Choosing Autism in Adoption
April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. Everyone at this point in our country has a good idea of what Autism is. This month, as we set it apart to create awareness, let's focus on Autism and Adoption and how permanency is desperately needed by countless children across our country in the foster care system.
I have spent hundreds of hours researching Autism. I wanted to know more. I wanted to be informed. I wanted to be the best parent possible for my son when he was diagnosed in 2013. "No one can obsess like you can," my husband would say as he would roll over and go to bed at two in the morning, while I tried to make sense of medical journals when I didn't understand the jargon. But God knew. He knew that it wasn't about parenting a special needs child. It would be something much bigger. It would lead us on this crazy foster care rollercoaster. Over our years since licensing, we have had many calls for children on the spectrum. Can you help?
Sometimes it was a weekend; at times, it was for a season. For this one truly incredible little person, it turned into forever. Yes. Such a small word that brings breathtakingly powerful and lasting impacts. It will change you forever. I don't believe that every person is called to adopt. But I believe that we are equipped for a reason. As a parent of a child with special needs, I knew how to advocate. I knew how to fight. To my licensing specialist who was on that call where I got a little feisty over a child's medical needs in our care, I apologize for losing my composure. But, I am not sorry for fighting for him. That's my job. I don't believe Autism is a gift. Watching my children struggle and practice for hours on end to do what comes naturally to every other child around me will never be easy. But there is so much beauty and life and amazingly incredible corkiness bursting from our home. I have a front-row seat to see my children crush obstacles and surpass the goals therapists set. We didn't know if my son would be verbal, and now he can say phrases like "icky dog bowl" and "taco day!" And last week, he told me he loved me. I know, buddy. You didn't have to tell me. You are just showing off now.
So what can you do for autism and adoption this month? You can say yes!
Yes, I will offer to babysit for a family who has a child with autism for a night out.
Yes, I will educate myself on autism and adoption.
Yes, I will pray for more foster and adoptive families for children on the autism spectrum.
We all can say yes! They may be different, but every "yes" matters.
It will change you forever.