I am the proud mother of two daughters. Our girls are full siblings who we adopted when they were just cute toddlers. Nearly two years apart in age, they were always holding hands.

Our eldest daughter, S, has a physical and neurological disability. It has been intense and emotional for us all at times, but we are really a regular, happy family.

S was born with a rare physical disability called arthrogryposis, which causes permanently fixed joints. Unable to bend her arms and with limited movement in her wrists and fingers, she could also not lift her arms very high.

So far, S has had eight operations to help improve her independence and quality of life and she has elected to have more. After her first operation, I laid next to her on the recovery bed as she awoke from the anaesthetic. She was so happy and full of hope. As she laid there, with her “new bendy arm” in a cast, she stroked her long hair and beamed at me. I couldn’t hold back my emotions. It was the first time she had ever touched her own hair and a precious moment we shared.

Through S, her friends and their families, I have become more understanding of people’s differences. I find the quirks in her nature interesting and she makes me laugh. I am constantly amazed at how she finds coping mechanisms to deal with obstacles. She is a chatterbox, very positive and full of life.  She is incredibly brave – both children are. She often annoys her little sister, but that is her job as a sibling.

One day, our eldest daughter will be an excellent employee. She is organized, loyal, naturally observant and mindful. She often takes people under her wing. Above all, she is determined and resilient. She has had to be.

S goes to an amazing special needs school “committed to the development and potential of all.” The school even employs someone to find a career path for the school leavers. He has connections with local organizations that understand and utilize the unique skills that these individuals bring.

In the past, I have wondered if being the mother and caretaker of a disabled child would hinder employer perceptions of my ability to do my job. However, our personal experiences make us stronger, wiser and better equipped to deal with challenges.

Fortunately, I work for an organization that cares about diversity and inclusion (with actions, not just words.)

Blue Yonder’s tagline is ”Fulfill your Potential.”  

We need more of this.