I fell in love with my daughter Tiffany Chantelle the moment I laid eyes on her picture. She was a tiny girl in a wheelchair, looking so alone and forlorn. She was four years old in the picture, but very small for her age. She had been waiting for a mommy since she was born.
I was sitting in the adoption exchange, poring over the shelf of books of waiting children, when I found my daughter. It was not a very good picture. She looked blank, her sparse hair was unkempt, her tongue protruded, and her brown eyes were crossed behind thick glasses. But my heart just went out to her. It was one of those times I believe that God put a love in my heart. I worked for two years to be able to adopt her and bring her home, for she had been abandoned and raised in a hospital since birth. She had never been fully released for adoption. A long, drawn-out court process was required.
But at last my precious daughter came home. She turned out to have a very keen sense of humor, and a beautiful smile! She never looked blank. Her eyes sparkled, and her little face was very expressive.
Her cerebral palsy was extremely severely athetoid. She was profoundly retarded, but she was very alert. Sometimes children who are athetoid have more intelligence than they are able to show.
Tiffany watched everything that went on around her. Her body was in constant motion, thrusting and jerking, like a newborn baby. I think athetoid c.p. might be the hardest for someone to have, for it makes it virtually impossible to move the way you want to. Instead, your body moves all different ways.
Her arms and legs thrust out wildly almost all the time, unless she was lying in bed, with nothing interesting going on, like just before sleep. Everything needed to be done very slowly with her, she had such an extreme startle reflex. Her little arms and legs, though slim, were firm with well-developed muscles from all that exercise! I remember her doctors at the childrens hospital remarking about her rock-hard biceps!
When Tiffany came home, she eagerly absorbed all the experiences she could. Family life was something she just loved. She laughed heartily at everything her siblings did, playing around her, and with her. She thought they were hilarious. They would push her wheelchair up and down our long halls, and zoom through rooms, and she would laugh and laugh!
She thought watching us cooking was interesting. She thought the toilet flushing was funny. She watched her sisters and brothers with great fascination. They, in turn, took great interest in showing her all kinds of things.