Sabina & Anatole

Hi all; I’m Jen, SAH mom to Sabina (age 5) Daisy (3.5), Anatole (2) and Agatha (10 months). My DH is Joe and we live in rural Belgium, WI.

Sabina is our eldest child, and was born missing her left arm below the elbow. This did come as a shock to us, but we’d read enough human interest stories on amputees to know the missing limb wouldn’t be a hindrance to her physically. By the time she was 2 months old it became apparent to us that she knew exactly exactly how to use her little arm and felt no frustration. We decided to ignore the conventional wisdom and did not have her fit with a prosthesis. Now she’s 5 years old, and we’ve never regretted our decision. Sabina has always been very dexterous, and by the time she was 2.5 years old she was able to change her little sister’s diaper and her own! Sabina now is very into crafts. She loves to color, paint, cut, glue, and has just learned to sew. She even threads her own needles. The above activities both baffle and bore her little sister Daisy, who has been known to look wistfully at her hands and say, “I don’t have a little arm. I just have hands.”

Even though Daisy has two hands and Sabina has one, there is no question that Sabina is far more dexterous and agile than Daisy. When Daisy was born I had thought that perhaps she’d be able to help Sabina with activities that require two hands. However, we still haven’t encountered such an activity.

Anatole came to us from Korea when he was 5 months old. Though we’d expressed a preference for a child with a missing limb, we never thought we’d find one missing the exact same arm in the exact same place! Initially Sabina was worried because Anatole does not have a “pointer” (an extra inch of one of the bones of his arm–Sabina has one and finds it most useful), but this hasn’t slowed him down at all. His favorite activity is eating, and he uses his little arm to cram food in. Because of his missing arm, Anatole was considered a “special needs” adoption. We felt a bit guilty accepting the special needs break in fees, because of course we knew he’d never be hindered in any way.

Agatha is our youngest, and is breaking everyone else’s record in learning to walk and stand alone. She’s got two hands like her sister Daisy, but at this point does not know or care.

When Sabina was born, our biggest worry was that her missing arm would hinder her socially. There have been times when another child (or grown-up!) was frightened by her missing limb, but these incidents have been few and far between. For the most part, people notice, are briefly taken aback, and then move on. When she was very young each outing that took us out of the house was difficult for me, because of my anticipation of the reactions of others. To those of you who’ve just had a baby with a limb difference, I promise you: this part gets easier and easier!