After meeting the little girl in the blue dress I stepped outside and ran into Laura and her baby boy. I watched for sometime as he crawled happily about the room, exploring the ground with his mother close behind. His mom and I shared brief pleasantries but what was most clear is just how very loved is her son. He was shy and she coaxed him into a smile, hugging him close.
I don't get to see babies with albinism. The last baby with albinism I knew was myself, not many memories to tap into there. Seeing them made my heart flutter but if I'm honest, most babies make my heart flutter.
At one of our evening meet and greets I was fortunate to meet the adoptive parents of another baby with albinism. Baby A is a happy, healthy, beautiful, shy girl, who clutched her mommy's leg with apprehension, as I cooed over her elated. She is very loved by her entire family, her older brother included. He is protective and guiding as good big brothers tend to do even though he's not that much older than she.
Adoption is something very very close to my heart. It is something that I have been passionate about since I was a little girl and learned of its existence. This passion has only grown as I have and as I conducted investigations into my own heritage. Meeting this happy family gave me an opportunity not only to ask questions I've always had about the process but to witness first hand the beauty of a complete family made up of people who have love to give and a child who wants to be loved.
I know that the bonds of love are much bigger than blood connection. Baby A's momma is her mummy and will always be her mummy. The love between them is potent and cannot be missed.
We talked about her motivations for coming to the conference which were mainly focused around gathering information to ensure they can provide their daughter with all the help she needs as she grows into a thriving and supported young girl.
Kurtis is a father of a child with albinism and fellow spoken word poet. It was so good to meet him! Kurtis was a chief male figure head in many of our sessions, representing the male voice and showing us what it is like not to be a mother but the father of a child with albinism.
He was frank about to toughness and veracity with which a parent may be required to teach their child to stand up for themselves. He shared with us his struggles with understanding that something what may initially seem as disrespect could very well be the side effects of a personal issue faced by the child with a visual impairment.
One of his examples was being called into school by the principal because his son was called in for being disrespectful by way of refusing to make eye contact, even while being disciplined. Kurtis explained to us that it had taken even him a while to understand that his son was not being disrespectful but was not keeping eye contact likely due to his nystagmus. He shared with us how it took a while for him to come to terms with this reality and underscored the importance of parents being ready to present and defend a reality they may be privy to before the rest of the world simply because they are parents. Kurtis was ready to stand up for his child because he took the time to understand his child, to see that his son saw the world differently but that didn't make him less than important or less deserving of justice than other students. He helped us underscore the importance of toughness and the right to equal treatment and understanding by the parent of a child with a visual impairment. It was a great asset to have him there with his boldness of truth.
All children are young people with talents and the possibility of adding to the world. It is the responsibility of the adults charged with taking care of the world to see this possibility alive in the helpless and the young and nurture it into greatness or tragedy... Children with albinism are no different. Attending the NOAH conference did not prove this to me; it enforced it.
My trip to the NOAH Conference 2016 was made possible by sponsorship from: The Writers Association of Grenada, Kallalou Designs, (aren't her earrings darling?) The Office of the Prime Minister and various good Samaritans who insist upon not being named, a further extension of their extreme kindness!. THANK YOU SO MUCH!