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When My Daughter With Cerebral Palsy Told Me, ‘I Wanna Dance’

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Right after we got married, everyone assumed we would just start magically having babies. Some people even asked when we would have children at our June wedding. After being asked about it for the fifth time, I just started answering, “I think March,” which shocked my groom. It was hysterical.

Even as a newlywed, my friends would send me different “mom-daughter” YouTube videos with singing or dancing. They would say, “This is so going to be you,” which excited me to the core, and I hoped one day it would be.

Following our one-year wedding anniversary, we were told having biological children naturally would be “difficult and unlikely” for us. Infertility can be so painful and isolating. I dreamed of my kids and wanted a baby so badly.

Our first big decision to grow our family was choosing a domestic adoption of a newborn. We were told how difficult it could be and how long we would have to wait. (A theme I didn’t expect to encompass my life.) It didn’t discourage us. We trusted our gut and had a strong feeling it was what we were meant to do.

We were matched with an expectant mother within the first three months. A baby girl. We were blessed.

When our daughter arrived nine weeks early, we were excited and scared. She was 3.9 pounds of angelic perfection. In her first few days of life, we were met with a neurosurgeon who discussed her situation and development with us. Due to her prematurity, she suffered bilateral intraventricular hemorrhages. We were told she could have severe delays and may never walk. It was devastating.

I remember crying to my mom, “What if I have a child who can’t walk?” They encouraged us to do our own research on her diagnosis. We learned again that it could be difficult and would have a long wait to discover what exactly our little angel would be capable of. There’s that “difficult and wait” phrase again.

Then last week, my almost 3-year-old daughter Finley turned to me and said, “I wanna dance.” Lately she’s been obsessed with watching this little girl named Heaven dance. She found her on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” YouTube channel. I thought to myself, “Why can’t she watch herself dance on YouTube? Is it ridiculous of me to think this? What’s stopping us?”

Then she insisted, “I wanna stand up and dance.” She had to tell me that because she’s physically incapable of standing up herself because of her cerebral palsy. Every day she’s making improvements towards independence. She has already surpassed the hypothetical prognosis given to her in the NICU. She’s full of life, and her spirit is contagious.

Please watch our real-life dance video below. You’ll notice Finley beaming as she watches herself dance and occasionally me, too, because I can’t believe I’m finally getting to make one of these videos! My friends were right. It is so me!

Follow this journey on The Waiting Room.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing you want to make sure the special needs mom in your life knows? If you are the special needs mom, challenge a loved one to respond to this! If you’d like to participate, please check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 16, 2016
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