Meet the Gold Medalist
Knowing my sister had Spina Bifida did not stop my parents from adopting her. A social worker had informed them of her condition. They thought they were ready.
When my Mom took her to the hospital for the first time, Dr. Meyer looked at my sister who was sitting there, then at my Mom, "Mam, you are absolutely crazy for adopting this little girl." My Mom's jaw dropped as he dived into the medical concerns of Spina Bifida without realizing her shock. He continued this conversation, painting a very bleak existence for my sister.
I asked my Mom how she felt when she heard all of this.
"I felt terrible a doctor would say such a thing in front of a child but I was also a bit scared. I wondered if I had just signed away my freedom. Then I was mad, and I decided then and there...I'll show you, Dr. Meyer."
This summer a girlfriend of mine met my sister. We had a blast together, and a few weeks ago over a glass of wine, she blew me away with a question. "Are you sure your sister is as handicapped as you think?" I looked at her strangely, "What do you mean?"
"Well," she sighed, "I know she has Spina Bifida, but otherwise she is clever, and you don't notice a thing."
I was thrilled she said this. My Mom has always preached, "You can't let other people define your life." Dr. Meyers wanted to do just that. My Mom and my sister didn't listen; they chose not to accept his definition and created their own. Of course, there were fights with the school board, operations, and challenges but she exceeded everyone's expectations, and I couldn't be prouder.
I tend towards thinking 'I'll show you' when someone says 'you can't.' My sister and my Mom set the example and made me a fighter.
There she was this summer, traveling Europe not letting anyone tell her what she could do. For me, she is a gold medalist in exceeding expectations. Learn from her and don't let anyone define your life for you.
—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife