to control them as well to help you facilitate what you need from your own body, mind and spirit and all of those supporting you. I hope that you find friends. One friend is fine, but a true one. A peer, perhaps a child to go to ice cream with or the movies. A child to share laughter with giggling late into the night until I shout "enough". I want you to find your perfect. If its working as a cashier, receptionist, day care provider or even as an aeronautical engineer, I want you to "do you". I hope one day you have all the "puppies" and "kitties" in the world. I want you to keep singing and dancing even when the words are inappropriate or just plain not the lyrics. I want you to have faith, to know that although your road is more challenging, it has the ability to be more of an impact on the world than most. I want you to know, I am here, until my dying breath. I am your biggest fan. I will of course have to discipline you and teach you right from wrong, disabilities do not take away conscience but I want you to know, I am here. Always.
Seraphina, please know that when Clare died I lost a piece of my heart. I felt part of my own direction was gone. It was but when God chose you to be mine, he just gave me a bigger gift to have as my own. Thank you for helping me to see what I am meant to do and meant to be as a person, mother, advocate and friend. This is not a battle yet an opportunity to find the beauty in the journey of life.
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