Growing Up Special

Parents of Special Needs and Adopted Children Seeking Excellence

Posts Tagged ‘future’

Nov
30

Be Pepared To Meet The Needs Of Special Needs Family Members

By Rainy on November 30th, 2009

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Today’s post is a guest post by Connie Baum.  She is the author of : http://thehealthyandwealthyyou.com/blog/.   Connie knows of what she speaks regarding caring for loved ones with special needs.  Please read…this comes from her heart.

Toastmasters International stresses to their membership the importance of preparing each speech.  It is important to think each project through, outline it carefully, craft it, and rehearse the presentation to perfection.

 Preparing for our beloved special needs family members is even more critical; the quality of their very lives depends upon how carefully their family members have collectively thought out plans, outlined the needs, and decided together what would be the ideal scenario for the life of that special person in the family.

 Everyone in town knew Marvin.  He was a cheery, personable fellow with special needs and he lived with his parents until his elderly father passed away.  For a decade or so Marvin told everyone he was the man of the house now and was taking care of Mother.  When Mother died unexpectedly, Marvin was left alone, morose, and with no plan in place.

 It was patently obvious Marvin had been well cared for and dearly loved.  Close family members were seriously interested to help Marvin get on with his life after mourning his loss; but, they were unable to care for Marvin in their homes on a long term basis.  When his mother was gone, he was lost and alone.  After much confusion and a flurry of activity by family members and social service workers who intervened on Marvin’s behalf, Marvin was able to find a place to live with an agency well suited to meet his physical and social needs.  They even found work for him in their sheltered workshop!  Best of all, he could take a bus to his home church every Sunday morning!  His value and worth was recognized and all his needs were being met.

Things for Marvin worked out swimmingly.  Families who plan together for every eventuality, including burial and internment, can rest assured the needs of their special family member, whose needs are unique, will be properly met.  It does take some open and frank discussion, contact with trusted attorneys and/or social workers to create a workable plan for the future for the “Marvins” of the world. 

 Implementing these plans can often be painful for family and clients alike.  It can be reminiscent of the loss of death.  It is the demise of the familiar, the comfortable.  Conversely, it is entrance into a bright new world with exciting new opportunities, fresh new relationships and networks, as well as discovery of untapped skills and talents!  There are transitions that are smooth sailing; other times the move into the new world is fraught with difficulty and adjustment comes more slowly.

 Toastmasters members plan for successful speeches; loving families plan for successful lives-particularly where the lives of precious special needs people are their prime consideration.

 Connie Baum

Sep
02

Is There A Need For Support For Families Of Adopted And Or Special Needs Children?

By Rainy on September 2nd, 2008

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        My husband and I are the proud parents of six adopted children.  We have 3 girls and 3 boys.  Each person has their own gifts and blessings.   Some of those children are special needs children; and some are not.  We have children with special needs issues ranging from bi-polarism, to ADHD, to learning disabilities, to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, some have behavior related issues.  One is homeschooled, one is in special education classes, one should have been, and some have benefitted from regular educational services. Some are adults living their own lives very successfully.  Others struggle in some areas of  day- to- day activities.  A couple have to be supervised or encouraged every waking moment of the day to help keep them focussed on being the best person that they can be.  :)    They are all loved, supported and have brought much to our family. 

        Each person has their abilities and their challenges.  None of them did anything to deserve the life they were born into; they had no control over the very beginning of their life.  Yet, each of them must strive to have a loving, healthy, productive and happy life.  It is possible.  Some adaptations may be required for some of my children to have an independent life; but, it is possible.   Since it IS possible, we will do whatever we can do to help make that happen.

          Adoption is a complex thing.  It serves many purposes and yet…it has an ability to wound, to heal, to lift up, to destroy, to save lives, and to shuffle lives.  There are always imprints of a life that was supposed to be; melded into the life that is gifted and aborbed into another family.  There are moments of: celebration, sadness,  regrets, and purposeful choices; adoption is a wonderfully, painful mixture of the emotional buffet of life!  It is a parent’s responsibility to seek excellence for the quality of life for their children.

        Our family is special and unique; I bet your family is too!  We have had many successes as a family; as well as, some twists and turns that were unexpected.   The dream of a new parent doesn’t usually include the expectation that things could turn out differently from the dream of a picture perfect family.  A birth family or an adopted family does not get to choose from an ‘ala carte menu, of challenges it may or may not face.   As most parents would say, we live and breath for our children; and yet, we are not ashamed to say at times…we wonder…did we do the right thing?  Our children didn’t get a choice in life in which family they would grow up in.  There are shades of grey for each person…balancing the pros and cons of adoption.

         Whether a child is brought into a family by birthing it into the family, or by adoption…the child is received with awe, with excitement, and with hope for a beautiful future.  There are unexpected situations at times regarding health issues, behavioral issues, attachment issues, emotional issues and even loyalty issues.  Those things and more can affect the foundation of a family.

         Many families are jolted to learn that their child has special needs or that their adopted child has issues that will affect them and their family for years to come.  It is a difficult time for parents and other siblings to struggle to learn about the issues facing the family…because…none of us go it alone. 

          Family is a support system all unto itself…but, sometimes the issues can seem overwhelming.  That is the time that families need to reach beyond their boundaries that are self imposed, because many do not understand what we face as families with challenges.  Don’t let that stop you from reaching out.  You just might be surprised by the impact that you could have on another…or vice versa.

          Really, for many people going through the shattered reality that their family is not following the dream of perfect completion…there is a sense of isolation and a perceived lack of understanding from others who have not walked in the same pair of shoes.

          So, is there a need for support and information for families who have experiences that can mirror each other?  Is there a wealth of understanding that is untapped because we have not had the opportunity to join forces and absorb techniques and encouragement from one another?  I think there is.  I have heard so many comments that would break your heart.  Families that are under so much strain that they threaten to break and disintegrate under the pressure.  If one person or family can benefit from sharing and encouraging each other here; then, the blog will have served it purpose.

         Do you know someone who has things to share?  Do you know someone who could benefit from a little support or information?  Do you know someone who is facing a future with a special needs child and is struggling?  Do you know someone with rose colored glasses that is thinking about adoption; but, isn’t willing to accept anything less than perfection?  Bring them to a place that will enlighten them, encourage them, and embrace them!  Families should be celebrated and enjoyed…not everyone is blessed with people to share their love with.

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