Growing Up Special

Parents of Special Needs and Adopted Children Seeking Excellence

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Jan
03

LOST AND FOUND DIVISION?

By Rainy on January 3rd, 2009

The plans had been laid for weeks.  Michael Birdsong would spend a few days of his Christmas holiday with us, his parents.  Every day the phone calls got more intense as we discussed the menu, the sleeping arrangements, the time of the church service…

When the big day arrived for him to come home we arrived at his sheltered workshop right on time.  His suitcase was near the door, as was he, greeting us with wild anticipation for his big, exciting, excellent adventure.

Ah, but the fly in the ointment was that Michael Birdsong was NOT wearing his glasses.  When I asked him about them, he turned pale, because he had no clue where they were.  Worse, he panicked at his imaginative idea that his forgetfulness might mean missing out on his Christmas trip!

His staff was sure those specs must be around the workshop someplace…but upon searching, none could be produced.  We loaded the suitcase, and Michael, and drove off.  He was very quiet on the ride home.

We had a lovely holiday, the menu suited everybody, the decorations were to their liking and the candlelight service on Christmas Eve produced tears of joy for all.  Even the weather was cooperative.

We returned him to his Group Home, with the admonition that he and his staff should surely find those glasses.  By now, the staff was sure they were at another workshop.  Or, it was suggested, they might be in another van.  OR…they COULD even be in that disastrous bedroom, which was almost bad enough for the City of York to condemn!  But no one would know definitively until the room was THOROUGHLY cleaned. 

Did I mention Michael Birdsong is not your average neatnik?  Not even close!

His State Services Coordinator got involved in the search.  Everyone on the administrative staff was on the hunt…for a whole week those glasses had not appeared!  The agency was worried about having to buy another pair of glasses.  SO WAS MICHAEL BIRDSONG, with good reason.

Some brave staff member, Jeanie, took it upon herself to oversee the cleaning of that bedroom.  No telling what they might find, eyeglasses notwithstanding.  The job could not be finished in one day, so when Linda came in on Day Two, she and Michael finally got everything clean.  Well, he still had an old, unused prosthesis, but they did manage to stash that on the van so it could go to the maker to be recycled for parts! 

Yes.  They DID, indeed, find the missing glasses.  Everyone at the agency and everyone in Michael’s family, especially Michael, heaved a collective sigh of relief.  You may have heard it.

His glasses were on the counter in the bathroom!

Connie Baum

 
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Dec
17

More Than Enough Love -Guest Blog Post By Connie Baum

By Rainy on December 17th, 2008

I will never forget the absolute thrill of becoming a mother, bringing home our first newborn baby girl.  I was sure then that I could never love another so much…

 

Of course, I was wrong.  When the second baby came home…then, the third …we were infused with the very same brand of hope, the same thrill, the same exhilaration we had experienced with Baby #1.  We learned quickly how exponential love can be.

 

When I became a foster mom the arrival of the newest member of our family was surrounded by different circumstances, but the hope, thrill, exhilaration and exponential love were present as if he had been born to us.

 

This little boy’s reputation had preceded him:  he was three years old, blond, with blue eyes and the social service worker described him as “appealing”.  What she had not mentioned what that he was the wriggliest kid on earth!  It took a case worker and a case aide to deliver this child to us!  Although he communicated with his flirty blue eyes and his grunts and monosyllables he did not have any degree of language skills.

 

Nevertheless, our eyes met and we bonded.  I loved him in the same the way I had loved my own flesh and blood when their impending arrivals were discovered!

 

These three kids, all exited and curious, gathered around the newcomer, stroking his hair, asking him questions, firing queries to their mother about why he didn’t bring more toys.

 

The back story is that this little guy had been born with multiple reasons for his “first mommy and daddy” to be unable to care for him.  He had an open spine, a shunt to manage spinal fluid, double club feet and he was incontinent.  Because of his special needs, the little charmer had been shunted from pillar to post.  He lived in a children’s hospital, an orthopedic hospital and foster homes during the first three years of his life.  Before his arrival to our home, he had been in four foster homes in three months, and three of those homes in 21 days.  It was no wonder he was wriggly and cute!  It was the only defense he had if he hoped to stay in one home for any length of time!

 

For our first dinner with him, fried chicken was on the menu.  We put him in the highchair that had served our own kids and set a melamine plate before him.  On the plate was a drumstick.  We were not sure what foods he could eat but thought finger food could be a winner.  He took the plate in one hand and the drumstick in the other and threw them in two directions!  Our children, wide eyed, were AGHAST!  That memory is one we all carry in our heads but we grin about it now.  Even that little boy, all grown up now, laughs about his childish table manners!

 

When it was bedtime I could not find our nine year old daughter.  At long last I discovered her on the floor of her bedroom closet.  She was crying.  She showed me the entry she had made in her diary:  “Today our new brother came to live with us and he is as wild as an Indian.  All the kids at school will make fun of him but I love him already.”

    

Connie Baum

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