Born Just Right We are all born just right! Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:33:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Our “limb differences aren’t scary” campaign Tue, 07 Oct 2014 13:40:57 +0000

A little later this month, I plan to work with a collection of bloggers who are helping spread the word that limb differences aren’t scary. Why not tie our positive focus on limb differences leading up to Halloween? I’m hoping this is a chance to raise more awareness about Camp No Limits by giving everyone a chance to donate at least $5 to Camp No Limits to win one of more than 15 type of raffle items.

Camp No Limits is the limb difference family camp we’ve attended every year since Jordan was three. She loves it and we love it. The whole family gets support and knowledge about the limb difference world.


Hands in for camp!

Check out this raffle awesomeness. There are many wonderful people and organizations donating cool stuff:

Before I share this with everyone else in the blogosphere, you get the first chance to donate to Camp No Limits and get your name into the raffle! All it takes is to donate at least $5. You get an additional raffle entry for every additional $5 you donate. If you donate more than $50, just add it up and enter the raffle again at another pay level. (For example, if you donate $100, put your name in under the $50 level along with the $25, $15, and $10)

How do you do it?
STEP 1: Go to Born Just Right’s Camp No Limits 2015 Fundraiser
STEP 2: Donate to camp
STEP 3: Return to this page and fill out your information this raffle box
STEP 4: Wait for Halloween and the big raffle drawing

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Thank you for joining in on this fundraiser. This is the first time I’ve taken a raffle experience online, I’m excited to see us spreading the word about camp and how limb differences aren’t scary. Differences help teach us all how our global view of “perfect” is wrong. Knowing we can all go about our lives in different ways and still succeed is a pretty awesome lesson to learn.


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Trying to separate bragging from pride Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:01:02 +0000


Jordan has met famous people before. Like last year, when she had a chance to talk to double amputee model and athlete, Aimee Mullins.

“I’m famous,” Jordan bragged to a stranger earlier this week.

It’s the first time I’ve ever seen her brag about Born Just Right. I offered context to the stranger about how we have a website that helps tell stories about differences and how they can be awesome. But it all made me sad. Am I doing this wrong? Should I shut this website down?

Born Just Right is a wonderful place for us, but I never wanted it to be the source of bragging for my children. I wanted it to be a place of support and pride. But bragging? No, I don’t want that.

So I’m stumped.

I love the opportunities we have with this website and hang in there… And yes, Jordan has met famous people. (Like that one time when she had a private moment with Aimee Mullins.) I have a big raffle I plan to launch right here on this website and possibly on other blogs to encourage our amazing Camp No Limits fundraiser.

I tried to prevent the bragging. Jordan helps us fundraise for camp, she speaks to college students with me, we talk a lot about the impact she can make with our positive outlook and effort she puts into her life. Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I’m not.

Things have been a little quiet here after a week of travel and a week to catch up. But don’t worry. I have things to share and stories to be told. But I’m also trying to see if we need to refocus so Jordan can focus on the important stuff. Not the glory.

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I shared my heart and you are making a difference Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:00:31 +0000


Jordan is so content at Camp No Limits. She loved showing off her helper arms.

It takes $500 to send one child to Camp No Limits. It’s one of the most supportive and special camps I know that supports the full family in the world of limb differences. It’s become the focus of our love and fundraising for many years. It’s a place where Jordan feels loved, trusted and she’s learning to mentor other kids. She’s at peace there.

A week and a half ago, I wrote from the heart about how I feel about staring and it’s opened an incredible number of conversations with people I know and don’t know. The input has been stunningly supportive. So many of us understand the struggle that comes from being different or having a loved one with a difference. So many of us understand that we all need to open up conversations to talk about staring, talk about how we are all different, and talk about how we can all be more caring.

It’s a bit overwhelming to me.

While I was out of town on work travel for the last eight days, my post on staring was republished in my town’s news website. I don’t even know if it was printed in the paper version. But I know I’ve had another round of kindness come my way. In the last 12 hours, that kindness has gone beyond words and it’s made a difference for Camp No Limits. In the last 12 hours, THREE kids will now be able to attend camp thanks to two very large donations. THREE KIDS. I’m so honored. And of course, this is just the beginning of our fundraising efforts for 2015. It’s very exciting.

I shared my heart and I feel like I can also say it’s helping make a difference. And that’s because of you. You are sharing these posts. You are donating to camp. You are talking to your kids and telling them that we can all change for the better.

Thank you.

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The 3D printing revolution wants to meet you Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:30:53 +0000

Jordan got to see how an e-NABLE hand works during Camp No Limits

There’s a one-of-a-kind event happening later this month and it kind of kills me that I am going to miss it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go! e-NABLE is holding a one-day conference bringing 3D printing experts together with prosthetic experts… and maybe even you! The volunteer-based organization is making waves all across the country by creating inexpensive and creative hands and arms for limb different kids and adults.

For the first time (the group is a little more than a year old), e-NABLE is holding a one-day conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. The goal is to bring 3D printers together with prosthetists. How cool is that? The engineering of building custom-made 3D printed products is happening, but there may be even more knowledge that can be added into the designs from years of work from traditional prosthetics. I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

Families of children with limb differences and adults with limb differences are welcome to attend the event for free. Veterans are also free. Tickets for students and medical students are $15. The cost to attend goes up to $50 for medical professionals and the general public. That’s a pretty great deal. I know of limb difference families and adults planning to attend… But we have family in town that weekend so Born Just Right won’t be able to attend. You can click here to snag tickets.

There are a few designs for below elbow prosthetics, many for hand differences and 3D printer arms designed for above elbow amputees are getting better designs. I can’t wait to see what will come from this meeting. So many people committed to using this awesome technology for good. I can’t only imagine what will happen after this event. You can find all of the details about Prosthetists Meet Printers online!

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Redefining staring and rude staring Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:30:13 +0000

I think this counts as an example of rude staring.

Last week we launched an awesome conversation about putting an end to staring. The one thing that came up many different time is the varying comfort people have to ask questions about a difference and the varying comfort people feel when they are asked questions.

I think we might need to first redefine staring. There really are two kinds. There’s passive staring from afar that does not bother a person who is 100 percent cool with his or her difference. I’m helping Jordan reach this phase. A person with a difference doesn’t look for passive stares so it doesn’t bother him or her. Passive staring is natural. It just is a moment when someone who hasn’t seen a physical difference has a chance to learn. Watching from afar, a person can learn how a difference doesn’t stop anyone from living life. I don’t think we ever want to tell someone to look away and ignore the fact they’ve discovered a unicorn. The trick is how that staring person reacts next: Point and whisper (or pull your child away in fear or embarrassment) or smile and say hello and maybe even ask questions when the situation seems welcoming to questions.

Rude staring is when a person moves from the opportunity of saying hello and instead chooses to point and whisper or rudely swarm or rudely confront a person with a difference. Some Born Just Right readers share moments when they were confronted by people (children and adults) saying things like, “What’s wrong with you?” I have seen children swarm around Jordan and just stare or talk to themselves as if Jordan is on display when all she wants to do is play. I have heard children yell out “ewww” and “that’s gross.” Some of these reactions come directly from parents who have hushed them from the passive staring stage and never taught them that being different is actually okay.

That’s why I would love to change the way we teach our kids about staring and learning about differences. Jordan and even many adults who I have talked to who live with differences would MUCH rather you take the passive staring and move on or turn it into a chance to introduce yourself and ask a polite question. It’s so much better than a whispering/pointing/”I am embarrassed to be around you” situation.

What’s even cooler about this conversation? It’s given my friends a chance to talk about how we talk about differences with our kids and even with each other. Have you tried talking about it with other families or peers? It’s so cool to watch adults rethink how we handle ourselves around people who are different. (Have you noticed there are a lot of great people out there who don’t fit the typical mold? Isn’t that cool?)

The one discussion that came up on Born Just Right’s Facebook page and during conversations with my friends is how do we transition from the passive staring into a chance to politely say hello and maybe ask a question instead of pulling your child away for staring. How do you take a teachable moment about staring so our kids can learn differences are just that: different. But they are also a chance to understand that people who look different are unicorns. And unicorns are cool. How do you talk about staring and helping a child learn about differences? I’d love to hear from you.

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Using a t-shirt to stop the staring Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:25:17 +0000

Last week’s dance class was rough. There were two hip hop classmates who wouldn’t stop staring at Jordan and she didn’t feel up to confronting the kids. I got a bit saucy about staring on this blog… And it opened up some great conversations. But while us grown ups work on refining how we raise our kids to learn and grow around differences, Jordan has to navigate reality. So this week… She did something a little different for dance class.

She made her point about ending the stares with the help of a t-shirt. Don’t Stare, Just Ask.

Pretty cool, eh? When I first gave her the shirt, Jordan felt a little embarrassed. Maybe the shirt is too much to the point. But after she put it on and I added a few ribbons to keep the sleeves up, she felt a bit more confident to make her point. Seriously, don’t stare, just ask!

During this week’s dance class, Jordan tells me she felt like no one was staring. Unfortunately, the shirt didn’t help with questions. No one asked. But she certainly felt a little more empowered. Jordan also told me she felt a little strange about being so open about how she feels when people see her limb difference.

That said, I sat down with her right before bed and I asked her how she really felt after trying out a “Don’t Stare, Just Ask” shirt. Her biggest feeling… She’s very happy. (And she proceeded to sing Happy.)

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From Jordan: A Kidz Bop Night Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:49:51 +0000

Today I got to go to a Kidz Bop concert. We got to sing and dance and I even got to go up on stage beside Ashlynn. She was the one who invited me up on the stage. That was kind of her. She is my favorite Kidz Bop kid! On the stage, I danced to What Does the Fox Say.

My friend got to come to the show with me! During the show, the kids threw out some t-shirts. They dropped one on the ground and I got to keep it! I also got a bracelet and a flashy stick. And it was for free! I had so much fun.

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More support for families of limb different kids Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:00:40 +0000

For the last almost nine years since Jordan was born, I’ve craved community. I founded Born Just Right to help connect with families and help share the lessons we’ve learned about growing up with limb differences with others. But I know I can only offer some perspective and support. That’s why I am thrilled to see an international effort kick off today to try and build bigger guidance and support services.

A fundraising campaign kicks off today with the leadership of a number of organizations in Europe focused on helped anyone challenged by limb differences, EDRIC (European Dysmelia Reference Information Centre). The group is raising money to create a thorough resource for parents around the world who have children with limb differences. It’s also a chance to provide community so they don’t feel alone. The “What If? – Your Baby Has a Limb Difference” campaign is raising money to help make it happen.

Obviously, this campaign piqued my interest since building community and offering resources to other limb different families was my goal from the very start. So I reached out to EDRIC and asked if the Born Just Right community could benefit. EDRIC was founded in Europe and the majority (but not all) of Born Just Right’s readers are in the United States.

The director of EDRIC, Geoff Adams-Spink, let me know the campaign is for all parents around the world. Resources will be offered in five languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German. The second stage of the campaign could have an even bigger impact. Adams-Spink tells me EDRIC plans to develop a peer network in 2015 that will help match new parents around the world with people with limb differences or parents who have experience in raising limb different kids. I’m so excited to see that happen.

If you’re interested in learning more or donating to the campaign, EDRIC launched the fundraiser on Indiegogo. They’re hoping to raise close to $40,000. I am so happy to see an opportunity to bring the limb difference world even closer together.

Meeting with other limb difference kids (and parents) is super meaningful.

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Dolphin Tale 2 inspires us to help Camp No Limits Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:20:52 +0000

Jordan took a little arm selfie with Winter on our way to the movie.

Today is the day we have waited a long time to happen… The release of Dolphin Tale 2! Jordan and I were incredibly lucky to have a chance to attend an early screening of the movie.

Jordan brought along her special Winter Dolphin stuffed animal and watched the whole movie intently. It was SO cool to see the movie with the experience of having met Winter and Hope back in 2011. The story of Winter and Hope is just as inspiring as the first movie. Seeing children and adults spend time with Winter always make me a bit weepy. The connection Winter brings to people living with physical and developmental differences is so special. I can’t help it. Just watching Jordan’s love of Winter and how the dolphin inspires her makes me tear up a bit. Thank you, Hanger Prosthetics, for taking the time to save Winter’s life and help inspire SO many people.

The coolest part of the movie? It has to be at the end when you get a chance to see Camp No Limits Florida campers meeting Winter. It’s a special part of the Florida camp each year. Even cooler? Some of our friends from the Missouri camp are in the movie! It inspired us to make sure Dolphin Tale 2 is a reason to launch our 2015 fundraiser for camp. Plus, Jordan is now SUPER interested in visiting the Florida camp. Maybe in 2016.

For now, we’re excited to start our 2015 fundraising for camp by launching a Born Just Right fundraising page and we hope you’ll consider sharing some support as well. Beyond the online fundraiser, we are planning a Dolphin Tale 2 fundraising event in our town. Some wonderful people are pitching in with donations and I can’t wait to raffle them off at a local movie theater event in October. (I had really hoped to hold the fundraiser this weekend but travel for work has put me behind in the planning!)

We also want to give you a gift for being awesome. At the bottom of this post, you have a chance to throw your name in the hat to win two free tickets to see Dolphin Tale 2! I am super lucky to have a handful of ticket pairs to send, so don’t be afraid to put your name into the hat. Just tell me what inspires you and you’ll have even more chances to win.

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Let’s celebrate unicorns Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:29:50 +0000

Jordan is proud to be a unicorn

Yesterday’s post asking everyone to not stare, just ask spread far and wide. I’m honored so many people joined in on the conversation surrounding the topic. That post inspired an awesome discussion on Facebook based on a question a Born Just Right commenter had: If you’re encouraging someone to not stare and ask questions, how do you go about asking without feeling awkward? (In Jordan’s opinion, staring is the ultimate sign of awkward.)

One mom of a beautiful limb different daughter mentioned how her other children are much more sensitive to stares than her daughter. She often tells her girls, “If you saw a unicorn in a field of ordinary horses you would stare too.” I want to take that conversation it a step further… If we don’t change our conversation and awareness of differences, we won’t really know how to celebrate unicorns. Our unicorns are so awesome. If you’re staring, you are missing out.

As I revealed Jordan’s plea for an end to staring and asking for more questions, there has been some pushback, mainly by parents who do not feel comfortable encouraging their kids to ask questions. Some adults with physical differences say they are not comfortable with questions. Most children, teens and some adults say they would MUCH rather be a part of a polite and kind conversation over stares. But almost EVERYONE thinks it would be awesome if you could stop staring and at least say hi.

Obviously, life isn’t as easy as just saying “Don’t Stare, Just Ask.” But it is a great jumping point to open the conversation about ending rude staring.

Once you say hello and the person with a difference seems to be kind, in a good mood, and may be willing to explain how they live with a difference, there may be some ways to broach the topic without feeling awkward or invasive. Here are some of the ideas that were shared on Facebook. There’s a mix of adults with limb differences and parents of children with limb differences who left comments:
Christine M.: I personally hate questions from adults/older kids who don’t take the time to introduce themselves and meet me first. I just think it’s rude to expect people to explain their life stories to you when you don’t even take the time to acknowledge their personhood first.

Kathryn B.: “Part of it is in the tone. Loudly asking “Oh my God what happened?!” or “Where is your arm???” are NOT the right ways to approach it. I welcome questions but I find people are too scared/nervous/unsure of what/when/how to ask. At least, adults are. Kids are less inhibited and therefore more direct. A gentle, curious, “What happened to your arm”? is perfectly fine (for me anyway). But since I find that most people are too unsure to ask, I just directly say something if I want them to know. For example, at a job interview years ago I told the first person in the interview to diffuse any potential questions or stares, and then joked that I type faster than most people with two hands. Ultimately, for me it depends on the situation and person asking the question. But questions are always preferably over staring.”

Di D.: “Whatever question you have is a good one, as long as you are polite about it. It starts the communication, and that is the important part.”

Susan F.: “Whenever we see staring we just say hi to that person, very friendly! They will do one of two things, either they will say hi back and start talking to us or they will smile and walk away. We try really hard not to be upset by staring, although sometimes it’s a challenge when accompanied by whispered comments/insults. I would so much rather people ask questions than stare. I don’t think they know they are being rude, but……..LOL”

Leanna M.: “I have a hard time with questions about my daughter. I was taught to not stare, not to ask and not to make someone uncomfortable because it is none of my business what happened. I was told if I want to know why xyand z happens look it up at home. I think I am the only one taught this!!”
Christine M. replied to Leanna: ”  I grew up that way, too. I personally won’t ask anyone because I figure it’s either none of my business or they’ll tell me if they want to do so (and I actually know the person). My high school mentor is an amputee and I still have no idea if it is congenital or not. It just doesn’t matter to me. My hand deformity is congenital, but she and I just never actually talked about either of our differences.”

Marina S.: “There is no non-rude way to ask about something that doesn’t concern one, whether a missing limb or a flower in someone’s hair. That said, aquestion asked with an attempt to get to know one as a person, accompanied by a bunch of other questions, is, imo, way less objectifying than a single out-of-context “what’s wrong with you?” question.”

Lauren B.: “I get asked what happened to my arm all the time and no matter where you go people will stare. I think a polite way to ask is just say you are curious and are interested in what happened. As long as youre polite, every question is welcomed.”

Miranda T.: “My daughter is also double above knee. She has so far been remarkably open when children inquire, considering she is so shy she won’t respond if they just say “hi.” I don’t know about asking though… I think for young children the curiosity is expected, but there comes a point when what is going on with someone’s body is just not your business. Little kids need to understand that the “strange” new thing they are seeing is ok, not dangerous, not contagious, etc, so they should ask and be educated, but a 12 year old should just get that it isn’t his business “what happened” to someone else. There was a time when kids would have frequently encountered questions like “how come your mom is white if you are black” etc, but now kids are taught that there are all types of families, and it isn’t a big deal, and you don’t have to know exactly how this one was created. I hope someday kids can get that there are all types of bodies, and it isn’t a big deal.”

You can see the full conversation here:


There really is no single solution solution to a simple plea: Stop staring. We are all different. We are all awesome. I asked a second question on how do you politely recognize someone who is different without staring or asking questions. The main answer: Just smile and say hi or nod. It’s kind and it shows that person you are treating him or her as you would anyone else. So let’s get to it! Let me know if you give it a try and how it made you feel.

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