We Are Not Alone

An update on our son and our family

We are so humbled by the outpouring of shared stories and support after our post Why I Won’t Accept Your Help. It seems that so many of us are caught in a place of prideful/wishful thinking. We wish we could do it all. We can’t. If having a special needs child has taught me anything it is that I am NOT in control. I can’t do this alone.

Moving Up

I am stronger when I am walking alongside others on this journey of life.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV).

Our oldest son has FASD, he is also plagued by the trauma and neglect he suffered in the first year of his life. For many years, we kept his struggles, and our own, private. Even now, we are careful to protect the details of his story, so that one day he may choose to share only the parts that he is comfortable with. What we share on Confessions of a Parent is meant purely to strengthen the parents and children in our community and point families toward resources.

Our son’s brain damage manifests itself in a way that is impulsive and oftentimes dangerous to himself and others around him. His heart is good, kind and generous, however his brain cannot attach consequences to actions. While he was living at home, we could not provide the structure he needed to stay safe. We have found hope in a program that is teaching him to use a different part of his brain to make good choices. He is practicing self-control and self-regulation in a way he never has been able to do before. The goal of this program is reunification and reconciliation. It is our hope that our son will soon be able to return to our home and our community.

Each month Mike and I take turns traveling to see our son. Our goal is to maintain the safety of our son while building and strengthening our parent/child relationship. Each family member writes letters and participates in phone calls each week. At home we are preparing for his return by turning our office into a bedroom. We are in contact with our local school to get his new IEP in order. We are researching recreational activities our son can be a part of that will meet his need for structure while allowing him to just be a regular kid. We are moving furniture and selling things that are not necessary. Mike and I have decided to sell our book, The Adoptive Parent Toolbox for a special low price and bonus offer. (Click here to get the book). My daughters and I even opened an etsy store as a fun way to add a little income! (Click here to see the store and shop).

We have learned to face our son’s needs with a sense of adventure and hopefulness. As many of you know, being a special needs parent is a constant balancing act between structuring life around the need and allowing the child to live this life unhindered by constant special circumstances.

A few weeks ago our dearest friends set up a fund to help us in this balancing act of life as we work toward bringing our son home. (Click here to see the page and donate). I must admit, I have struggled with embarrassment over others knowing of our inadequacy to provide everything for our son. I know now that my embarrassment has clouded my understanding of reality. The need for community is not an inadequacy. We were never meant to live this life alone.

Question: Have you personally discovered the power of community? Ever had someone in your community reach out to you and offer to help? Share your story with us. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Hi Mike and Kristin, I heard about you through Michael Hyatt’s Platform University makeover. I’ve been reading his content for the better part of this year. I’m looking forward to seeing the implementation of his strategies in your blog!

    I can relate to your situation. My 8 year old son is on the autism spectrum, and my wife and I had a very difficult time with his behaviors. Especially myself. I would struggle with him most at church, where I had to constantly bring him out of the services because of disruptive behavior. I was frustrated. Even though our church was supportive and no one made disapproving glances at us while we struggled, I was upset to be the one who couldn’t keep my son in line.

    Finally, one day, an older lady at church took me aside to talk with me. She said, “I’ve seen you struggle with your son so much and I want to let you know the problem is not with him…it’s with you. He’s great.” I knew she was speaking the truth. I accepted what she said, and told her thank you.

    A few months later, my mother in law noticed I was so much more calm with my son now, and we were getting along so much better. She wondered what made the difference. I said, “I don’t know.” And then a light bulb went off. “You know, I think it was that lady at church–what she shared with me–God used it to make a change in me that I couldn’t make in myself.”

    And now, about two years later, our relationship is so much better; his negative behaviors are merely a fraction of what they used to be. And that is the power of God working within a church community!

    • Hey Matt, thanks so much for reaching out to us. Wow, sounds like you’ve walked a very similar road to us. Those defining moments can be painful but oh so helpful in our growth as parents. So glad to connect with you and very cool that you follow Michael Hyatt. He’s the real deal in Platform growth and personal development!

  • Allisonm

    I am happy to hear that your son is progressing so well and hope that he will soon be home with you.