How do we handle this?

Blaze making brownies for his science project!

So we keep moving forward in our daily lives doing our best to be patient, respectful,  and above all consistent…… so why is it we are struggling so badly with one of our kiddos?

Our 13 year old with autism is genetically predisposed to high cholesterol and diabetes. His labs just aren’t improving no matter what we do! We have all sweets on lock down and portion control with low fat everything (which has been more than a fight, however instead it has been an on going battle). We know he sneaks anything he can find but yesterday was …. well …. beyond words!

We had about 8 left over JoJo fries from an event that I had put in the garage refrigerator door and forgot about them. So we are about 9 days in the fridge at this point. So something was missing and in front of the therapist my husband checks the 13 year olds pockets and he pulls out about 5 of the JoJo fries that are warm! I ask him why he had those in his pocket and when he got them because he has not been alone in the garage today…… the answer made my skin crawl….. “I grabbed them yesterday and have had them in my pockets since”!!!!

Incert the turning green mom who is struggling to not vomit here! The caseworker asks him if he has been eating them and he answered yes. Again I am grossed out!

So what do we do with this? We have been working very hard to keep him improving and working on teaching healthy life styles chose so his future will be improved, however it seems that we are just pushing him to sneak food! I reviewed that this is the reason we have to restrict his portions. Being a nurse I reviewed why we store foods in the cold refrigerator and what it is like to have food poisoning. As you probably said when you read this …. it did nothing!

How do we keep him safe and healthy? We are struggling to do what is right in the situation! I have turned it all over to God several times but in my human weakness I continue to take it back feeling completely unequipped to handle this situation and that it’s not God’s problem but mine! I know this is crazy, but it is where I go!

Here we are again ……

It’s Monday morning and believe it or not we had a very amazing weekend! I am in awe of how our weekend went very smoothly with only one or two issues with one of the boys.

We went to Chino to my Mom’s house on Saturday and we worked hard at getting our garden ready for planting, moved the kids chicks out to the chicken coop, and started making progress on reviving my Stepfather’s metal sign business!

Sunday was a day of rejoicing with our Lord, getting our laundry completed for the week, and I road a bike for the first time in over 20 years! It was a beautiful day spent with many fun memories and lots of smiles.

And then came Monday ……. kids not getting moving making other kids late for school, and kids fixating on the clouds since it relates to the evening hockey games! I woke up this morning to instant stress!

It is so frustrating and annoying how our family can go from being so happy and gelled to then overnight it seems to all fall apart. What am I missing??

How do kids that were all laughs and smiles one day turn into buckets of anxiety and stress for each of them. I can only say it is the struggles of the last month of school! Here we are working towards the last day, however the impending change in routine is already making a great ripple in their little worlds that no parent can stop.

The kids just want to be heading to Nana’s house to start pulling apart palettes, grinding on the signs that are made, continue to watch the chickens, and play with all the dogs. Helping them to see it is not that long until it is time for all this to occur is by no means an easy task. We have highlighted the last day for each child’s school on the calendar, we have been diligently marking the days off, we have made a fun list of tasks that need to be done, and we have made a list of activities that they all have a desire to attend.

Now our biggest stress is that they will think everything would be done on one day! One of our biggest challenges comes with summer. Keeping all the special needs children feeling safe and in control while not causing issues with the other. We can plan camping trips and skills groups, however there is always that one kiddo that slips through the cracks and ends up just being for summer. We have multiple library trips and therapy appointments, but I still worry that one of the kids will be left out!

So here we go again living in survival mode throughout the final month. How are you all going through the last month and what do you all have planned for summer?

Crossroads

The intersection right outside my house with blooms starting to show!

What do we do when we are faced with an unexpected crossroad? I have been diving into the word and trying to be steeped in God’s presence, however I am being abruptly faced with a crossroad that I thought we were beyond!

After our last adoption we had planned to keep one bed open for a placement with one extra bed for respite. So here we are willing to serve, however we are being asked how we would be able to meet the needs of the other child with so many of our own children already in the home with needs.

How do you put what we do into words and how do you show that you have enough love and support to help one more autistic child?

Here we are at this crossroad! Is God leading us to continue or is He saying well done my faithful servant and closing this door?

A very wise older missionary friend once told us when we were seeking guidance on moving to the Philippines as missionaries, that there will always be needs, however you may not be the ones called to fill that need. I get that! Really I do and thankfully we never left for the Philippines! However, I am struggling to figure out what God is asking is to do now.

Bringing in another autistic child is a huge decision not to be taken lightly as they often interact as though they are flames and dynamite! We have seen that some just blend as seamlessly as is possible for autistic child to blend, however we have also seen the explosions and lived with the aftermath of a conflicting joining of the children under one roof.

I guess my real question for the clinics that are questioning how we are going to do this is….. the same way we always have and you have been right there to see how we handle these situations, given us praise for how we have handled these situations.

I guess my biggest hurt in this entire situation is when did we become unable? I know we have frequently faced judgement and rude comments from those outsiders that don’t understand autism. For some reason those situations roll off like water on a duck’s back, however when my peers start to judge I struggle with how to respond!

I think fear is my enemy in this situation! I am fearful of loosing our current relationships with the clinics and the community of special needs parents. This has been 10 years in the making!

Who am I kidding…. my fear is not knowing how our next phase will be! How will we handle our crisis moments with the boys? How will we have to change our schedule to get the time to work the new business work? How will this new adventure affect us financially?

A dear friend that is my personal prayer warrior has been coming to me for weeks asking how my heart has been, honestly it has been struggling. I just feel like something is off and nothing I do helps to recenter my world. I have prayed, I have barred myself in his word, I was reaching out for guidance, and nothing is working! What is my problem? Hello!

It is because I was not accepting God’s leading to move on! Cue the clueby4’s!!! I get it God! Now I have to step out in faith again. It has been 10 long fought for years to get me where I am today with fostering/adoption, and looking at starting on a new journey at square one in something that I have no experience in, metal and wood working!

Blessing or Curse?

Playing in the summer rain! Always fun!

I know that on the day after Easter I should be overflowing with joy, glowing with God’s grace, and feeling like I am able to handle whatever comes my way, but instead I am faced with a sick kiddo while taking on another child while his foster parents are off for a wedding and the children are starting to buzz with the upcoming summer vacation!

Part of me always looks forward to summer….. but in the same breath I dread all the arguing, hearing how they are bored, and so on. Every year I attempt to plan camping, activities, games, movie nights, game nights, and on and on, to which we never get to due to behaviors, appointments with therapist, funding, visitation, team meetings, behaviors, and more behaviors.

How do you approach summer? I am really hoping that someone has the magic answer for a less nerve racking summer! (If you have a magic wand or potion please let me know in the comments!) Taking children who are or have been in foster care camping is always a gamble! For some it is the reminder that they were homeless before, others it is the smell of the campfire that brings back the trauma of their families misfortune with fire, panicking about having enough food in those boxes, not being comfortable without walls, and on and on. We work hard to replace those horrible experiences with new ones, to take each opportunity to learn new skills, to have new experiences so we no longer find them scary, and in some way building trust between you and the child.

****CAUTION – CAMPING IS DANGEROUS -LEAVE YOUR HELMET ON AT ALL TIMES****

We also continue to work on math skills, reading skills, and the big one …. social skills. There are groups, camps, sporting events, and even art therapy! So often our kids struggle with the change in schedule. I know routine, routine, routine, however it is hard to obtain and keep to a routine with everything in flux.

I personally feel that this is the time that foster and adoptive parents need the most support! Behaviors escalate as the child is being told over and over about school being out, they hear about summer activities that they either like or hate, and they start making their own plans for what they want done this summer (like trips to Disney and Seaworld)! I have always joked around that I just need to find a year round school where the weather stays overall the same! I have been told to look at the equator or at the north and south poles by more than one therapist!

I guess the big thing that we do is try to stay consistent from summer to summer. We know that things will be different this year as we work to help out my parents and learn about metal working, woodworking, and the kids just received a huge bag of seeds that are ready to be planted! I pray that this year is better and we can keep them going with all of these activities, however we will be expecting the meltdowns, the temper tantrums, the threats of bodily harm and address them just as we currently do at home.

I am blessed with an amazing family that is more complicated than most soap operas, however this is where I have been called. Yeah me the only child who was never getting married and NEVER having kids! I could have stuck to those guns, however I would have missed this amazing life! (Ok it is amazingly frustrating often, but still it’s better than anything I could have imagined!)

God knew I needed this smile in my life!

Ray and I made a pact early in our relationship that we would follow God no matter what. This is what got us through oh so many difficult times! We have lived in some pretty hairy periods of working opposite shifts, learning our biological children were not making it in public school, working full time while homeschooling and working towards a Bachelor’s degree, this chaos continued (and still continues today) almost constantly! When fostering came around it was an exciting time in our family because we could feel Jesus in our day to day lives in a very mighty way.

Once we brought the boys in I will tell you it was overwhelming and exhausting! BUT through all the blood, many many tears, and a whole lot of sweat we STILL felt Jesus’ presence! I will never tell you that fostering is for everyone, however I can tell you that if you put yourself out there and you are willing to be used by God, then there is so many experiences that you have to look forward to (some are good, some you could probably live without) and you will be grown!

He is Risen!!

Waiting for their first Seder dinner!

So Easter is a HUGE thing in my life…. that sounds weird, however for me it has nothing to do with eggs (well I love the resurrection eggs, but not the dyed ones), bunnies, or baskets, instead it’s all about the cross!

This year our church offered a Seder dinner with Sam Rotman leading the teaching. I knew this event was going to be a struggle for our three news additions to the family which are very ….. selfish, greedy, and entitled, for lack of a better description. This sounds horrid, however it is exactly what we are facing! Unfortunately these children have been taught to lie about birthday’s to get free items at the theaters, restaurants, etc., telling people running concessions at sports events that they are too cute to not get something for free, and they are all about “potlucks” to get as much free stuff as they can even to the point of be sick. I knew we could get them to be excited to attend because it is called a “dinner “! So we walked in the hall to these plates……

Seder dinner plates.

So I  am sure you can already hear these children’s comments when we walked into the dinner. “Misty I am hungry,  this isn’t dinner!”, “Misty this isn’t what we ordered!”, “Misty you said we would have dinner, not an old person snack”. Again, I gave the vague mom answer of we will have to see because I had never attended these dinner before. I know that a couple of our kids got a little out of the service, however as I think back to last night and the teaching I wonder if they will ever learn to have a servants heart, to be satisfied with what they have, and if they will every fully understand God’s grace and blessings!

As a mother that lives her life on God’s terms, even when it hurts to follow Him, even when I am waiting f-o-r-e-v-e-r for Him to open the door, and even when I am baffled that this is what he has called me to do, how do I move forward with these 3 children who are older and feel that their biological mother does no wrong!

I have always felt that if I just stay the course and continue to be who I am it will make a difference in their lives, however to be 100% honest I am fearful that it is not getting through to them! And this makes me panicked!!!! I don’t want them to be lost, I don’t want them to be swayed by Earthly world views. What do I do? Where do I turn?

As we listened to the stories, history, symbolism, and prayers, I felt God’s presence and I had my eyes opened to pieces of the passover story that I had never paid much attention to. I could see them getting little pieces of the story, however overall they were less than impressed with the entire encounter.

As I went to bed last night I prayed that God would take the meager seeds we have sown and bring a desire to be more like Jesus! Let’s face it every parent, mentor, Big, etc has thought about the positive impact they are making on the children they are interacting with right? So if God has called me to this life of service then why do I feel so ill equiped?

The bloody pool left from the plagues!

As we walked through the Seder meal we talked about God’s plagues on the Earth and we interactively dipped our finger in the grape juice, placing a drop on the napkin for each plaque. After the plagues ended Sam pointed out we each had a pool of what is symbolically Jesus’s blood. And then he took it even farther!!! Each year his family would do this and then his mother would take the “plagued” napkins and burn them in the back yard essentially removing the bad from their home, just as Jesus’s blood has wiped all the sins of our heart away. I instantly closed my eyes and prayed that Jesus would become a real tangible person to them throughout the rest of the dinner and that they would see just how much he gave for them personally.

Waiting to take the drink of redemption.

As you can clearly see, Ozzy was not impressed by any of the dinner including the juice and the story! He sat like this with his back to Sam throughout the dinner and interrupted my concentration several times to tell me he was hungry. Not only did he have this reaction last night, but all day today as well! When I asked Blaze what stood out to him the most he voiced that he liked the apple cinnamon paste and when I said was there something that stood out about the story he replied “well I have always wanted to learn how crackers were made”. Incert deep sigh here!!! And little miss Lillian answered that her favorite part was the cracker! Incert yet another sigh here, but wait….. then she added that she loved when Mr. Sam broke his cracker that wasn’t supposed to be touched and said “this is my body broken for you. Oh and when Jesus asked his disciples to guard him, but they feel asleep twice and Jesus cried blood.” INSERT HUGE GRIN HERE!!! She actually listened and got something out of the teaching.

Ok so back to Ozzy, when I asked him what he liked he actually had an answer! “Well I loved Sam’s piano music after the story, and I loved how each piece of plate was a part of the story”. Be still my heart! Those seeds we are planting are oh so slowly taking root!

As I continued asking my children about the evening I heard our second to youngest said he loved how Jesus was crucified and it affect every part of His body for us. Scott voiced how he enjoyed hearing how the Jewish religion and his Christian religion overlapped and “melted together”. Jon said he finally figured out why they put blood over their doors!

I guess what God has shown me through this dinner is that everything that happens is preplanned by God and He is walking with us throughout our crazy journey! I have also been reminded that just as we are faithful so is He!

This is a test, this is only a test of your parenting skills…..

A reminder of God’s grace and a reminder of a time in which life was a lot less hectic!

I often find myself asking if this season of life is some kind of test that I am flunking at miserable or is this just life with trauma survivors that are struggling to reach adulthood?

Currently we have a 17 year old that is stumbling through relationships with the opposite sex and although he was ecstatic to be 18 when he turned 17 he is now in that panic of I don’t want to be an adult. We also have 2 boys that are 13 and are struggling with all those amazing hormones (that is the curse right? Hormones affect their everything and shift every second it seems!) and their own transition into being middle schoolers and finding their nitch in life, while still clinging to their younger selves!

To say that life is challenging right now may be more than an understatement, but instead an out right curse! Right now it feels like I am getting pumbled by rocks whenever they are around. Nothing is getting their attention!! We are in the middle of hockey season with late nights and a lot of waiting around between the two different ages levels and their games. I am doing everything I can to improve the situation by preparing food and taking it with us, taking kids in sets working on school work and chores with one group before getting them ready for their game or getting them back all sweaty and getting them showered and then through their chores and homework. Plus they have fund raising for their summer camp at church, fundraising for the mountain bike season that is coming, supporting my husband as he steps out to start working with my family on medal signs, and it goes on!

Keeping up with everything has completely drained my cup! I have been getting time alone in the bible a couple of days a week and I know my prayer warrior is wearing holes in her knees keeping our family in front of the Lord…… but what do you do when all your efforts appear fruitless?

God has really been shaping and pruning our family right now! We have walked through issues of extreme disrespect with the reason it is occurring is “My mom made eat all my eggs today! It made me mad so I just flipped my classmate off because she was making me even mader”, getting 0’s on all assignments due to an unwillingness to take the test seriously, and announcing that you are dating a girl on Facebook before you have told your parents you are dating said girl. How do you respond to everything when they are hitting you all at the same time?

The best way I can describe it is being purposeful! After attempting to roleplay several scenarios about disrespect to learn that the child is routinely giving 70% at school! So I have to think out of the box and decide that 70% cooked dinner would make a huge impact on the kid that his entire existence is based on food. This did the job because for the first time he is able to see how giving 70% is not what he is capable of, keeping one of the top Goalies out for a game maybe even two because he is unable to complete any task fully including school assignments, and realizing that dating a girl in a different state comes with benefits of never getting to be physically alone with the girl!

I had to make the choice to remain purposeful in my interactions with these kiddos as well work very hard to keep on our scheduled routine. Ray and I are often reminding each other that “hey they are better off here than where they were” or “that is their autism talking, don’t take it personal”! The life we live is by no means an easy one, however we are called by God to live it and he has never let us down, so he will keep us in his grace and favor!

Good Monday Morning

What a great reminder of our position and calling!

Good Monday morning everyone! I pray you had a great weekend full of family, fun, and time with our savior!


Our pastor is working his way through Romans and yesterday he preached on 2:1-11. One of the big things he discussed was the Greek word Krino which translates to Judge. One of the big points he hit one was that we need to learn to use discernment when we do judge.


What does that mean for us? We need to always remember that we are not the judges for our peers. We are to judge what we want to be around, however never judge their sins as we don’t want them to judge ours.
Great point, but what does that mean for our judgment involving our children….. wow hold up! How do we correct them and point them to the Lord without judging? I took a few hours to pray and spend in the Lord’s presence on this topic. This is where God took me……


We need to keep focus on the purpose we are here to serve! God has called us to foster, mentor, and mold these fragile children into productive, loving, serving adults so that they can not only have a better life, but stop the cycle of abuse and dysfunction that they come from!


Ok, so that seems like a great calling, however where does discernment come into the picture? We are called to give them love and guidance, however we often take their choices to heart making it personal! I know I live this every day! I respect our teachers immensely, so when our 13 year old boy refuses to cooperate in class stating he has done enough, calls staff names, or goes walk about through campus invading classrooms or personal belongings I struggle to not go to evil thoughts and fight my desire to run away screaming. I have to remember two things….1st he has Autism and that is the reason for a lot of these behaviors and 2nd we are to review what he did that was wrong, give him his negative consequence, and then move on! Yeah so that is next to impossible right? What he does reflects on us an we don’t want to be seen as a horrible parent who let’s their child behave in this inappropriate way.


I have to stop my self from placing judgement on myself for others! We all do this, right? I can’t be the only one who does this right? At some point in our past we have worried about what others are thinking of us. God really, really has been pushing the discernment piece with me!


First, I have to remember that I am not responsible for my child’s choices and second, the people I fear are judging my parenting skills know my son’s history, they know Ray and I as parents and have joined our team to help this child.


I need to keep this in mind all day every day! God is the one our children will be judged by and we will be judged on our willingness to guide them in the right direction!


Today I pray that we as foster parents, are able to discern those moments in which we need to judge and when we need to turn the other cheek!

Family Challenges and Grace

Shout out to Shannon at Irish Luck Designs for my great new logo! I love it and I love her! Thank you cousin for helping me on my journey!


Family…I know it is a complicated group of people for everyone involved, right, however adding fostering and adoption of kids with special needs can make the entire group even more complicated! I am blessed that I have family that understands my complicated family. Yeah I don’t see them all very often (I mean years in between and several new children often times), however I know if I reach out they are there for me!


Some are more accepting of my kiddos and their issues, while others will help with verbal support and prayers. I think my understanding that the life we are living is not for everyone and we can’t make people understand the huge meltdowns, rude comments, or dirty looks that is often going on with the kids, is one of the major reasons it works for my family. Most of them can be around for a dinner or sporting event, but to be there day in and day out is challenging (trust me it can shake us to our very core some days)!


We have family members that just don’t get it and struggle with our choice to follow God’s leading. These are the harder relationships to keep growing and the ones that stress me out when we have to get together. In my logical mind I know I can’t control the kids behaviors and even though we have prepared the kids to the best of our ability we know there will still be needs that we can’t meeting in these settings, which means there will be meltdowns and rude behaviors, which will trigger the other family members and then the cycle will start. Repeat, repeat, repeat….


I also know that we will pay for these encounters for days after with our boys, however it gives us the opportunity to talk through how family works and how every member is an individual that can handle different things. We try to focus on the fact that they are still loved by these family members, how they struggle with their ability to show their love and they just don’t understand how to appropriately interact with autism or explosive disorder or the list goes on.


I am always so impressed how our fragile children are able to accept these answers and to still vocalize their love for their family members even when it was rough when they were together! Never underestimate your child’s ability to love!

I know those of us that have answered the call to be foster parents are working with children that have experienced trauma on some level, unfortunately it is often by their loved ones that are meant to protect and love them! It is our challenge to help these kiddos see what family is really meant to be and how to navigate the complexity it comes with. Often times early in their placement we are struggling to not only create new understanding of the concept of family, but we are also having to deal with their bio families continued contact, while the judicial system works. This is always tough, because as the child begins to understand family and what that means they will be faced with the lacking of their bio family! Oh this is a challenging point in their foster journey not only for them but for us as well.


This is the point in which we have to switch paths and start talking about how their family members love them, they just don’t have the skills to show them, to protect them, to be present with them, etc. THIS IS HARD! As a parent who knows how much pain, trauma, neglect, heartache, these people have caused a young child we have to stuff down deep our yearnings to point out how horrible their parents are and instead save some sacred amount of love for their parents to keep them from struggling in the future when they are the moms and dads that are making little mistakes as they learn to parent!


Know you are not alone on this journey and that I am always willing to answer questions, give advice, and just listen when you need to pour out the hurt and frustration that comes with family interactions.

My new logo created by the very talented cousin Shannon Mead from Irish Luck Designs!

We’re Not Superheroes!

Welcome to day 4! I feel as though I need to tell you all that we are not superheroes or an earthly saint for being foster parents to troubled boys or for adopting these amazing children, instead we are a couple that has been blessed to have amazing mentors that walked with our family at crucial times in our walk pointing us to follow God’s leading.


We are no more than a husband and wife that have worked to support each other as we walk the path God has put before us! Don’t get me wrong we have periods when we struggle (thankfully it is usually just one of us while the other is closer to God). We definitely have times that we lust over having a “normal” family that cam enjoy vacations, live in a nice house with all the fun adult toys like boats, quads, etc., be able to have dinner parties with just adults, heck to even go to stores with breakable things!

Thankfully we have always had mentors that have pointed us back to God’s calling even when it means saying no!
Words cannot thank those men that came alongside my husband and not only taught him, but lead by example for him to be the head of our family and to lead us. I am also blessed to have such amazingly Godly women that have walked with me teaching me how to be a Godly wife that follows her husband’s leading. They have helped me to learn to follow when it was not my earthly desire, to nudge and even stand my ground when God has clearly spoken to us and Ray has struggled with his earthly desire, and to be faithful to God’s leading even when it means bringing in kids with severe mental health disorders!


Yes we have had more adventures in parenting than the average parents and no I never thought the phrase “well it’s your right to be angry, however it is not your right to lash out at him physically. Now you have a choice, you can take the negative consequence of wiping down the hall walls or you can continue to escalate and we can head to crisis for an intake” or “you have to the count of three to come back in the house before I call the police and report that you have run away” or those ones that while you don’t say it often it never leaves you like “Jon we can’t go to the park without shoes on and you are scaring the old ladies so let’s put our pants on too!”. Oh yes we have had a few kids that truly feel clothing is optional!


I know people often say that God will not give you more than you can handle, however I have learned over and over again that God will give me more than I can handle so that I will turn to him and lean on him as he teaches me how much he loves not only me, but these amazing children that he brings into our home. Yes we have success stories of children moving on to complete high school, be amazing first time parents, and to make a difference in those lives around them, however we have also had plenty placements that we disrupted (when a child is moved without reaching their goals) because we have tried our hardest to reach them, however it just was not working.


I have to admit these are hard to live through. Ray and I are not quitters that quickly give up on a child, however we have learned that often our house is a stepping stone in which we work to teach skills that the children will need for the future, but also we can be the stepping stone that tells the child’s family and team that this child truly isn’t able to be in a family setting. This is heartbreaking! Our goal is to help these children see how family is important and that family should support you. Our goal with their families is to teach them that this child isn’t wanting to destroy your family, however instead he needs more than the normal child to be able to be a part of the family which leads us to work through shared parenting to teach the families the skills we learned much earlier in our walk.


Today I am grateful to all of the mentors that have been a part of our family from the very beginning! I am grateful for each boy that has walked into our home for help (even the ones that I seriously thought would kill me in my sleep!) and their ability to learn and grow no matter how hard it was for them. I am beyond blessed to have an outstanding human being to make this journey alongside. Ray your heart for others especially these children that just need consistency and to know that someone cares, encourages and blesses me everyday! Most of all I am grateful for a God that although I often attempt to shut out because I just can’t do more, is always right there waiting to not only forgive me for acting like a toddler, but to also put me back on His path for our family!

Arizona sunsets often remind me of our journey, periods of dark thunderstorms edged with the bright glow of God’s promise that we are never alone!

Moving On

Day 3…. So we are slowly getting used to our new normal. It is crazy and hectic, however God always keeps us going!
Something has been on my mind recently, the world seems to see all autistics the same and this just blows my mind! We are blessed to have 3 autistic boys in our family. I feel almost as though I am being fake when I write “we are blessed”, many times our lives are turned upside down because of autism, however when I step back and watch all of our children interact with everyone no matter their issue the scales fall from my eyes and the blessings shine through!
Anyway, back to how each autistic child is unique, so we have the joy of having not one, but two “high functioning” autistic boys. For those who haven’t faced this term before it means that two of our boys are beyond smart knowing a ton of facts (that they cannot control when they come flowing from their mouths), formulas (that we will never need….really), and have read just about everything they can get their hands on including their older siblings college history books, however struggle to communicate when they feel poorly (even when passing kidney stones), answer the door or phone appropriately, and textures are either our saving grace or the root of all evil!
Even though these two boys can test gifted (if they are caught on those rare days they actually try to do well on the test), they could not be more different! One is very detail oriented and often times over thinks or over plans everything. He spends hours rearranging cards that he collects and planning the perfect deck that will win at his game nights. The second one never completes anything! You know the Charlie Brown character that is always in a dust cloud ….. yep that is what we live with. He spends more time in his head “playing in his mind” than he does doing anything else. This child takes unorganized to the next level loosing everything that he comes in contact with. More often than not it is found halfway between where he used it last and where it truly belongs!
Then there is our third guy, wow is he different! So instead of being super tuned in to his surroundings to give his input on situations he is completely in his own world. Literally we have to touch him and raise our voice before he knows we are even talking to him and then he only gets the last part of what you say! He is 13 and cannot follow 2 step instructions, he becomes irate when he does not get to do things like ride his bike around the neighborhood with the other kids, however he can’t keep track of cars, hazards in the road, or where he is! He struggles with any social interactions often coming across as rude even though he is using the right words, his body language and tone are completely inappropriate. He is the kid that tells his teachers he has done enough and refuses to move forward during class, returns home and blames his teachers for him not having the items he needs to complete assignments (like the notes he refused to take because he was done for the day), and that his teachers are rude because they try to get him redirected.
So I guess what bugs me is that people hear our boys have autism and instantly look around for someone to be drooling or grunting because they are not able to communicate at all. Then we have those people who think there are no issue with them because they are talking to them, but become extremely offended when they say something rude, too personal, or break into another session of “playing in his mind” which looks as though he seizing when he becomes bored with the conversation.
We have learned over the years that the way we have to approach each child is unique in many ways, however being consistent for them is very important! As I said on day one, consistent was not our family’s strong suit! Over the years we have learned that you have to always get dressed before breakfast and brush teeth in the same order every morning. While each child needs to be treated a little different to meet their needs, they all need unconditional love, grace (which is often the most challenging thing to give…I don’t know how Jesus does it!), and a family that is willing to follow God into the wild side to meet their needs! I guess that is the major message today… we walk through this crazy life due to our willingness to follow God’s leading.
If you are walking the path of fostering, adoption, or just raising special children I want you to know…. You are not alone on this journey and that we are all striving to do what is right for our special kiddos even when the rest of the world doesn’t see it!


Something has been on my mind recently, the world seems to see all autistics the same and this just blows my mind! We are blessed to have 3 autistic boys in our family. I feel almost as though I am being fake when I write “we are blessed”, many times our lives are turned upside down because of autism, however when I step back and watch all of our children interact with everyone no matter their issue the scales fall from my eyes and the blessings shine through!
Anyway, back to how each autistic child is unique, so we have the joy of having not one, but two “high functioning” autistic boys. For those who haven’t faced this term before it means that two of our boys are beyond smart knowing a ton of facts (that they cannot control when they come flowing from their mouths), formulas (that we will never need….really), and have read just about everything they can get their hands on including their older siblings college history books, however struggle to communicate when they feel poorly (even when passing kidney stones), answer the door or phone appropriately, and textures are either our saving grace or the root of all evil!
Even though these two boys can test gifted (if they are caught on those rare days they actually try to do well on the test), they could not be more different! One is very detail oriented and often times over thinks or over plans everything. He spends hours rearranging cards that he collects and planning the perfect deck that will win at his game nights. The second one never completes anything! You know the Charlie Brown character that is always in a dust cloud ….. yep that is what we live with. He spends more time in his head “playing in his mind” than he does doing anything else. This child takes unorganized to the next level loosing everything that he comes in contact with. More often than not it is found halfway between where he used it last and where it truly belongs!
Then there is our third guy, wow is he different! So instead of being super tuned in to his surroundings to give his input on situations he is completely in his own world. Literally we have to touch him and raise our voice before he knows we are even talking to him and then he only gets the last part of what you say! He is 13 and cannot follow 2 step instructions, he becomes irate when he does not get to do things like ride his bike around the neighborhood with the other kids, however he can’t keep track of cars, hazards in the road, or where he is! He struggles with any social interactions often coming across as rude even though he is using the right words, his body language and tone are completely inappropriate. He is the kid that tells his teachers he has done enough and refuses to move forward during class, returns home and blames his teachers for him not having the items he needs to complete assignments (like the notes he refused to take because he was done for the day), and that his teachers are rude because they try to get him redirected.
So I guess what bugs me is that people hear our boys have autism and instantly look around for someone to be drooling or grunting because they are not able to communicate at all. Then we have those people who think there are no issue with them because they are talking to them, but become extremely offended when they say something rude, too personal, or break into another session of “playing in his mind” which looks as though he seizing when he becomes bored with the conversation.
We have learned over the years that the way we have to approach each child is unique in many ways, however being consistent for them is very important! As I said on day one, consistent was not our family’s strong suit! Over the years we have learned that you have to always get dressed before breakfast and brush teeth in the same order every morning. While each child needs to be treated a little different to meet their needs, they all need unconditional love, grace (which is often the most challenging thing to give…I don’t know how Jesus does it!), and a family that is willing to follow God into the wild side to meet their needs! I guess that is the major message today… we walk through this crazy life due to our willingness to follow God’s leading.
If you are walking the path of fostering, adoption, or just raising special children I want you to know…. You are not alone on this journey and that we are all striving to do what is right for our special kiddos even when the rest of the world doesn’t see it!

Yes we take up every chair at the dentist, but they all get seen!