I was born in Kolkata, India. I came to the U.S. when I was nine months old on June 29, 2000, which means that today marks 23 years since I arrived here to be a part of my family. Massachusetts will always be my home. I grew up here, and it’s the only home I’ve ever known. My family is the only one I’ve ever known.
Both of my moms have always been there for me. They were the ones who took me to St. Louis for my Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy in 2005, outpatient PT appointments, doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments, and Children’s Hospital Boston.
My life in the United States hasn’t been without its hard times. Overall, I have had an incredible life here in the United States. I’ve been blessed to have a fantastic family. I have been surrounded by loving people my whole life. My aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins have always been there for me.
My moms were my biggest advocate growing up as well. They called insurance companies, talked to doctors, and wrote letters. As a child, I was grateful that I didn’t have to do that by myself. As a disabled person, it is very overwhelming to advocate for yourself.
In between medical appointments, my moms packed me lunches, helped me with my homework, cooked dinners, drove me to school, read me books, and always made sure I knew I was loved. I never doubted that both of them loved me. Because I was adopted, I have had the pleasure of being an older sister for the past 19 years too.
I had a childhood that I look back on with fondness and joy. Despite my challenges, I remember being very happy growing up. Some of my most cherished memories are of my parents reading books like Blueberries for Sal, Magic Tree House, and Make Way for Ducklings to me before bed.
My education was and still is a big part of my life. I always loved school when I was growing up. I looked forward to learning every day. I was fortunate to have a wonderful paraprofessional whom I worked with for a decade, along with many excellent teachers and therapists.
Outside of the classroom, I have worked with amazing doctors, therapists, and PCAs. My PCA provides around-the-clock care. He’s always there for me when I need his help. My doctors and therapists help me live with less pain. They make it possible for me to continue walking, and they are excellent advocates for me as well.
My friends have always been accepting of my disabilities. I’m never seen as a burden, extra work, or someone to be pitied. I’m just a friend. I am grateful to have them all in my life.
To all of the people who have loved, cared for, and supported me these past 23 years: I want to say thank you for being a part of my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without every single one of you.