As I read the Almudena story for the course the Nature of Human Beings it took me way down memory lane. I was back in my clinical rotation in the paediatrics unit. In this unit, we treated children with various physical and developmental disabilities. I cannot remember how the conversation started, but my coursemate and I asked our clinical lead what he would do if, at the birth of his child, he noticed the child had a disability. He responded, “I would leave the child in the hospital”. I was shocked to hear that but somewhere deep inside me I kind of understood where he was coming from although I did not voice it out, some things are better left unsaid.
Taking care of a child with a disability is no easy feat and I have seen it up close and personal. It is gruelling on the parents physically, emotionally and financially. Even worse in situations where resources are scarce. The weight is especially borne by the mothers who most times have to give up their jobs to dedicate themselves fully to the child. Sometimes even siblings feel the effect as attention is diverted from them to the child that supposedly needs it more.
Almudena’s parents can be described as having/living a fulfilled life – health, work, joy, kids and so on – however, after reviewing their lives they realized that they needed more. They committed to doing something good for humanity, to pursue a cause bigger than them. Her parents had the freedom of adopting any child, but they chose Almudena regardless of her physical impairment. They neither thought less of her nor treated her lowly. They understood that ‘accidents of life’ should not determine the way we treat people, everyone deserves love.
Through this act of charity, they were able to see life differently, improve on some virtues (patience, generosity, understanding, love) and become even better people. This is a classic example of how experiencing the right emotions can produce a lasting behavioural change.
God created us in different forms and shapes. What we perceive as a disadvantage in others might be an advantage like in Almudena’s.
After reading the story, I admired what they did for Almudena and wished that more people would love in this way and give themselves for something greater. Myself included.