The day Connie’s daughter, Farah, was born things changed in more ways than she ever expected. The first few months of Farah’s life, she was having seizures on a regular basis. By six months of age, Farah received a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, a cognitive impairment, and a seizure disorder.
Cerebral Palsy is a Life-Long Disorder
Now 41 years later, Farah still lives at home with her mom. “Doctors felt that for our family to be able to experience life as we should, we should probably institutionalize her. But we couldn’t,” Connie said. Connie didn’t want Farah under someone else’s care so she took on the task of providing total care for her. “She’s like an infant,” Connie said. She is non-verbal and needs assistance with bathing, feeding, and dressing. Connie learned to read the non-verbal signs when Farah needs water or if she’s too hot/cold.
The Years of Joys Outweigh the Challenges
Despite the daily challenges of caring for a dependent, adult child, “There are so many simple joys of having Farah,” Connie said. You learn to appreciate all the little things, even something as simple as a smile.
Connie’s other children are kinder, more forgiving, and accepting of those who are different, because of their relationship with Farah. Connie loves seeing her children interact with people with disabilities in their community.
Disabilities Bring Out the Best in Everyone
Connie’s extended family was supportive from the very beginning. Farah has always brought out the best in everyone. Even when the aunts, uncles, and cousins don’t regularly check in with each other, they always check in on how Farah is doing.
When Farah was younger, some of Connie’s friends would occasionally take care of Farah for a few hours at a time. A few of those friends ended up having a child with a disability. When their time came there was no hesitation to accept their own child’s diagnosis because they saw how Farah blessed her family’s life.
“They knew it was going to be a great opportunity for them and a wonderful possibility,” Connie said.
Advice: This Child Will Bring so Much Happiness into Your Life
“When I first found out about Farah…it was probably one of the darkest days of my life. But now that I look back on it, it was probably the best day,” Connie said. When a child is diagnosed with a disorder, most parents go through a grieving process. Connie was heartbroken at first because that was not the life she envisioned for Farah. She didn’t want her daughter to have the struggles that came with cerebral palsy – the seizures, cognitive impairments, and other related disabilities.
Once you accept your child’s diagnosis, you will realize how your life will be blessed. “You will grow more by taking care of this little child,” Connie said. Sometimes Connie wonders what Farah’s life would be like if she didn’t have cerebral palsy and her other disorders. “Then I realized that she’s not just here for me, she’s here for our community,” Connie said. When Farah turned 40, they had a big birthday party for her. Three hundred people showed up and each of them had been touched by Farah in some way. It was a marvelous and unexpected experience.