Earlier this morning, I walked Adina over to our first day of Shutaf Summer Camp at the Kiryat Moriah campus – a short 10 minute walk from our house. I reminded myself that all the hard work I put in to make Shutaf a reality for Adina and other kids with special needs – it’s all worth it when I see Adina’s smile when she joins the beautiful big circle of 60 children and teens, 20 staffers and Deb in the middle, starting off the day.
Shutaf is an integral, positive part of Adina’s life. At Shutaf she gets the attention and support she needs when she is overwhelmed with the social demands of being in a group. Most importantly she is accepted and loved for who she is, just the way she is.
When I returned home, I opened the mailbox to find an envelope in Adina’s name. I knew it was her tsav giyus rishon (first army recruitment order). I was expecting it to arrive soon, as her 17th birthday approaches, but I wasn’t prepared for how it would completely throw me. I feel completely bereft.
Having trained myself to only focus on what she CAN do, this envelope suddenly reminded me of everything she can’t and won’t do or be. It took me right back to square one – 16 years ago – when we got her diagnosis of mosaic Down syndrome.
That envelope brought all my concerns and fears for Adina’s future to the surface. I know how capable she is and how loving and kind she is, but I also know that the world turns very quickly and doesn’t stop for people who need another minute to catch up. How will she fit in?
For my part, I will continue to believe in her. We may yet see her in IDF uniform as a volunteer. Maybe she’ll do some other form of national service. Whatever she does, she has my endless love and highest respect.
By Miriam Avraham, Shutaf Co-Founder