I am stronger when I am walking alongside others on this journey of life.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV).
Our oldest son has FASD, he is also plagued by the trauma and neglect he suffered in the first year of his life. For many years, we kept his struggles, and our own, private. Even now, we are careful to protect the details of his story, so that one day he may choose to share only the parts that he is comfortable with. What we share on Confessions of a Parent is meant purely to strengthen the parents and children in our community and point families toward resources.
“I am stronger when I am walking alongside others on this journey of life.”
Our son’s brain damage manifests itself in a way that is impulsive and oftentimes dangerous to himself and others around him. His heart is good, kind and generous, however his brain cannot attach consequences to actions. While he was living at home, we could not provide the structure he needed to stay safe. We have found hope in a program that is teaching him to use a different part of his brain to make good choices. He is practicing self-control and self-regulation in a way he never has been able to do before. The goal of this program is reunification and reconciliation. It is our hope that our son will soon be able to return to our home and our community.
Each month Mike and I take turns traveling to see our son. Our goal is to maintain the safety of our son while building and strengthening our parent/child relationship. Each family member writes letters and participates in phone calls each week. At home we are preparing for his return by turning our office into a bedroom. We are in contact with our local school to get his new IEP in order. We are researching recreational activities our son can be a part of that will meet his need for structure while allowing him to just be a regular kid. We are moving furniture and selling things that are not necessary. Mike and I have decided to sell our book, The Adoptive Parent Toolbox for a special low price and bonus offer. (Click here to get the book). My daughters and I even opened an etsy store as a fun way to add a little income! (Click here to see the store and shop).
We have learned to face our son’s needs with a sense of adventure and hopefulness. As many of you know, being a special needs parent is a constant balancing act between structuring life around the need and allowing the child to live this life unhindered by constant special circumstances.
A few weeks ago our dearest friends set up a fund to help us in this balancing act of life as we work toward bringing our son home. (Click here to see the page and donate). I must admit, I have struggled with embarrassment over others knowing of our inadequacy to provide everything for our son. I know now that my embarrassment has clouded my understanding of reality. The need for community is not an inadequacy. We were never meant to live this life alone.
Have you personally discovered the power of community? Ever had someone in your community reach out to you and offer to help? Share your story with us.