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On My Mind
July 2002

Grief-Love: Contradictions in the Lives of Fathers of Children With Disabilities

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(7):643. doi:10.1001/archpedi.156.7.643

A CONVOCATION OF FATHERS, united in their calling to parent daughters and sons who live with disabilities, convenes each year as the summer solstice approaches. Under the auspices of the Washington State Fathers Network (a nonprofit organization held together, barely, with bake sale brio) these 80-or-so men care for children of all sorts, from infants to teens to young adults, of diverse colors and creeds, with autism, cerebral palsy, or chromosomal rearrangements, with diseases afflicting the lungs, bowels, heart, or brain. Some of these fathers asked for this job, adopting their child with special needs; most did not. All gathered here, though, strive to meet the challenge.