A woman is making it her mission to spread awareness about those who have facial deformities after people told her to kill her 10-year-old daughter.
Natalie Weaver’s daughter Sophia was born with deformities of the face as well as in her hands and feet. She also has a number of different medical conditions, including an immune deficiency, Type 1 diabetes, and a neurological condition that causes seizures and other problems. But the Weavers want the world to know that just because Sophia’s life is difficult does not mean it is without worth.
They’ve experienced hatred both online and in person.
Now, Natalie Weaver has made it her mission to draw attention to the beauty in her daughter’s life while challenging hatred and discrimination.
She said that she was so traumatized by the ugly reactions people had to Sophia when she was a baby, she hid her until she was 7 years old. But then she decided that she wasn’t going to hide her daughter — instead, she was going to be a champion for her.
“Though we experience heartache and struggles, Sophia has changed our lives for the better,” said Weaver. “She makes our live richer, fuller, and filled with love. She’s taught us to live in the moment and to appreciate the small things. She is my child, and I love her just the same as any other parent loves their child. It seems some people don’t understand that. Society has defined beauty and value but because of Sophia, I now have my own definition, and I know what true beauty and value are. Sophia is beautiful valuable, and filled with so much happiness and love. She deserves respect and dignity just like everyone else.”
And Weaver is intent on exposing stigma when she encounters it.
When she posted a sweet picture of Sophia hanging Christmas ornaments with her husband Mark, Weaver was shocked to receive a private message from a stranger who urged her to kill her daughter. Rather than ignore it or respond to it, Weaver published it to draw attention to the cruelty that people with disabilities face every day.
“Aren’t you even remotely convicted for making her suffer for your fame?” read the message. “Her quality of life is so poor and it seems as tho you delight in your Savior Syndrome role. If you TRULY loved her, you’d go the selfless and empathetic route by putting her out of her misery. Sick & twisted….typical self-righteous Christian. I hope you got sterilized so you can’t produce anymore defective offspring.”
Weaver was blunt in pointing out that people like this were advocating: letting children like Sophia have seizures without giving them help.
She compared it to treating them “like animals.”
Comments like these aren’t anything new to the Weavers. In fact, Natalie Weaver says they’ve heard them from all sides ever since Sophia was an infant. She’s been told that Sophia is worthless, a monster, and should have been aborted. She’s seen people point and laugh or point and scream, and even been told that her child is a monster.
But Weaver says that in spite of her daughter’s challenges, she’s a regular 10-year-old child.
She laughs, jokes, snuggles, and even tells her mother that she’s annoying. And the family is determined to make sure that people know how much they love their daughter and how perfect she is.
Weaver has joined forces with other voices for disabled individuals to end hatred and discrimination. She has also founded Sophia’s Voice, a non-profit dedicated to providing medical assistance to those with disabilities and their families.
Meanwhile, they are doing their absolute best to make sure Sophia’s life is as rich and full as it can be.
They are diligent with medical and home care, and strive to give her as much love and encouragement as they can.
Weaver continues to share personal pictures on social media for one very specific reason: she wants everyone to see that a family with a disabled child is still a normal family. Sophia’s life may not be like other people’s, but she is happy and loved. Sophia decorates the house for Christmas, plays with her siblings, takes silly pictures on SnapChat, and snuggles with her mom.
“I will not change my beautiful daughter for this world, but instead, I will try to change this world for my daughter and others like her,” tweeted Weaver.
Weaver also urges her social media followers to support Face Equality International, an organization for people with facial deformities.
The organization aims to promote awareness of and end stigma against physical deformities and even put movements through to the United Nations for special provisions with the Rights of People with Disabilities.
Founded by a man who had a facial deformity himself, Face Equality International also acts as an advocate for disabled persons to have better access to specialized medical care. The outreach is mobilized around the world, fighting for people just like Sophia.
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