September 5, 2006, was not just the date that my own Babies! were born; it was the date that Mateo and McHale Shaw were separated. These boys, given only a 5% chance of survival at birth, have continued to amaze and inspire me and everyone who hears about them.
Their parents, Ryan and Angie Shaw, are themselves inspirational: not only are they doing a great job raising these twins, but they're using their own time (note that I don't say "spare" time, since I doubt they have any time to spare) to help create a handicapped-accessible playground. Then, with all that going on, they still have time to update us on their lives, through their journal at Caring Bridge. Here's part of the most recent entry:
[Friday, September 5] marks the 2 year anniversary of the boys separation surgery. This day brings back so many memories and emotions. We thank from the bottom of our hearts everyone at Childrens National Medical Center. The hospital is one of a kind, top notch in every area. We could not have done it with out them and because of all the wonderful people there we have two very healthy little boys. There are so many people there we will never forget. To us they are our heroes. No words could ever express our sincerest gratitude for everything they have done and most of all for treating our sons as if they were theirs. Also, Washington Hospital Center for the prenatal care /boys delivery while we were in D.C ( we think about you all often). There is no way we could ever show how thankful we are to all these wonderful people who made today possible.
Mateo and McHale have taught us far more than we ever expected. They have touched so many people's lives one way or another. We as parents know the value of life, we watched our sons go through more in their lives than we ever have and probably ever will. They are strong little boys. They have taught us what it means to truly love and to appreciate each day. We don't take for granted the fact that they are here with us. We know things could have turned out very differently. It makes us think about all of the conjoined twins that have been born and everything their families too have gone through. We don't get worked up over the small things in life. We realize there is so much more to life and try our hardest to live each day to the fullest with them.
By God's Grace they are here with us and making us better people. Teaching us what life is really about and inspiring us to do more to help others. We want them to grow up and be proud of who they are. Not let any "disability" define who they are, but have it more of a characteristic, like an eye color. They are two little miracles who are incredibly happy, even after everything they have been through. They are here for a reason. They have already impacted so many people's lives and have brought out the good in others. They will continue to do great things.
As parents, we are very proud of them. We are thankful we put their fate into God's hands. Mateo and McHale are truly "gifts of God" just as their names mean. They are perfect in our eyes.
We want to say thank you to McHale and Mateo for being exactly who they are and for teaching us what life is really all about.
Angie and Ryan
Learn more about the Shaw Twins through Caring Bridge; click this link and then type "mateoandmchale" into the box that lets you visit a specific Caring Bridge Site.
And help the Shaws with their medical bills and other needs by sending a contribution to the Mateo and McHale Shaw Irrevocable Special Needs Trust.
Mateo and McHale Shaw Irrevocable SNT
C/O Kohler Credit Union
850 Woodlake Road