When Boog was around two he had already been diagnosed with Autism and was beginning his first school to work on occupational therapy, circle time, table work and hopefully speech. There was a lot of fear at that time, but also a lot of hope for the future. Boog started full time school two months after his second birthday. Receiving so many hours of intense early intervention is the only method that has proven to help children with Autism.
I don't remember when, but at some point people began asking when I would give Boog a sibling. It was a difficult question to answer. I really wish no one had even asked me that, but I understand why they did. I am an only child with no real extended family. My parents are now in their 60's and it terrifies me that one day I will be alone. An orphan with no one to call and reminisce about how Mom and Dad did this or said that. I never wanted that for Boog. I didn't want him to ever be alone. Then I worried about him needing a neurotypical sibling to be there to help him if he needed it and I was no longer there.
Genetic testing told us that we had a high chance of having another child with Autism. Boog is in the range of in between mild and moderate Autism. If I had another child, there was a great risk of having a child with severe Autism. I knew that situation would leave one child with the short end of the stick as I'm already spread so very thin now. So husband and I talked a bit about adoption. It seemed like the logical answer. We would be helping to give a child a warm and loving home, Boog a playmate for peer-to-peer interaction, someone who would be there if he needed in the future, and I might possibly have the little girl I sometimes dreamed of. My favorite color is and always has been pink and I can't pass by the childrens' clothing section without looking at all the glittery dresses, ballerina skirts, sequined shoes and princess dolls.
Husband and I decided to give everything a few years and then evaluate the situation at that time. It was nice because I didn't have to worry about it then. I knew we had time and focused on the present. Until the present was this month. You see, we decided to reevaluate when Boog turned five.
I remember hoping he would be speaking by then, maybe I would be working again and we wouldn't always be so worried about money like we are now. There were even two adopted beautiful little girls at Boog's school that were both asian and adopted. I learned that in some countries it is easier to adopt children with special needs. Some of those children simply need hearing aids or cochlear implants to live a completely normal life. Seeing these little girls becoming more and more used to their new lives and learning speech was so beautiful. One little girl in particular stands out because at one of the school plays she kept yelling "There's my mommy!!" on the stage to her friends when they were supposed to be quiet. It was beyond adorable.
In a way I'm grieving again this month. I should be used to grief by now. I grieved when I had an early miscarriage before becoming pregnant wig Boog. I grieved when I knew my son was different and all the hopes I originally had for him weren't going to happen. I grieved when the geneticist told us the odds of conceiving a neurotypical child were so slim. I grieve that my son isn't speaking at five when I had so much hope he would be. And I grieve for the daughter I will never have.
At the same time, the logical part of my brain tells me that I have so very much to be thankful for. I have my parents and we're very close. I will have been married ten years his upcoming February to a man I still consider my best friend. We have a home and food on the table. And most importantly, I have a happy and healthy five year old son that is absolutely crazy about his Mommy.
The news story below inspired me to write this post. I know that I may be sad, but these parents would give almost anything to have a son that just turned five. I allow myself to grieve, but also have to remember to appreciate the gifts God has given me. And I am thankful.