Special Blessings of Arizona is a support group for parents who have a child with a limb difference. We meet informally about four times per year. We meet for a Christmas Party, Easter party, Summer event and various events such as Disney on Ice or Circus events. We are here to provide a great network for children and parents. We want to let children and parents know they are not alone. Special Blessings has also become a resource for amputees seeking resources as well.
Special Blessings mission is to be a network, a support and a resource for parents and children. It is also a way for children with limb differences to meet other children with limb differences to see that they are not alone.
Adriane Grimaldi, who created Special Blessings, was born without a right hand, most likely was from Amniotic Banding Syndrome. The support group was created in October 2001 by bringing together two mothers who both had children born with limb differences around the same time of each other. Each mother had commented that they looked for a support group but could not find any in the area. They shared they had no one to talk to who could understand what they are going through. They were brought together and today, more parents and children have been brought together and Special Blessings continues to grow.
Special Blessings gathers informally about 3-4 times per year, usually at a park, parent’s home or at a special event. It is a great chance to meet others and share information. If you live in Arizona, email Special Blessings and we will put you on our mailing list. If you are a parent of a child with a limb difference, consider becoming a support partner or just a listening ear to a new mother or father that have had a new baby with a limb difference. They are going through many emotions and need your support.
Growing up as a child, my parents did not shield or shelter me. Yes they worried. They told me they were saddened, shocked, stunned when they learned at the hospital that I was born that I was born without a hand. When my father learned that I didn't have a hand, he paced the hospital floors worrying about what the future would hold for his new baby. He ended up at a bar near the hospital. When he retuned to the hospital, the nurses wanted to put mom and new baby (me) in a room by themselves but my father declined telling them they had nothing to hide. In today's society, well meaning people ask the new parent. "Is the baby healthy? Does she have all her fingers and toes?" Why does that constitute being healthy? My parents learned quite quickly I was going to find my own way of doing things. They let me discover on my own how to do something. I learned to tie shoelaces differently than my peers. As a child, I played violin and took piano lessons. People stared once in awhile and in junior high I had Michael from Las Vegas tease me about being the "one-armed bandit" (i.e. like a slot machine). Even today if people or children ask "What happened to your hand?" I tell them that is the way God made me.
I tell them all the things I can do. I can tie shoelaces, drive a stick shift, do cartwheels, type 45 and gloves and manicures are 50% off. If I ever get arrested and handcuffed, I can escape. You got to have humor in life!! As an adult, I haven't let being born with one hand stop me. I have jumped out of a perfectly good airplane at 13,000 feet, gone up in a P-51 Mustang, Red Baron Stearman Biplane, KC135- Refueling Tanker Plane, drove 60 laps around Phoenix International Raceway in Indy-sized car, been a pit crew member for the day at Slick 50 200 Indy Races, drove Lamborghini really fast, finished 4th as the top female finisher in Manzanita Dirt Car Race, certified fire journalist with the Phoenix Fire Department, professional pet sitter, Administrative Assistant, writer, snorkeler, photographer, volunteer, tour guide, mother, wife and mentor. Attitude is everything no matter if you have a limb difference or not. I learned how to do things differently. It may have taken me longer but I found a way to achieve. Children adapt. I had no idea what it was like to have a hand. I had no comparison. When I was about 9, my parents asked me if I wanted a prosthesis and I said no. I told them I would have to learn how to re-do everything all over again that I already knew how to do. Getting a prosthesis is a personal choice. Sometimes they do make a difference and others times they end up in the closet. Life is too short!