Meet the Hibbs Family
Disability is something my husband and I were familiar with before we started our own family. My husband’s youngest brother, Nathan, has Down Syndrome. Nathan is the reason I decided to become an Occupational Therapist. At the time, Chris and I did not know that God was going to use our own personal experiences with disability to prepare us for the journey of raising our own children.
Chris and I have three children: Emily (16), Caleb (12), and Luke (7). Emily broke us in as first time parents. She had reflux and severe colic. She did not like to be held and only slept if she was in a swing that moved horizontally. During my pregnancy with Emily, I was on bedrest for nine weeks and my doctor advised me not to have any more children after she was born.
Five years after Emily was born, Chris and I decided to become foster parents. Our first call for a placement was for a child who had been born addicted to opiates and was in the neonatal intensive care unit. We first met Caleb in the hospital when he was two weeks old. Caleb was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at six months old. At 11 months, Caleb was adopted and officially became a Hibbs. Caleb was globally developmentally delayed and labeled as failure to thrive. After four years of searching for answers about Caleb’s development, Caleb was diagnosed with Cabezas Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes intellectual disability and speech impairment.
Our biggest surprise in life was our youngest son, Luke. Luke taught me the valuable lesson that you should not call your husband at work to tell them you are pregnant. Luke kept the streak alive with difficult newborns. He only slept for 10-15 minute intervals and preferred to sleep while behind held. Luke had difficulty with feeding and also demonstrated global developmental delay. Luke was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Coordination Disorder at age 5.
Disability changed our family. The journey is a difficult one with twists and turns, mountains and valleys, and detours and roadblocks (and LOTS of therapy and doctors appointments.) But the journey also involves seeing the world through a lens that I would never have had an opportunity to experience. The journey brought a community around us that will forever impact our family. The journey brought Emily to pursue a career in special education. The journey ignited a flame and passion for the inclusion of all children in our schools and communities. Disability changed us for the better.