Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dear World,

I am writing this to clear up a few things.

My son is a remarkable, bright and gifted young man. He has triumphed over more things in his short life than the majority of the people I know ever will. We made the decision to send him to his new school this year because it was the best place for him.

My son has learning differences that made teaching him in a typical learning environment a challenge. He had some good teachers who went above and beyond at his public school. He had others that shoved him to the side and fed him answers to make it look like he was learning and improve their test scores. Because of these teachers, my son began to believe he was dumb.

He deserved better than that.

His new school is designed to teach kids just like my son. Kids who are smart, but learn differently and therefore can't learn in their public school. In fact, you have to be smart to get into this school. They don't take kids who can't be taught. They take kids who are "unteachable" by public education standards.

At my son's school, he is learning that he is smart. He is doing at least grade level work in most subjects and quickly catching up in those his isn't. He isn't the different one in the class, he's the norm. He is making friends, playing sports and loving life. He is happy.

So, World, when you stop and ask me about my son or his school, please do not think that he is "dumb" or "severe" or "slow." Do not patronize me because you feel bad that my son can't go to school with his neighborhood friends. Do not think of him as anything other than what he is, amazing.

His very proud mom

PS - I'll blog about Thanksgiving later. I just had to get that off my chest.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Squirrel Boy

For years we have thought Jason was part-squirrel. He scurries around, picks things up to store away and has about the same attention span. He shoots up trees and is hyperaware of all around him. Also, he LOVES to point them out to us. Seriously, mid-sentence exclamations of "SQUIRREL!!" are very common here.

Well last night, while looking for something in Jason's room, we came across this:

Did I mention he collects acorns?

And, apparently, he can open them as well.


The doctors may call it ADHD, Autism and the like. But around here we know the truth.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adoption Myth

The world would like to think that when you adopt a child you press a reset button on their life and all that happened before will be forgotten.

This is so not the case.

If you think about your own life and how it's shaped who your are, you know that it's all a culmination of what your life was like before. Yet society expects children to forget about their lives before their adoption. "But he's so much better off" or "How can he possibly love those people" or "Why would he want to remember that" and so on.

I can't tell you how many people ask me if Jason ever talks about his life before us. If he ever mentions his brother, foster family or birth-mom. And when I say yes, we talk about them a lot actually, I get some very shocked looks. Yes, he was only 4 at the time, but those 4 years are pretty powerful. More happened in his first 4 years than happens in most adults first 20. He can't forget them or bury them and to do so would be dishonoring Jason and his past. And expecting him to would be telling him that we only love part of him, not all of him.

All of the experiences a person goes through in their life, whether young or old, shapes how we see the world, interact with it and cope with what life hands us. The same is true with children who are adopted. And to expect different if to say your life didn't matter before your life here started.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my Dad's birthday.

I don't think I can say how old he is since we weren't even allowed to celebrate last year when he hit a certain milestone.

Still, it's his birthday and to celebrate we're giving him and my mom our 3 rambunctious kids for an overnight.

I know, not quite the celebration you would imagine, but my Dad has always been the type of guy who would do unto others before he would himself.

Eleven years ago, my Dad was having another birthday and this one was another of those milestones and he didn't mind celebrating it. And he did, only he did it at our rehearsal dinner.

You see in our quest to finds a date and a church that didn't fall on an OSU football Saturday, we picked November 20. One day after my Dad's birthday. Only it was March and we didn't put 2 and 2 together. And he never said a word.

It wasn't until much later that I realized what we had done. He said he didn't mind, he just wanted us to have our big day and so on. I minded though. It was much to late to move everything so we ordered a cake and surprised him with a party at our rehearsal dinner. He was surprised and thankfully I now will always remember his birthday.

Which leads us back to tonight and me dumping the kids with him.

Our anniversary is tomorrow. 11 years.

Getting out to celebrate has always been hard for us since we had kids. My parents are really our only sitters and I know we're lucky because many special needs parents don't have anyone. My parents friends are taking my Dad out to eat Saturday night, so they gave us tonight.

My Dad was always the type of dad who put his kids first. It's probably why I married Andy because he's the same way.

Tonight, my Dad will watch hours of Scooby-Doo, listen to countless squeals and see his orderly home slowly come undone. He won't mind though. He never does. Even on his birthday.

So, happy birthday, Dad. I love you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Massive Update

I've been away for over 9 months now. A lot has been happening in our family. I thought it might be a good idea to bring everything up-to-date before I plow forward.

Micah is still doing well. He played soccer in the spring and spent most of the summer swimming. He's really making great progress in OT and we're seeing his start to eat more and more. In fact, a few weeks ago Micah finally allowed food to touch and ate his first ever peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Since then, he's eaten one nearly every day.

Hannah finished up preschool and plowed right on into full-day kindergarten this fall. She's still dancing and playing soccer. She's also reading and writing up a storm. One of our biggest challenges is that because everything comes so easily to Hannah, she thinks she can do everything without us. It's hard to keep her challenged and grounded at the same time.

Jason finished up his year at public school hoping he was going to a new school. After his last day though, we got a call from our first choice school and found out that Jason got IN! This was the school we really wanted him in and what a difference it has made. My son is confident, learning better social skills and behaviors and has mad amazing progress academically. He reads constantly and his writing is getting so much better. He played flag football with them this fall which was awesome. Jason hasn't been able to do a true team sport in years.

Andy had back surgery a month after I last posted. They fused his S1/L5/L4. Four days in the hospital and 3 and 1/2 months off work. He's feeling 100% better since his surgery and is so much happier. He's looking to finish school soon so he's researching masters programs.

As for me, I pretty much took care of everyone. The kids, my husband and sometimes my parents. My life changed a lot when Michael died and then even more as the summer progressed. I learned a lot about myself and am mostly just putting my all into my job...mom.

It's been a while...

..since I last posted. I could blame it on being busy or not having time to write. But the truth is that I had so much to say that I couldn't get my thoughts together. It's still a bit like that, but I realize that writing is something I love and even as busy as my life is, I have lots to say.

I want talk about raising special needs kids. I want to talk about raising a gifted one. I have stuff to say about suicide and mental illness and what it's like to have those things as a part of your life. I want to tell the world about how God saw me through that last 10 years and how I know He'll see me through the next. I have stuff to say and this is where I want to say it.

I'm back.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I've been staring at this blinking cursor for a few minutes now trying to get the jumbled thoughts in my head straightened out. I just can't seem to though. I think that is part of my problem right now. My brain won't shut off and I can't seem to organize my thoughts unless I have a specific task to do.

Get Jason off to school. Check.

Feed Hannah and Micah. Check.

Wander the house aimlessly and talk of the phone with nothing to say...got that one down, too.

I told my friend, Jenny, that this feels like when I'm getting depressed and my medication needs adjusting. Only it doesn't need adjusting because this is real sadness, not one brought on by a chemical imbalance. And I am so very sad. Even though Mike wasn't part of my everyday life, he was part of my everyday thoughts and prayers. He is still, only now filled with regrets and sorrow.

I wish I had called. What if I had. Why didn't I. These thoughts jumble in my mind and tear me up. Nothing will bring him back. I know this. I have peace in Christ as to what happened and why and where he is now. But I still live in this fallen world and my mind keeps trying to make sense of it.

I'm not sleeping either. I know this is also normal, but it makes it even harder to function. We've also had at least one child up at night for the last month which isn't helping either. Micah and Hannah are having nightmares. Jason is too, only he isn't crawling in bed with us at 3am. I haven't been this sleep deprived since we had a newborn in the house.

I am searching for a counselor now. These last few weeks has stirred up so much in me that I know I need to get it out. Mike had been on me about doing this, but I kept putting it off. He knew it was important which is why he was seeing one as well. He'd be telling me it's about time if he was here to tell.

Micah is turning 4 two weeks from tomorrow. He wants a Star Wars party. He'll get one, too. It's just hard to fathom that Mike is going to not be there especially since he loved Star Wars so much. It will be hard to celebrate when someone is missing. But we will. Because Micah will demand it. "A cake and a party and presents, Mommy!" He's so full of joy at turning 4. My kids are a constant reminder of how life moves forward even when it feels like it's stopped.