All of us fail to conform from time to time. That’s a strength, and I like to write about it.
I am a parent to a nonconforming child (two of them, actually). I use the term “nonconforming” descriptively here, not judgmentally. Sam is nonconforming because she doesn’t like the things that most of her peers do. She likes a lot of things girls typically do, including princesses and dolls. She likes to design dresses. She loves Lady Gaga. She’s passionate about lifeguards, school buses and mermaids. She’s uninterested in sports, and when she was living as a boy (she’s transgender), kids assumed she was gay.
My partner and his ex adopted Sam several years ago. Sam came to them when she was five. I’ve been part of the family since 2011. Sam experienced serious abuse prior to being placed in the foster care system, and she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and gender dysphoria. She’s now 18, and out of high school. We’ll have to wait and see what’s next.
We thought we were finished with parenting, and adamantly insisted that we would not parent another child. Then Jackson came along. He’s nine. We fell in love with him, and now he’s ours, or he’s about to be. He doesn’t conform, either. He has ADHD, PTSD, dyslexia, and other diagnoses. He’s funny and creative and really smart. As I write these words, he’s been part of our family for two months. We’re exhausted, sometimes stressed, very busy, and totally in love.