As many of you know I have sent off my first book to be published. I am super excited and can’t wait to hear what people think about our journey through foster care and adoption. We have hit a small problem however. There were some fees I was not expecting and I am looking for people willing to help raise the money. If we hit the goal I will select 7 people who have donated at random and they will receive an autographed copy of the book. If you can’t donate that’s perfectly fine, please share the link and pray for this project. I truly feel God intends to use this book to help others take that leap of faith and become foster parents/adoptive parents. The link is below:
From our beautiful chaos to yours, thank you. Together we can make this happen
Autism can make the simplest things…less simple. And trick or treating is no exception. Last year we were still new to the area so we let the kids dress up and run around the backyard. They took turns ringing our own doorbell as I gave them candy. It was simple it was safe and most importantly Wild Man was able to just be himself. This year however, the kids wanted to venture out and gather candy like we had back in my hometown before we moved. I knew this would be a challenge even with help from my husband.
The last few days leading up to tonight’s outing we went over The trick or treating rules. Basic things like: staying with mom and dad, no running off, saying please and thank you, and being respectful to all those around us. Down here they do not trick or treat like back home. There hundreds of candy hungry kids flood the subdivisions in search of the perfect sweets. Here it’s not about going house to house but more of the local churches doing what is called trunk or treat. We decided to go to a church close to our home so the kids could make their big candy score.
The trunk or treat was suppose to be from 6 to 8. The church had hot dogs and other food for people to eat and they had games set up where kids could play and earn candy. Which for most kids would be fine and I’m sure everyone that attended had a fantastic time…everyone except our Wild Man. We arrived right around 6 (it was still daylight so Wild Man was okay with being outside) We signed the kids in and were told we could get something to eat. If you have ever been trick or treat with young ones then you know the last thing on their little minds was eating actual food they want candy and nothing but candy. We passed the food station and walked through the game stations over to where the trunk or treat was suppose to take place. The problem….they were not ready for the kids. We were told we could play some games while they set up. Wild man was getting anxious but we tried to play a few games. He didn’t understand why he could not just get the candy from the bowls. Why me play game momma? Why????? We tried for about 20 minutes before he got extremely upset. We walked back over to where the trunk or treat was to take place. It was still not ready. I looked at my husband while trying to keep ahold of Wild mans hand and made the call to head back home. Our other little loves were not thrilled we were leaving. Having a sibling on the spectrum is difficult on them sometimes. They know he has limits but their kids and sometimes they just want to be able to do what other kids do. As we walked back home we saw a few of our neighbors lights on. I look at my husband and he knew what I was thinking and he shrugged sure why not?
In our large subdivision we walked along with our five little loves. Out of all the houses in our subdivision we found four that were passing out candy. Four. But four was enough. At the first house Wild Man asked the lady’s name and then told her he was moving in with her. She was sweet and laughed it off. At the second house they passed out suckers and Whopper candy. Wild man loves both so he was okay there. Third house he tried to take more than a few pieces and when the gentleman said Oh only a few big guy, he started screaming and tried to step on the mans foot. By the fourth house he was done and when they opened the door he ran in. (When he’s done he’s done. He saw their TV on and wanted to watch) The gentleman at the door caught him and was very kind about the situation. As we went walked down the neighbors front porch steps I said it was time to go home. That’s when Elmo and Diva started fussing. It’s not fair. We hardly have any candy. Why do we always have to stop when he gets upset? As we walked up our driveway they both stomped as loud as their little feet possibly could.
I am use to things not working out as we plan. So as they fussed I went to the kitchen and pulled out Plan B aka backup candy. I had the kids open up their bags and I filled them with their favorite sweets. Smiles finally covered their faces as they settled in with their candy to watch a Halloween special before bed. They were happy and Wild Man was safe and comfort in his own home so he was happy. I hate to say it but as an autism mom I always have a backup plan. You have to have a backup plan.
It’s not fair, I get it. It’s hard on them, him and us. All I want is a normal life for all my kiddos. Some days we get through without any major upsets other days it’s meldown after meltdown. All we can do is take it day by day (and always have backup candy just in case we need it) Our normal is different from most. And I’m okay with that.
Even though we did not get to go to many houses or play all the church games we did get out as a family. We did manage to get out of the house for a little while and he did have fun. And he was able to wear his mask for awhile. (Huge win) We could set and dwell over all the things that went wrong or we can celebrate the small victories. We will celebrate and eat candy I bought.
I attended my first IEP meeting for this school year for wild man a few weeks ago. As a mom I want the best for my kids. I want them to have a great education and be able to succeed. As a mom of an autistic child I want these things and so much more.
The meeting went well. His new teacher, OT, speech director, principal and his teacher from last year all love him. Which makes me feel like we made the right decision on the School. We went over his daily schedule and how we could make it better for him. This year he will have his major subjects in a regular classroom while his afternoons will be spent in the classroom equipment for special needs (this is the classroom which make us choose the school in the first place). Change is hard for him but I want what’s best for him.
The meeting was filled with comments like “he is doing so great” “he is working so hard” and “he has come a long way”. All of which made me smile because he is doing great and working hard. And he has come a long way, a very long way. It’s in these moments that I get lost and almost forgot he is autistic. Everyone bragging on him and telling funny stories about things he has done. I love seeing other people’s faces when they talk about him. They just light up he has that effect on people once they take time to get to know him.
But then there comes the reality. Take this work page for example. He scored a 3 out of 10. I know placing him in the regular classroom is supposed to help him build social skills and help him become more independent. But he is so lost when it comes to the actual school work. I don’t want him to be overlooked or just passed through because of his disabilities. I want him to have a chance to learn and to grow just like any mother would. I know many of you are thinking “it’s just one paper or he is just in 1st grade” but that’s my point. This is just the beginning. What happens now and how he is treated will affect the way things go from here on out. He does not bring many graded papers home but when he does most notes are “he tried hard” At what point will he become completely lost and what nothing to do with School? Will he always be this happy go lucky boy or will the struggles become to much for him the bear? I worry because it’s my job to make sure he receives the best possible education he can receive. I worry that the other kids will start calling him names or talking about him because he does not get the answers right. I worry constantly about how his peers receive him.
But then my son does the most wonderful thing. As I look at all the X’s on his papers and the comments my son, my beautiful intelligent son points at the papers and says “look momma I got this one right” and smiles great big. Even in a world full of negativity and large red and green X’s my son only sees the good, he only sees the beauty. As his mom I worry about him in this crazy world we live in. People are so cruel to each other and I am scared that the things that make him unique in Gods eyes will get him teased or even hurt in this world. But God has given my son a unique way of looking at things. He only sees the good in people and in things. He does not notice those that stare at him or say hurtful things about him. I am truly thankful for that. As his mom I need to try and see the world the way he sees it. I need to find the good.
So yes we celebrate the three right answers, because a year or two ago none of this would have even been possible. We celebrate that he can now write his name and that his teacher said he is now sitting at his desk up to three minutes at a time. (This is huge for him) We celebrate that he has even sat at the dinner table with us a few times this month and we were able to have dinner as a family(and this is huge for him). We celebrate the red and green X’s because they show us progress. He is moving forward in all areas of his life. We celebrate because God has made this prefect little guy ours and we are the ones that get to watch him grow and succeed at life.
We celebrate because we are blessed.
Thank you wild man for opening my eyes to more than just the negative. Thank you for helping me see there is beauty in everything, even in X’s.