Twenty-seven years ago, our daughter Becca was born with a severe form of Noonan Syndrome. Our family struggled, and we used those struggles to pay it forward with adopting a sibling set with complex trauma and prenatally exposed to alcohol and other drugs and toxins. Our world was parenting our eleven children, six biological and the adopted sib set of 5 now grown. The lessons learned with our kids had prepared us for the newest addition to the Yurcek Tribe. Mackie was the answer to our prayers.
Mackie needed us, and we put our lessons we had learned with our complex children to work. McKellen Edward Yurcek came to us at 17 months old, a fragile baby who would not be expected “to be anything.” Global Developmental Delay, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Autism, prenatally exposed to drugs, prescription medications, tobacco, and born to parents who had developmental delays of their own. Mackie would enter the foster care system at birth and would find his forever home with our family. Mackie is surpassing any odds that professionals have given him. In time we would learn that he has brain damage in the motor programming and movement centers of his brain, this means he struggles to get his body to move as he wants. At this point, he has 87 health problems on his Care list, but nothing stops Mackie.
Last year I became a part of the 90 Real Lives Campaign to raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. While writing and blogging, my partner and good friend, Jodee Kulp came up with Mackie’s cartoon character to help us raise awareness about kids with Complex Disorders and FASD.
I was writing one day, and Mackie saw the cartoon character and said: “that cartoon boy looks just like me.” The idea for Mackie’s World was born.
Mackie’s World is a cartoon, so I looked at the definition of what a cartoon is. Cartoons teach and bring smiles; we mean to use it as a drawing symbolizing the actions and understanding of a little person with multiple medical, relational and learning differences in understanding to impart knowledge to the general public so they can be more sensitive to those with extraordinary abilities.
Our goal is to be sensitive, reflective and heartwarming. Our mission is to broaden the understanding of those with additional needs.
This year 90-day campaign is to raise awareness about FASD is now moving forward. Of course, roadblocks are getting in the way, as life with Parenting Complex Children has many challenges on its own. But the storm, lack of electricity, broken air conditioners, or the death of a good friend today will NOT stop me from launching; It’s Mackie’s World.
Every Monday we will launch a new cartoon, and I hope that you come to love and enjoy our little man and his friends as much as us. Through him, we hope that the greater world will see the strengths, value, gifts and hope that those with disabilities bring to our lives. The endearing qualities and adventures with Mackie and his friends.