I am so honored that Autism Speaks looked favorably enough on my writing that they also posted it to their Facebook page. I am also honored that I have received so many comments and compliments of support. However, amongst the comments were some fairly judgmental ones directed at people like me. I feel that for this last time, I will clarify what just might be misunderstandings.
I did not intend my post to be taken as what I thought was the reality of a group home. My intent was to show the heart of a mother in the middle of this uncomfortable change in life. I know I am not giving up my son. I know I am actually placing him. I know I will be active in his life, and always there to protect him and make sure he is healthy, happy, and safe.
I know that this isn’t a guaranteed that he will need this as a child. In fact, with the new services we will be putting in place, there is a great chance he will be able to continue to live with us for a long time. Whereas some people say they are opting to have siblings take over care, I personally feel, in our situation, that that isn’t the best option for us. Our plans will be for our children to watch over him, but as advocates and protectors of him while he lives in a group home. If after I’m gone they want to take him out to live with them, that is great. But it will be their choice.
This does not mean, however, that I have not raised them right. For one, my other son isn’t even two. My daughter is only 7, and if anyone should think I am not choosing for her to manage his care personally because she isn’t responsible or wouldn’t want to, I’d like them to know this…she cries just at the thought of him not being in the same school as her next year because he’s moving to middle school. She writes him love notes and valentines. She makes sure she says hi to him in the hall before school. She is so protective of him and loves him dearly. If others are going to have their other children take over personal care of their autistic child, I am so happy for them and congratulate them warmly. This just isn’t our path.
Also, all children are different, all family dynamics are different, all autistic children are at different levels of severity. My son happens to be very severe. He is showing progress though, and that gives us hope, but he is severe. Other families may be able to keep their kids at home. I am happy for them. I, however, most likely will not be able to do that.
I haven’t given up, nor ever will. People don’t know the back-story of how much of ourselves we have put into helping our son. Psychiatrists, psychologists,occupational therapists, physical therapists, neurologists, behavior consultants, dozens of medications and more. We have special systems in place in our home that keeps him safe inside and protects him from wandering away and being in danger. We spend thousands and thousands of dollars each year to provide therapies, special general doctors qualified to give things like routine dental visits to autistic children,items that help him function, and medications and medical scans.
Again, I never intended my post to be taken as anything else other than a picture of the emotions of a mother at the time she will place her son. I even stated in my post,
I do know I didn’t fail. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, like a failure, or that I am giving up. I know I’m not giving up. I know it will be the best for him. I also know it isn’t goodbye. But it is goodbye to life as we know it now, and that feels like enough of a goodbye to me. I know we can visit; I know we can bring him home to stay with us as much as we would like, but tell that to a mom who is giving up her baby, placed in her charge by God Himself. No matter what I know in my head, I know my heart will wait until that time comes to start working to reconcile itself to believe what the head says.
Sadness and guilt can tell you lies that drown out the truth you already know. This was my intention. To show the heartbreak that one might feel and the effect it might have. Not to say I actually believe it is giving up and saying goodbye. That would be plain ridiculous.
Why do we judge each other so readily? This life is too hard to be wasting time on criticizing others’ decisions; especially when you don’t even begin to know their story enough or their personal circumstance and situation. Who cares what someone else, a stranger you don’t even know, is doing with their life? How does that truly affect you? I would never judge someone who decides to keep their child with them forever; in fact, I would be incredibly happy for them. So, why waste time and energy judging those who do put their children in homes? I see that as a bit cruel. This post was only a picture of the broken heart of a mother who has to make this gut wrenching decision. We all are parents working to make a better life for our children; for all of us, that is a different path…a different story. We need to have compassion, love, and empathy.
As always, positive comments are welcome. Negative hurtful comments will be trashed before I can even finish reading them. I have many readers who are emotionally vulnerable, and I will not post comments that will further harm.
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