The Joys and Challenges of Caring for a Child with Disabilities

Jackie shares that while she and her husband, Rob, were raising their son, Ryan, they realized that something was different when he was only eight months old. They had three older children and could see that Ryan wasn’t meeting the normal milestones. Although he was very active, Ryan did not walk until he was two years old. He received a broad diagnosis of Developmental Disability, and his speech was his primary delay.  It was a mystery as to what Ryan would be able to do and how he would navigate life. But fortunately, he was blessed with a happy and content nature.

Jackie says she often felt lonely and isolated. She says, “I had the ‘behind the bleachers feeling’.” While other parents were sitting in the bleachers watching their children play games, I was behind the bleachers watching Ryan run back and forth nonstop.  I admit I felt cheated.”

However, there were joys too, especially watching her three other children develop empathy and appreciation for others with disabilities. They continually protected and helped Ryan. The children learned that Ryan required their total attention, so they understood that they were completely responsible while he was in their care. Despite all of this, they never expressed resentment of Ryan. Instead, each of them chose careers where they could help serve people with disabilities.

Jackie admits that she often felt overwhelmed, and her greatest fear was that their family wouldn’t hold together due to all the stress. She is so appreciative for her husband’s calming influence. She says situations like this require the strong faith of both parents, and the father is just as important as the mother. The entire family pulled together to make everything work.

Jackie realized that she needed support, so she started a disability support group at her church and facilitated the group for ten years. Jackie says that the church made significant improvements in welcoming and including people with special needs during that time.  It was in that group she learned about the struggles of others, which helped tremendously. She calls those members “her Holland folks,” referring to the lovely poem, “Welcome to Holland,” by Emily Perl Kingsley, (1987), which talks about raising a child with a disability. Click here to read this beautiful poem.

When Ryan was around 3 years old, the school system required a home visit so that he could receive services.  “It hurt my pride,” Jackie says.  But it prepared her for all the meetings that were to come in Ryan’s future. When he was 18 years old, his parents knew that Ryan would need their guardianship, which requires home visits from the court system.  So, Jackie knows that the state is doing its job to protect Ryan and his interests.   

Ryan became an active participant in the Special Olympics, but his favorite activity is still therapeutic drama, which he loves. He’s been in some 30 plays and continues to act. Jackie is so grateful to have connected with this supportive community.

Today, Ryan, who is now 34 years old, is in a day program with other adults with disabilities and is doing well. Work has always been a good distraction for Jackie, and she continues to enjoy her job. Her story is a testimony to a family of faith working together to make a difficult situation work.

What Helped:

  • Her faith.
  • The unending support of her family.
  • Her disabilities support group at church.
  • When Ryan was older, working part-time provided a good distraction for her.

Scripture Verse

Mathew 25:40 And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

Prayer

Dear Father, what a beautiful example of the faithfulness of this special family. They put their trust in You, and You never failed them. So many times, when we think we have problems, we find that if we just look, so many others are facing difficulties too. So, help us to always be aware of the needs of others, and teach us to care for each other with Your love.

 

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Caring for Everyone Throughout Her Life

Tamika is the utter definition of an amazing caregiver.  She is the oldest granddaughter in her family and was raised by her grandmother because her mother was a drug addict. At a young age, she started caregiving for her younger cousins and later in life, her grandmother and mother.  It was a pattern that would continue throughout her life.  But she had no idea how that road would twist and turn.

Her 30’s were a very difficult time. She and her husband tried for eight years to get pregnant, even going to a fertility physician.  Tamika became pregnant, but the joy was short-lived as she lost the baby 35 weeks into the pregnancy.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck.  She says, “Words cannot explain the hurt I felt when I lost my child.  I did not know what God was trying to tell me.”  

She started to see another fertility physician with no success.  During this time, Tamika said her faith was tested, and she became angry with God.  Finally, they decided to stop and think about adoption.  Almost 2 1/2 years later, at age 36, she got pregnant again with a baby girl.  Then she had a big surprise later that same year, as Tamika got pregnant again with triplets, two boys and a girl.  She had four babies in one year, one in January and the triplets in November.  However, the joy was tinged with pain as going from no children to four in one year caused a lot of stress.  It was overwhelming, and she and her husband began to have marital problems.  Her husband became so overwhelmed that he left when the triplets were still infants.

While he was gone, Tamika said she was sleepwalking through life. She explains, “I needed help, but I wasn’t good at asking for it.  I knew I had to be strong just like my grandmother taught me. I was taught to never let anyone see you cry.”  She soldiered through and went back to work in order to care for her family.  

Her husband returned after almost a year, and they went to counseling and learned life lessons.  Tamika says, “We learned that when two imperfect people come together, we cannot expect perfection.  Marriage is like a plate.  Through the years, you keep adding to the plate and when things happen, it breaks.  Things in life fall everywhere.  It becomes a mess.  Then it’s up to us to glue the plate back together making it even stronger, so it can hold the same things as before plus more.”  

Today they are much happier.  They have four beautiful, healthy children, ages 5 and 4.  They have learned to be thankful for even the smallest things.  God has helped them overcome so many struggles.  Tamika says, “We have learned to love each other as God loves us.”

Tamika says that God put others, especially an aunt, neighbor, and coach, in her life at an early age to reveal God’s love for her and show her a different way of life. She says, “They helped me see that God loves me. He is a healer. I learned that life will be better if I just keep God first.”

Tamika is still working full-time, but she is fully conscious of her life now and feels wonderful.  She feels that God has prepared her to minister to others who may be going through similar situations.  Just as others helped her envision a different life, so will she inspire others.

What Helped:

  • Her true and constant faith.
  • Her church and work communities.
  • The book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson.

Scripture Verses:

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the Lord!

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

Prayer

God, you do give us the strength to soldier on when our lives feel impossible. You are a never-ending source of help. When we pass through these difficulties, we become stronger and more able to empathize with others who are struggling. Use us to minister to others in similar situations and show others Your peace and strength.

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When a Young Mother Suffers from Depression

Jane struggled with depression and anxiety throughout her teens and now at the age of 28, this terrible disease has really taken her down once again. She just had her first child and currently suffers from post-partum depression. While she truly loves her newborn, she is overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caring for her. She has watched her friends with newborns experience so much joy, and she feels guilty that she isn’t feeling the same response.

Her doctor and psychiatrist are working together to help her, and she is in counseling.  Jane knows that she is fortunate to have so much support. Her husband has been a godsend, and her mother, Julie, has been there daily to help care for the baby.

Julie has helped in every way she knows throughout the years. “It is so very difficult to watch your child struggle with this devastating disease,” she says. “And now with a new baby here, it is even sadder since this should be a happy time.” Jane is fortunate to have a very supportive family.

Jane has had several nervous breakdowns. The first of which happened at the age of 19 when she was in college. Jane was in a verbally abusive relationship for a year, which caused her to have horrible insomnia that made the depression worse. At this young age, she really didn’t know what was happening to her. Finally, she did see a psychiatrist, who prescribed an antidepressant and medication to help her sleep. At last, her despair lifted, and she was able to make a clear decision to end the relationship. She worked with a psychologist to understand both the disease and the reasons why she chose abusive men. It was a long and arduous road. Also, she discovered that depression has a strong genetic component – depression was prevalent in her father’s family. She has two siblings who have also experienced mild depression.

“After watching my father’s relatives suffer from this disease when I was young, I prayed that I would never struggle with it,” said Jane. “Looking back I realized that I was an anxious child. I was just really good at hiding my feelings. At first I kept it a secret even from most of my friends. Actually, group therapy really helped as I finally found some people my age who were struggling too.”

Jane is working hard to overcome her current depression and become the mother she wants to be. She feels confident that with help from God and her family, she will get through this. She likes this quote from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young: “What I require of you is to stay connected to Me living in trusting dependence on My limitless resources. When you face unexpected demands, there is no need to panic. Remember that I am with you. Talk with Me, and listen while I talk you through each challenging situation. I am not a careless God. When I allow difficulties to come into your life, I equip you fully to handle them. Relax in My Presence, trusting in My Strength.” 1

What Has Helped:

  • The support and love of her parents and siblings.
  • Understanding the disease.
  • The work she did and is doing with her counselor.
  • Medication has helped.

Scripture Verse:

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Prayer

Dear Father, sometimes our struggles seem insurmountable, but even in our darkest moments You are always there. See us through these dark periods as we put all our trust in You. You will set us on Your perfect path.

 1 Young, Sarah (2004). Jesus Calling. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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Caring for Triplets Plus One

Haley and Zach are the parents of four beautiful children – triplets aged two and a one year old. They consider Joshua, Hannah, Charlie Fay, and Phoebe to be their greatest blessings. Haley and Zach walked the path of infertility for three and a half years before successfully becoming pregnant with their triplets. They always knew they were meant to be parents. Throughout the multiple Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) medical fertility treatments, they prayed together each step of the way. 

During quiet prayer times, Haley felt the Lord impress the number “3” upon her mind and heart; “3, 3, 3” everywhere. Her eye would catch and pause at three flowers growing in her yard; three cupcakes on her birthday card. Even silly things would pop in her head like “the three amigos!” She was not sure of the purpose and significance of it, but she journaled it all and prayed. 

Haley and Zach finally came to the point where they felt ready for Invitro Fertilization (IVF). IVF is much more physically, emotionally and financially difficult to undergo than all the previous treatments. 

Haley says, “God works in your life during hard times. Just ask Him and He will be with you.” Haley and Zach read Scripture and listened and asked for God’s will to be done. 

The first IVF procedure failed. The two embryos that were transferred did not implant. In early June of 2015, Zach and Haley once again returned for a second round. Their patience and faith were rewarded. They had three embryos this time.

On the day of transfer, the doctor recommended that they only transfer two embryos and freeze the third for later. This is typical protocol. Medically, it is riskier to transfer more than two embryos. But all Haley and Zach could think of was the months and months of “3, 3, 3.” That still, small voice said, ” I want all three.” There was no question; all three had to be transferred together. 

With Zach by her side, the room was abuzz. On Haley’s left hand side, she could see the camera magnifying her three embryos. They actually formed a small triangle. “It’s a little cheerleading pyramid!” declared one doctor. “Never seen that before,” said another doctor. Several weeks later, Haley and Zach saw and heard the three beating hearts of their babies at their first sonogram. They were born at 33 weeks and 3 days. (More threes!) 

When the triplets were eight months old, Haley and Zach got the surprise of their lives. They were pregnant! Phoebe was born 16 months after the triplets. She is truly a blessing, and Haley reports she is an easy-going baby. Haley says, “She is a demonstration of who God is. He loves to bless his children more than we can imagine.”

Haley and Zach definitely grew in their marriage and faith before the births, and it prepared them for raising their four children. Even now they schedule date nights and were able to have one getaway weekend this year. 

They are blessed with a very supportive family who live close by and have been a tremendous help. Also, Haley said the international and non-denominational Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Group has been a Godsend. 

Today, Haley continues to pray for, and now with, her children each day.  She has a special verse for each child, and prays aloud over them along with teaching them to pray. She also journals her prayers.

“Although I can’t be there as much as I could for one child, God can be with them when I can’t,” says Haley. She loves taking the babies on walks and enjoys the opportunity to share Christ on her walks. Haley and Zach truly live their faith and are a beautiful example of God’s blessings. 

What Has Helped:

  • Their faith and prayer life.
  • Their parents’ help.
  • The support of their community.
  • The following books:

        –  A seed of Hope: God’s Promises of Fertility by Evangeline Brown Colbert.

        – Waiting in Wonder: Growing Faith While You’re Expecting, A Devotional Journal by                        Catherine Claire Larson.

  • Moms in the Making – Online Support Group, click here   

Scripture Verse: 

Habakkuk 2: 1-3 I will stand at my watch and station myself upon the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the Lord replied: Write down the revelation and make it plain upon tables, so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

Prayer:

Dear Father, thank you for the blessing of these four children to parents who had faith and trusted that you would provide. You knew the plan all along. We pray that all of us can learn from Haley and Zach’s example. Only You know when the time is right. We just need to keep the faith; regardless how difficult the journey is. You never let us down.

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Caring for Two Special Needs Children in Family

Like so many young women, Angie thought she would marry and have a beautiful, perfect family. But life has a way of putting some speed bumps on our road in life.  When she and her wonderful husband, Brett, had their first child, it looked like her wish had come true. Their oldest daughter, Anais, was bright, precocious, and very active. So when they had her second child, Angelle, she and Brett realized early on that things were different. At three months of age, she wasn’t acting like a normal three-month-old. As time went on, she wasn’t sitting up or crawling and was nonverbal, but she had a very lovable nature.  So Angie turned to her Mom, who recommended taking her to the pediatrician. Unfortunately, the doctors couldn’t do a full assessment until later. Finally, at age one, she received the diagnosis of cerebral palsy, which is a kind of umbrella for many different symptoms. One of the things they were able to correct quickly was her eyesight, and glasses helped tremendously.

Brett and Angie found a physical therapist, whom they considered an angel, to do intense therapy for six hours a day, and Angelle did begin to walk. However, since she also has scoliosis, she can’t walk normally.  She is still nonverbal. Despite all of hurdles, Angie says, “I believe God chose us, and Angelle chose us.”

Their third child, Grant, was a surprise. He was their third child in five years. It became clear early on that he manifested behaviors that matched autistic children. He was diagnosed with mild to moderate autism. Angie says that Grant “lives in his head.” He talks all the time, but he mostly repeats movie lines. He doesn’t have physical issues, so he doesn’t look different. Angie feels that autism is such a baffling disorder. For example, initially he would only eat five types of food since he has food texture issues. However, he has come a long way with help and love.

At first, Angie wondered why she was given another special needs child, and Anais struggled with having two special needs siblings. However, both Brett and Angie’s mom were a huge help. As they were growing up, it truly took three adults for three children. Also, Angie has nothing but good things to say about the Plano Independent School District for her children.

Angie says, “I can’t look too far ahead as it becomes too overwhelming, I have to simply trust in God.” Brett is a personal trainer and rises early so that he can be home in the afternoon to help. Angie works part-time out of her home. Together they are in the trenches 24/7. She says Brett’s strong faith has been a huge help, and they are celebrating their 30th anniversary soon. They manage to have “daytime dates” every Friday as they are just too tired in the evening.

Their oldest daughter lives in Montana and, as much as they want to visit her, it is very difficult to take a family vacation. Just going out for dinner causes problems as Angelle has verbal outbursts which frighten people. Although Angie explains the situation to people, it is frustrating. She says that people say, “I don’t know how you all do it.” Angie and Brett do not feel special – rather they are like any other couple who would do anything for their children.  “It is what it is. You have to make the best of it,” says Angie.

Grant is now 16, Angelle is 18, and Anais is 20. Throughout the years, Angie says her greatest lesson learned through caregiving was humility. She didn’t get her perfect family, but she wouldn’t choose differently. “God has given us our children for a reason,” concludes Angie.  

What has Helped:

  • Prayer is at the top of the list.
  • Trust in God.
  • A very supportive husband.
  • A mother who is always there to help.

Scripture Verse:

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Prayer

Dear Father, there is a purpose for the difficulties in our lives. You always have a plan for us. We can count on You to give us the strength and the acceptance we need to see us through all of our trials. Help us to come to You with a grateful and trusting heart as Angie and Brett do each day.

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Caring for a Child with Depression and Anxiety

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Amanda’s story began when she was 10 years old. She began having horrible nightmares and couldn’t sleep at night. She began sleeping with her parents each night since she didn’t feel safe anymore. By age 12, it progressed into panic attacks and depression. In 7th grade, she was depressed, unmotivated, and tired most of the time.

Her parents were very proactive in getting help. They spoke with her teachers and the school counselor. Since Amanda was an excellent student and didn’t look different, at first the school community didn’t recognize she needed help. Plus, she was able to hide it so that others wouldn’t know. Her parents applied for accommodations which give students who qualify extra time to complete homework and tests. They were denied. However, after becoming more aware of the situation, the counselor and teachers were very understanding and agreed to give her individualized attention as needed.

By the 8th grade, she was completely stressed and burned out. She didn’t want to get out of bed.  Based on the advice of her counselor, they agreed there were certain things she must do. She had to shower, eat, and go to school. It was a very difficult time for the family. She had always been a straight A student, who was heavily involved in school activities. However, the stress of this disease had taken its toll on her physically and emotionally, and she was completely exhausted.

Fortunately, her counselor taught her coping mechanisms through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel. The counselor and CBT were a huge help.

It took several tries to find a psychiatrist they liked, and even longer to find a medicine that worked well without many side effects. Several medications, which helped the depression, had a lot of intolerable side effects. She went through many trials before they found the right one. They learned there isn’t a quick fix for depression and anxiety.

Amanda and her family agree that the strongest message is that depression is a disease and shouldn’t be kept a secret.  Her mother says, “You didn’t do anything to get this, and it will not go away without the proper therapy and medication, if needed. As a parent, admitting that you cannot help your child without the proper professionals is a difficult thing to realize, but this awareness is key.”

The family learned that therapy and medication should be continuously monitored even if symptoms improve, rather than discontinuing treatment. This may be a lifelong struggle for some patients.

Today Amanda is doing well. She is now a sophomore in high school. Blessings do come with our trials, and in this case her illness has made her a very compassionate and sensitive person. She has several friends who are in similar situations, and she has been able to offer help to them. She has also volunteered at organizations that increase mental illness awareness.  Depression is such a difficult disease, but Amanda and her family pulled together to get through this with God’s help.

These two quotes from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young seemed appropriate to Amanda’s story, “Bring me your mind for rest and renewal. Let Me infuse My Presence into your thoughts. As your mind stops racing, your body relaxes and you regain awareness of Me. This awareness is vital to your spiritual well-being; it is your lifeline, spiritually speaking.” 1

“It is not so much adverse events that make you anxious as it is your thoughts about those events. Your mind engages in efforts to take control of a situation, to bring about the result you desire. Your thoughts close in the problem like ravenous wolves. Determined to make things go your way, you forget that I am in charge of your life. The only remedy is to switch your focus from the problem to My Presence. Stop all your striving and watch to see what I will do. I am the Lord!” 2

What Helped:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
  • Learning coping mechanisms and triggers in her thought processes.
  • Support from family and friends.
  • Cooperation between teachers and her school counselor.
  • Finding a good psychiatrist and counselor.
  • The right medication.

Scripture Verse:

Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Prayer

Let us remember that you are always holding our hand, so we are never alone in our trials. We can always trust You to care for us as our loving Father. Teach us to thank You always even for our difficult times. Help us to relax in your healing presence, so that we can receive Your peace each day.

1  Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004) 151.

2 Young, Jesus Calling  148.

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Raising a Precious, Special Child with Autism

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Chase is a beautiful and loving child, who was diagnosed with autism at 20 months of age by a neuropsychologist. But his mother, Tania, knew that something was different much earlier as he wasn’t speaking and had atypical physical behaviors, such as being fascinated by the pattern of light and shadow in a play area rather than the play equipment. Tania was not surprised or devastated by the diagnosis. Instead, she immersed herself into the flood of literature about autism, its theories, and therapies. Tania is a very proactive person who looks for answers. She quit her corporate job as she also had a seven year old child and a one year old child at home at the time. She considers herself very fortunate to have been able to stay at home with all of them, and she credits Chase for that decision.

Simultaneously, through family, she was blessed to connect with a graduate professor at the University of North Texas who specialized in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to treat autism, particularly in early childhood. Chase’s program over the next three years consisted of one-on-one therapy for up to 40 hours a week. Tania calls these teachers “angels” as their commitment to Chase and the family was life-changing. Tania believed that the development of language must be pursued relentlessly. Windows of opportunity exist for language development, and the first of these closes by the age of five or six.

As Chase has matured, Tania has witnessed how important it is for him to be able to express himself. She says, “Not only does language allow for further learning in all realms of life, but when a child understands his emotions and can express him or herself, the child can avoid frustration and tantrums.  As a family, we experience the positive impact of his continuing development of language on a daily basis.”

When Chase became school age, she and her devoted husband, Philip, explored the special education program their school district had to offer. They quickly discovered that the quality of services provided by the state isn’t consistent. Tania says, “I know of many families who moved their households, even out of state, to receive adequate support from the system.” She and her husband moved locally to Northwest Independent School District. It was there that they were blessed to make another wonderful connection – Chase’s lead teacher for the next few years was highly effective in the classroom and became one of Tania’s best friends.

Tania admits that she was fearful of Chase being teased or harassed by other children. Personally, she certainly experienced dirty looks from other parents and adults when Chase was undergoing a major meltdown out in public. These meltdowns would consist of screaming, running, jumping, hitting, sometimes cussing, and fortunately no longer, spitting.

Interestingly, when Chase was younger, negative responses from members in the community were more frequent and seemingly more judgmental.  Partially, she attributes this to Chase’s appearance, for his appearance alone does not reveal his developmental disorder. She thinks others might have wondered, “What is wrong with that kid? Why can’t those parents get their kid under control? Geez, get that kid out of here so I can enjoy my dinner out.”

She explains, “But for us, as well as others who have a special needs family member, we don’t want to have to hide at home.  We believe that our family as a whole, as well as the special needs person, deserve the opportunity to be members of our communities.”

Chase is now a sophomore in high school.  The staff and students at his current school are quite supportive.  Last year at Byron Nelson High School, the Senior Prom King and Queen were two members from his special needs class.  Tania believes the culture has changed.  In her high school experience, this would have never happened.  She stresses the importance of inclusion for persons of special needs in our communities and schools.  And she believes in a reciprocal benefit for typical children and adults from their exposure to and experience of what atypical persons can offer.   

For the most part, these days, the community does seem welcoming of Chase’s differences. For example, Chase’s odd behavior includes asking a stranger if they have a Wii, a PlayStation 2, a PlayStation 3, a PlayStation 4, an Xbox, and DVD player, consecutively. At first, the stranger may raise their eyebrow with confusion, but then they do have an “aha” moment and play the game, answering in succession, “No, I don’t have a Wii, no PlayStation. Yes, I do have a DVD player. It’s in my living room.”

Tania says, “Experiences like these make us laugh.  And truly, the emotions we experience as we parent Chase are quite similar to those we have with our now other three children.  Yet, the circumstances themselves are decidedly different and perhaps atypical.  Then again, each of our children, in fact, all children are very different from one another.”

Undeniably and as with all families, challenges exist. Tania’s fears include the possible negative effects her other children have endured surrounding the difficulties of having a special needs brother.  And sometimes she fears for the future of Chase’s well-being, knowing she and Philip will age and will no longer be capable of caring for him.

She says, “Nonetheless, when I consider the impact of having a special needs child, I face that much in life is relative, and one’s experience is hugely dependent on one’s perspective.  I choose to focus on the positives of life whenever possible.  Chase’s birth allowed me to be a “stay at home mom” for all of my children.  Chase has experienced loving and highly effective educational support that has brought friends and families together.  The experiences Chase brings to our family, just as what each family member offers, define us.  I have always wished for my children to be happy and healthy.  And through our combined experiences, I believe this ideal is achieved.”

What Helped:

  • This family’s beautiful perspective on caring for a special needs child.
  • The book, Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth and Everyday Magic, by Martha Beck.
  • ABA therapy and a good school environment.
  • Teachers who were like angels to this family.

Scripture Verse:

1 John 4:11-12. Beloved, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help us to remember we are all your children regardless of our differences. You love all of us equally. Help us to embrace our differences and live together with love and gratitude every day.

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The Big Decision – Moving Aging Parents into a Home

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“It’s definitely time for a nursing home,” says Joan. She and her siblings have helped to care for their aging parents, who have been living in their own home forever. Both parents, George and Linda, have had numerous health problems including diabetes, pancreatitis, cancer, severe depression, and now dementia. Recently, they have had several falls when no one was there to help them up. George has been the primary caregiver for his beloved Linda, but his health is beginning to fail.

The siblings have had a plan to keep them together in a nursing home that their parents had chosen. However, after visiting the home recently, George became depressed and refused to leave their own home. “I’ll live and die at home,” he said.

The siblings enlisted the support of their gerontologist to help convince them that the time to move had come. However, George still refused. While they have Home Health, the majority of the care still falls on George. Unfortunately, the chosen nursing home now has a waiting list.

Joan and her siblings are at a loss. While they divide the tasks, they can’t be there all the time, and the frequent falls have them very concerned. Plus, they all agree that the isolation of living at home isn’t healthy. George and Linda watch television the entire day. The siblings agree that social interaction would be good for them, but they’re afraid that it will take something dramatic to change George’s mind.

Joan and her siblings agree that there may be some guilt about moving them, but their decision is based on what’s best for their parents at the present time. They know they can’t be there all the time, and they can’t prevent bad things from happening.

Joan has researched the topic and has read that often putting a parent in a nursing home is the most loving act that a child can do because it improves the quality of the parent’s life from medical and social perspectives.

What Has Helped:

  • A unified plan and frequent sibling communication.
  • Siblings dividing the help and working as a team.
  • Their gerontologist is a big support.

Scripture Verse

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please intervene for us. Soften our father’s heart so that he comes to accept this situation, which is truly needed. Please help us to not feel guilty about this decision as it has been made out of love. Instead, help us to trust in You.

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Young Mother Cares for Son With Rare Seizure Disorder

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Karen is a young woman who got pregnant at 16 and has been pretty much on her own ever since. The father never even saw his child, and her parents weren’t supportive of her situation. Fortunately, she did have one cousin who supported her. Her son, Wesley, was born when she was seven months pregnant, and he had to stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for two months. He has a rare seizure disorder, called KCNQ2, and he averaged ten seizures a day initially. Then when he was two months old, he stopped breathing and was brought back to life with CPR and a ventilator. Quite a lot for a young person to handle alone.

This amazing young woman somehow completed high school while caring for him and waitressing. She felt completely isolated, depressed, and overwhelmed. Plus, she blamed herself for everything and harbored a lot of anger. Her mother told her not to cry, so she didn’t. Instead she held everything inside. This is the first time she has told her story, and it was very cathartic for her.  It is her hope that by sharing her story, she will touch other young mothers who may be in similar situations.

Fast forward to today. Wesley is four years old now, can’t walk or talk, and is in a wheel chair. He is in a special program at school for four hours a day. She said that whenever she takes him out in public, people stare at them and that makes her angry. She has a new man in her life, who is very supportive. He works very hard so that she can stay home to care for Wesley and for their one year old daughter, Julia. His family has been very supportive too.

Karen says, “Wesley has made me a better person, and I look at life differently now. I don’t take things for granted.” Even though she is still very isolated during the day, she enjoys her daughter, who loves her older brother. Sometimes to get a break she goes out for a drive when someone else is there.

Karen is now 20 years old and finally has the emotional support she needed during those difficult days on her own. She has been a good mother and faced her numerous trials with help from God.

What Helps:

  • Going for a drive by herself.
  • Having Wesley in school for four hours a day.

Scripture Verse

Isaiah 41:10   Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Prayer

This single parent’s prayer seemed to reflect Karen’s situation when she was completely on her own.

By Matt Haviland, October 23, 2014, at www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com

Father,
I come before You today broken, yet humbled. Thank You my Lord for another opportunity to serve You; and although my circumstances may be far from ideal right now, they could not be in more perfect hands than Yours. Jesus, You call for all of us who are weary and heavy laden to come before You and that You will give us rest. God, my body and my soul both need rest right now. There are days I feel like nothing is going right; other days I am irritated and stressed beyond what it seems like I can handle; and there are times I wonder how I am ever going to make it on the path You have laid out before me. But then I reflect upon Your promises for my life. You have promised to never leave me nor forsake me; and that every good gift is from above. I believe Jesus has been tried and tempted in every way I have and that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. And for that today, Lord, I am grateful. 

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