The term, Limb Differences, is used in reference to the congenital (something a person is born with) absence or malformation of limbs. Some limb differences may be acquired as the result
of an injury or disease that requires amputation.
The causes of congenital Limb Differences are frequently unknown.
There are many families that have adopted a child with a missing limb, club foot, or other orthopedic difference. Please use our website to read family adoption stories, view children waiting to be adopted, and learn more about this and other medical conditions experienced by children living in institutions and orphanages.
A child who has an acquired limb difference through surgical amputation is more likely to feel a profound and deeply personal sense of loss. The child must adjust to a different way of living. This takes emotional and physical adjustments. Just as different amputation levels place different demands on a person, the demands resulting from amputation or a congenital difference are different.
A child’s emotional reaction to limb differences may vary. Some medical literature states that children who are born with a limb difference do not feel a sense of loss. Their body is the only body they have ever known. According to this point of view, it’s rare in the early years for a child who has a congenital difference to grieve. Still, as the child grows and becomes more socially aware, there can be a sense of loss or of being physically “different” from those who have fully functional limbs. This can then lead to frustration (“Why me?”) and some of the same feelings that occur while grieving.