I adopted my son with the knowledge that he had physical challenges. Delmace has spinal cord atrophy and lower extremity paraparesis. He has never walked, and is unable to totally straighten his legs – but this has never slowed him down!
Delmace is an active and outgoing little boy. He is a first grade student in Boston Public Schools. He is the only student in his school who is in a wheelchair. To the kids in his class, and friends in our neighborhood, he is just another kid. I don’t think they give his wheelchair much of a second thought because Delmace keeps up with them pretty well. Even though he can’t walk, he crawls, scoots, climbs, frog hops, and even walks on his hands to get around. He hates being told he can’t do stuff, and will usually figure out a way to prove people wrong.
Delmace is also a total sports fanatic. He loves all types of competitive sports. He loves to watch sports, he loves to play sports, and he loves to talk about sports. Delmace has participated in organized soccer, baseball, basketball, and tennis programs. He is able to swim independently, and in the summers he looks forward to spending time on his uncle’s boat. He is also really into sled hockey, and recently tried cross-country skiing for the first time. Delmace has also starting getting into WCMX – and loves it already!
Delmace also enjoys music and the arts. He has taken dance classes, African drumming, and chorus in his after school program. He plays the violin, and is part of an orchestra program for kids. The place where he does violin and orchestra has been a wonderful connection for both him and I. It is a program that targets Boston’s large Haitian community – so most of the kids in the program, as well as many of the teachers, are of Haitian background.
Delmace is also caring and compassionate and has not forgotten his first home and “family”. Haiti is a topic of daily conversation in our house. He talks about his friends there all the time, and wonders why they can’t have the same opportunities that he has. Two years ago, I took Delmace back to Haiti for the first time. We spent 5 weeks staying at the home where he had lived. Before that trip, I had worried about how he would view Haiti after being exposed to everything in the US – but it really didn’t matter to him. He was just so excited to see his old friends and caretakers, and be able to spend time with them. We went back again last summer, for the whole month of July – and we will spend 5 weeks there again this summer.
One more thing about Delmace… For the past 2 years, when he has celebrated his birthday in the spring, he has asked that kids attending his party not bring him toys or other things for himself. Instead, he’s asked for gift cards so he can buy toys and gifts to bring to all the kids at the home where he used to live – because he knows they don’t have a lot, and that he is very lucky. He has already said he wants to do that again this spring as well. That’s the kind of kid he is…
Delmace was SO excited when he learned he’d be getting a pair of Peach’s Neet Feet shoes. He had a hard time narrowing down ideas of all the things he would have liked on the shoes, but finally decided what was most important to him right now were his “super heroes” – specifically Ironman and Bumblebee, the Transformer. Heroes and having “super powers” are favorite topics of discussion for him.
When the day came for his shoes to get delivered, we were both expecting to meet Susan Renee (our shoe fairy) and just pick up his shoes. We were both blown away when she showed up with, not only the incredible shoes, but also an awesome blanket (which he now sleeps with every night), a great super hero cape, a pillowcase for him to color, AND even a new book to read! She took the time to hang out with us at the park, talking, playing with Delmace, taking photos of him, and becoming a new friend. That’s what so great about these shoes – not only are they totally cool and made just for Delmace, but they come with connections and the power to make new friends – Madison (who first dreamed this dream), Susan (who delivered D’s shoes), Angela (who designed and painted them), and Kumaka and his family (who sponsored them). The shoes make Delmace feel special. They make him feel strong, like a super hero – and they make him feel like he has the power to help and inspire other kids like him.
– Delmace’s Mom, Cathy