A man with disabilities is in a wheelchair. Next to him are his wife and young adult children. They are standing outside and smiling.This Father’s Day, we’re celebrating Mike, a dad whose unconditional love and devotion are redefining society’s views on parenthood. Born with cerebral palsy, Mike has navigated life from a wheelchair, facing prejudices that often wrongly question the ability of those with disabilities to raise children.

Mike is the proud dad to four children, ages 16, 14, 12, and 10. “I always had a desire to be married and have four children,” Mike shares. That dream was nearly derailed by a devastating miscarriage early in his marriage to wife Amanda. “We wondered if we were ever going to be parents again. Then, 11 months later, it happened! My wife became pregnant with our son. We were beyond excited, but scared. On our 3rd wedding anniversary, Titus was born.” Over the next seven years, they welcomed another son and two daughters into their loving family.For Mike, fatherhood has been the ultimate blessing and responsibility. “The best part is having your child look at you with a big smile and say, ‘I love you,’” he beams. He cherishes witnessing each childhood milestone, like their first bike ride without training wheels. Parenthood has taught him that it’s “the most rewarding and challenging responsibility God will give you.”

As a dad with a disability, Mike has pioneered unique parenting approaches to nurture his kids’ development. “I am unable to physically model many things, so I have to be very thorough with instructions,” he explains. He’s also had to adapt to a largely inaccessible world, amplifying creative problem-solving and finding “unconventional ways” to impart life skills.

Adaptations like an integrated home intercom system have enhanced communication across their household. His inability to drive often causes logistical hurdles in getting his busy family where they need to be. “Sometimes this limits how many activities our children can be involved in,” Mike adds.

His disability has no impact on his ability to empower his children’s pursuit of interests and passions, from sports to church activities. He also teaches life skills and moral values to youth as a deacon and youth counselor at his church and a coach for Junior Church. His ultimate advice to other parents with disabilities? “God chose you to raise this child – you can do it! Keep working at it and don’t give up.” His oldest is already planning for his future, with his sights set on graphics design or counseling.

Of course, busting stigmas has been part of the journey, too. “People assume because we have a disability, we cannot be parents,” Mike shares. He’s not alone—many people with disabilities struggle with the perception that they are or would be inadequate parents. But Mike and other parents with disabilities know that their kids benefit immensely from the experience, including learning resilience, innovation, self-advocacy, and compassion for others.

Mike’s fatherhood story reminds us that a disabled parent’s devotion and competence knows no limits. This Father’s Day, we honor dads with disabilities and those who want to become parents—because people with disabilities have the same dreams as everyone else. As Mike puts it, “Our approach may be different, but the desire is the same.”

 

The post A Father’s Love Knows No Limits appeared first on The Arc.

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