Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ghost of Christmas Trees Past

We started to put up the Christmas tree this afternoon, our beautiful artificial tree that we've had for the past 6 Christmases (since Jack was in 2nd grade). Besides looking a little beat up from being packed away for 66 of the past 72 months, a couple of sections refused to light this year. One section lit up at first, but then decided to go dark. Charlie and I decided it was time for a new tree.

Poor Jack! He doesn't let go of things easily. You'd think we were giving away an old friend, which we kind of were. "But we've had this tree for so long!" First the chin quivers, then the eyes fill. Poor guy! He's so sensitive.

We told him he could come along and help us pick out a new tree, one with colored lights this time instead of just white ones. Maybe that will take some of the sting out.

If anyone ever tells you that kids with autism have no feelings, they're wrong. Some of them are very, very sensitive. Like our Jack. He's such a tender-hearted boy!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to you and yours!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Diagnosis: Awesome!

At church this morning, our pastor made reference to a couple who had posted a newspaper ad looking for an egg donor to help them conceive a child. Not just any egg donor. They were specifically seeking a "genius" egg donor. Perhaps a student with a 4.0 GPA and near-perfect SAT scores.

As he spoke of the couple looking to conceive the "perfect" child, I was both amused and a little sad for them. As you know, we get what we get and sometimes the child we get is not the child we ever imagined. I always imagined we'd be going to soccer games about now and looking forward to college. But that's not the life God planned for us.

We've been going through the process these last couple of months of FINALLY getting a formal diagnosis for Jack. We had a 5-hour speech and psychological evaluation at Kaiser's ASD Clinic in December, followed by another 2-hour evaluation in January with a physical therapist. Results were what we expected: Jack has ASD. No surprises.

The good news is that now that we have a formal clinical diagnosis, we can start looking for services that are available to us. This week we had an in-home meeting with our regional Service Coordinator. We talked about programs that build social skills, job training and the eventual possiblity of an adult group home.

Our meeting with the Service Coordinator was actually a very encouraging, positive experience. She made me feel that we're doing the right things for our boy and he's perfectly "normal" for a child with Autism. He's a sweet, loving boy, and we're so grateful to have him.

Am I sad about any of this? Maybe a little, but mostly I'm just grateful to have him. Becoming a mom was the deepest desire of my heart for many, many years. He's not anything I ever imagined, but in many ways he's so much more. He's a sweet, loving child and our special gift from God. He's perfect in his own way and we couldn't love him any more than we do.

The couple looking for that "perfect" child is missing the boat. They're missing the wonder and adventure of watching a child overcome obstacles you and I don't even see. Perfect is boring!