Random header image... Refresh for more!

The Great Interview Experiment

When I saw Heather’s name, my first (semi-internal) words were “fuck me.” I was this close–THIS CLOSE–to getting matched with Neil himself in the Great Interview Experiment.  After I had gleefully typed in the first comment (not knowing that somewhere out there, Heather was doing the same thing), immediately flooded with a myriad of questions to ask the great Citizen of the Month, I hit publish and noticed another name pop up above mine.


But I truly believe that kismet works in amazing ways because while I wasn’t matched with the person I initially thought I wanted, I was matched with the perfect blog for me–a fascinating and important blog that I had not found prior to this month about parenting after adoption and special needs kids.

See, kismet.

I sat down and started reading Heather’s blog from back to front, since the archives aren’t accessible to the reader.  And there is a point to that, as you will read below.  It’s a moving story; it’s an important story; it is one that you should read because you will walk away laughing and crying and thinking and searching.  You will examine what you think you know about parenting a special needs child and see that information turned on its head.  You will see love and frustration and joy and sadness–in other words; it is life.  Messy and wonderful.

I got to ask Heather five questions and here are her answers.

You state that you began your blog to keep friends and family up to date on Jack’s adoption, but in the end, the blog has become a therapeutic site for you.  And if I can extend that, I think it’s also a really important site for people to read in order to understand what it is like to parent a special needs child.  If everyone who encountered your blog could magically walk away absorbing a single message contained in one sentence, what would that be?

In a very simplistic way—don’t judge a book by its cover.

I’ve noticed that your blog doesn’t contain a lot of dates–only the month is hinted in the url.  Is there a certain time of day you tend to write and post?  Why?  Is there a reason (other than, hey, I didn’t think of that) that you left the dates off of the posts and didn’t archive them beyond tags?  Personally, I think that the effect is that the posts are timeless.

Timeless is so….timeless. You know, the life we live is not measured in days or hours or minutes…having a special needs child is a marathon. You aren’t told, “you have this child for 18 years, and then you send them off to college…”  This is a life-altering experience…not easily measured in dates. This is the rest of our lives.  I usually write when Jack is either feeding or when he’s asleep!

I love the post you wrote back in October about the special needs marriage–an extension of having a special needs child that I think people never stop to consider.  Can you tell me a few ways you guys beat those 85% odds and keep it together?

Prayer. Hope. Desire. When we married, we promised that no one and nothing would come between us. Having a special needs child does not, in any way, change that. We may not be able to go out on “dates” like other couples. However, we find ways to spend time together—whether that be watching a movie when the kids go to bed, or talking at 3 in the morning when we’re changing tube feeding bed sheets….you have to make time to remember that you married for love for each other…not necessarily for the love you have for the children. You can never forget where the love began.

How do you think your background as a nurse influences what you choose to write about?  How do you balance out the multiple lens you could bring to your world: nurse, mother, storyteller/writer?

That is so hard! For so long, I felt like a failure as a mom being a nurse….and then, Jack came along. It was like the heavens opened up and showed me that G-d had a reason for the whole thing. I try very hard not to bring my professional life to my personal world…it is much harder doing the opposite. Honestly, I think this was all very orchestrated…and I am very thankful. There are times when I can stand back and put on my “nurse”  hat, and take on the dragons….where other mothers may falter. It’s all about coping…

If it were up to me, I’d have everyone in the world read the Rules of Special Needs Parenting, but what is your favourite post that you’ve written?

This is my favorite post.  My own mom made me laugh so many times…she has a really funny sense of humor, but also is super mushy. I loved the fact that I could make her laugh and relive some of my childhood! Sometimes it’s really good for me to write about things that aren’t pertinent to my life at that moment. My mom gave me that break!

Thank you, Heather, so much, for giving us a peek into your world.  I hope everyone heads over to start reading your Incredible Journey.


1 battynurse { 11.26.09 at 11:46 pm }

Ok so since I’m starting at the top of my reader and working down I don’t know what this is really about but it sounds interesting.
I still can’t keep up with you or kristin though. I was close the other day. Not any more.

2 Barb { 11.27.09 at 12:58 am }

Great interview!

3 Half of a Duo, Raising a Duo { 11.27.09 at 5:57 am }

I’ve been parenting my sister Tracey since I was born, basically. Heather, you rock. What an honor to read this. Tracey was born via forceps, stuck in the birth canal, and stroked out. She is physically and mentally impaired due to birth trauma. We left everything behind in DC and moved to MA for her sake.

As she gets older please get her out in the world and surround her with a village. My mother cloistered her, and she is shunned by people due to being impaired. It is a travesty and a tragedy of unending pain for me. And her, b/c she is high functioning and unfortunately b/c of that, she is very aware of the stigma and refuses to associate with anyone remotely h/c.

Hugs, honey,

Here’s a pic of my sis and me.


4 Heather { 11.27.09 at 5:09 pm }

Thanks—to y’all! This has been so fun for me, and such an amazing experience. Kismet…truly!


5 Jamie { 11.29.09 at 10:17 pm }

Thanks for introducing me to yet another great blogger.

6 Bea { 12.02.09 at 6:42 am }

Great blog, great interview, great idea.


(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author