Saturday, December 6, 2014

Moving Forward

One of the things I love about the Autism community is that I can disappear due to life, reappear and you're still right here for me. Thank you for being wonderful and always here.

So much has happened since I last wrote. Life has been happening. We were in Missouri for almost 3 years getting the help for our kiddos that they so desperately needed. There came a point when we finally felt like we were on our feet with this whole Autism thing, that we knew what we were doing. My husband was offered a promotion within his company and they paid for our move to Idaho. It's so beautiful here. The services however are lacking, as well as the education on Autism. We've been here for 5 months and I started to witness changes in Leah. She was regressing. I felt like I was watching a little bit of her slip away each day. It broke my heart. Following a very compelling Spiritual experience, David and I made the prayerful choice to pull her from her school. I felt so much peace follow this decision. Now we are homeschooling her (a post to come on this, soon) with an amazing curriculum and once again, she's blossoming like the beautiful flower that she is.

Phoenix is in a different school than Leah was and with an amazing teacher. We live in an incredibly small town where everyone knows everyone. The staff and Parents seem to have rallied around our little guy and they root for his success every day.

We ran out of his medicine shortly after we arrived here and we were in the process of getting their insurance switched over. It's been such a long time (about 3 years) since we have seen Phoenix off of his medicine. During the excruciatingly long weeks that followed, Phoenix had his 3 year Academic Evaluation (required for children who have an IEP). The meeting was this morning and I asked David if he would go in my place. I knew what his Team of Therapists and Teachers would say and I didn't feel that I could sit through it dry eyed. As I lay in bed last night and read my Draft Copy of their evaluation and looked over all of his scores, I was reminded of his struggles. I was reminded that my bright and sweet boy has Autism. There was no medication to mask it this time. With out his medicine, he scored in the moderate to severe range of Autism, again. His Teacher pulled me aside last week and told me that it broke her heart to watch him and that he looked as if he were in pain. He quite literally has no control over his body without it. At one point he even told me that he was sorry. Sorry that he was knocking things over, running into walls, screaming at others, having melt downs for no apparent reason and hitting things with his limbs (unintentionally). It's a painful thing for a mother to watch. It's ADHD x 100 (the clinical diagnosis is Impulsivity Control Disorder which he was diagnosed with in addition to his Autism). We were able to fill his medicine this week and that first night after we had put his siblings to bed, he curled up to me on the couch and said, "I feel better." He looked at me with his big beautiful blue eyes and in that moment we both knew what he was saying.

Purging Your Life 
It's been a year since I've written here. I can feel that I'm not the same person. The things that once mattered to me no longer do. This past year I have felt Heavenly Father pulling, pushing and stretching me beyond what I thought was imaginable. The only thing that seems to matter to me now is my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I have stopped worrying about appeasing others and only focus on making Him happy. Repenting more, showing more gratitude, spending less time on the computer and more with my family, shutting the noise out of my life so that I can better hear that still small voice.

While this isn't something I would generally share, it was a turning point in our Journey. The last time I spoke to one of my Sister-in-laws was almost a year ago. She told me that my children were a mistake and that her and her girlfriend (partner) didn't feel Phoenix and Leah had Autism (they hadn't seen them since they were babies and they felt they have more experience/credentials at diagnosing Autism than the Thompson Center - the #2 Autism Research Center in the Country... [sarcasm]). As I listened, by this time I had worked closely with 100's of Autism families and with every sentence that escaped their mouths it became more and more apparent to me how uneducated they were on Autism. Genuinely so uneducated on it, something that runs so rampant in their own family. That night David and I sat down and had a heartfelt conversation that lasted about 3 hours and we made a united tough choice. We couldn't seem to wrap our heads around what kind of person (Adult) would say something so awful and truly ugly about a 4 and 5 year old with Special Needs that couldn't defend themselves. At one point we even said how badly we wished we could see her face if she were to see Leah for the first time since she was age 1. (Leah's Autism is very obvious within the first minute of meeting her, even to a stranger who knows nothing of Autism. She rocks back and forth/spins in circles, hums, stares off to the side and has limited communication.) We knew that those things really weren't important though and that that was the wrong Spirit to find ourselves in. It was that night that we decided to permanently prune the dead, fruitless branches from our lives. It's been the choice that has brought the most peace but also was the most hard to make. No one ever wants to cut family relationships. This experience has taught us to surround our children with friends and family that adore and think the world of them. Family and friends that see their struggles and do all they can to help in building them up. This is the environment that has brought us the most happiness. Life is too short and the needs of our children too great to surround them with anything less than that.

I'm trying harder to utilize the Atonement every day. I've learned so personally that it's not just for things that I do wrong but also for the wrong that has been done to me. I'm grateful for a loving Savior and Heavenly Father that I know know's my name. For a Heavenly Father that I know is mindful of my family. For a Heavenly Father that hears the deepest, earnest Prayers of my heart. The Spirit (Holy Ghost) is teaching me what is most important in my life. It's my Husband and my Children. It's not the clothes we wear, how big our home is, what kind of car we drive or how much income we bring in. It's our sweet little family.

Thank you for supporting us in this journey.