Inside the Lines
From the time I learned how to write, I’ve been taught to stay inside the margins. There were twin pink vertical lines reminding all of us students to stay within the safe range. “Be neat,” they whispered. “Don’t cross those lines.” “Keep inside the margins like a good girl,” they warned. “Don’t go too far—it gets messy.” I complied. I was a neat-freak, a rule follower, after all, and I didn’t want to upset my teachers.
Touching the Lines
Adopting my son, Sam, who has Down syndrome, took me past those pink lines. After two challenging post-partum experiences, I knew I could not birth any more children. Well-meaning people told me that having one girl and one boy made us a ‘million dollar family’, a goal my husband and I had never pursued. A few years passed after that comment, we decided it was time to add more kiddos to our family. Through prayer, finding an adoption agency, and registering with the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network, we were finally matched with our Sam.
Beyond the Lines
Turns out, the margins are beautiful. They are bursting with life and amazing stories of humanity that I never knew were written. Just past those pink borders is a resilient community of people who know what it feels like to be avoided, forgotten, and rejected. Parenting Sam—and getting to know others with different abilities--have helped to lead me past the boundaries to a place I may never have ventured otherwise.
Erasing the Lines
Then, I discovered yoocan, a positive, hopeful voice for those in the margins. Even better, they let the marginalized speak for themselves by giving them an online platform to share their unique stories. In creating space for people with disabilities, they boldly, enthusiastically declare value in a population our culture has tried so hard to silence. With their vision and willingness to celebrate those with different abilities, yoocan has taken an eraser to those margins, reminding all of us that there are gifts and skills and purpose beyond the lines. yoocan’s mission gives me hope that it is possible to live in a world without margins—that our lives are more rich, more diverse, and more rewarding when we move the barriers that keep us from connecting and we declare, "Your life matters. Look what you can do! Let's learn together."
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