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Thanks to Autism

September 5, 2014

Untitled-1“For you formed my inward parts.  You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well!”

(Psalm 139:13-14)

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There aren’t many people out there who will claim that they enjoy routine dental cleanings.  Most of us find them to be a bit uncomfortable.  Not enjoyable in the least.  But, if you ask our son about them, he would probably claim that dental cleanings are downright painful for him.  And by painful, I mean that every inch of his body gets tense….and he grimaces the entire time.

The bright light shining in his eyes.  The feeling of someone else’s fingers in his mouth.  The whirring sound of the polisher.  The sensation of having saliva sucked out of his mouth through a tube.  The floss being pressed against his gums over and over again.  All of it.  It’s sensory overload.  And it’s too much.

It’s always a fight to get him into the exam room, and he protests until he realizes that his protests aren’t getting him  anywhere.  He finally caves in and goes back to that dreaded chair because he knows that it is a fight he can’t win.

None of my children enjoy going to the dentist.  All of them find it to be uncomfortable to some degree.

But, for our son, Jackson, it is different.

He experiences a different level of discomfort.

And we have Autism to blame for that.

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Sometimes, he has a hard time making eye contact with others.

And Autism is to blame.

Occasionally, he will withdraw from a situation where he feels overwhelmed by sights/sounds/smells.

And Autism is to blame.

He finds the textures of many foods to be unpleasant.

And Autism is to blame.

At times, his speech volume is too loud for a given situation.

And Autism is to blame.

Figures of speech are often lost on him.  If you say, “Let’s hit the road, Jackson!”, he might follow that statement up with, “Why do you want me to hit the road?  That would hurt.”

And Autism is to blame.

Getting him to take medicine when he is sick is a massive hurdle.  The textures of medicine in chewable forms and the bitter tastes of medicine in liquid forms make it very difficult for us to administer drugs to him.

And Autism is to blame.

Haircuts are traumatic.  The sound of the razor and the hair clippings that cover him and adhere to his skin usually send him over the top.  If we cut his hair outside, I’m convinced that there are times when the whole neighborhood can hear him crying.

And Autism is to blame.

His favorite activity is to run/pace back and forth with two figurines in his hands.  It’s called stimming.  Basically, it’s a repetitive behavior that brings him comfort.  Some children on the Autism spectrum like to spin, some like to jump, some flap their arms, etc.  Stimming takes on many different forms.  But, for Jackson, it happens to involve small toys and pacing/running back and forth.  Sometimes, it appears as though he is running in patterns.  Sometimes, he seems to be scaling the perimeter of any given area.  It’s his way of escaping for a bit and letting his mind rest.  It’s relaxing for him.  It’s an activity that seems to have a balancing or equalizing effect on him.  It’s a coping mechanism.  It’s an anxiety-reducer.  It’s his way of shutting down for a bit so that he can then re-boot and face the world around him again.

And Autism is to blame.

His brain processes 42% more information than the average brain.  When he is in a classroom full of children, he experiences more than the average child.  Every sight, sound, and smell is magnified.  As a result, when bedtime rolls around each night, he often appears to be exhausted.  Mentally exhausted.

And Autism is to blame.

He absolutely loves going to the movie theater, just like every other 6-year-old boy.  But, almost every single time that we go, we end up taking him out to the hallway multiple times or we have to sit with him inside the corridor that leads to the theater so that he can pace with his figurines while he listens to the movie.  His discomfort becomes evident.  The booming sounds and gigantic, fast-paced imagery often prove to be too much for him to handle.  So, he needs to escape from the situation.

And Autism is to blame.

He doesn’t get excited about school.  On many mornings, he cries and/or complains as he gets ready, and claims that school is “so long”.  He hesitates to get out of our van at school drop-off on most mornings.  Almost 100% of the time, he is the last one to get out of the van.  Grace and Sidney consistently beat him out of there.

And Autism is to blame.

When being photographed, he often has a hard time looking at the camera.  I don’t know how many photos I have of all of our children together and Jackson is the only one looking off in the distance.  Yes, I can usually get him to look into the camera…eventually.  But, it usually takes some work.  I have photos of him clenching his fists as he is looking at the camera…not because he is angry…but because he is tensing up and literally focusing all of his energy on trying to look into the camera.  Every ounce of his body is helping him work toward that one simple act.  Some of the things that come so easily to his siblings don’t come easily to him.

And Autism is to blame.

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For us to truly understand what Jackson’s life is like, my husband claims that we would need to put on an itchy sweater without an undershirt, blast music at full volume, and turn the thermostat in our home up to about 80 degrees.  He thinks that is the type of sensory discomfort that Jackson feels, at times.   And he claims that when Jackson paces with his figurines, that is his way of taking off the itchy sweater, turning down the music, and adjusting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature.  That act of pacing back and forth with his figurines (stimming) gives him a sense of relief and refreshment that most of us can achieve by simply taking a long shower, reading a good book, or going for a run.

This act of stimming is what first alerted us that there might be something going on with Jackson.

We first noticed it shortly after his third birthday.  Something was a bit “off” (for lack of a better term).  Poor eye contact, repetitive behaviors, sensitivity to bright lights, withdrawal from overwhelming social situations, various sensory issues, and other “quirks” led us to believe that he might be suffering from some form of Autism.  However, his language and cognitive abilities were very strong.  Also, he has always been a friendly little guy with a ready smile.  We were under the impression that Autistic children had trouble smiling and interacting with others.  So, these things led us to believe for quite some time that an evaluation truly wasn’t necessary.  He just had a few “quirks”.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Then, one day I decided to hop online and look into the many signs and symptoms associated with Autism to see if there was a chance that Jackson could, indeed, fall on the spectrum.  I guess you could say that my mother’s instinct kicked in and convinced me to dig a little deeper.

I was shocked to discover just how many of Jackson’s characteristics and behaviors fell onto the many lists that I found.

So, we took him into a neuropsychologist for an evaluation.  After about 8 hours of exams and meetings, she determined that he did indeed fall on the Autism spectrum. She explained that he is on the mild end of the spectrum, and is considered to be high-functioning.  We, of course, had assumed both of those things.  We knew that whatever was going on with him didn’t seem to be life-shattering.  She said it would be hard for her to determine at that time just how much his diagnosis would affect his life.  She said that most cases get better over time, but Autism is not something that can be “cured”.  It will never go away.  But, the severity of its symptoms can most definitely lessen over time.  She told us that there was no reason why we shouldn’t believe that Jackson would be able to lead a very normal life.

We weren’t sure what to do with this diagnosis.  We were not devastated.  But, we were concerned.  We weren’t sure how this would affect his future or how it would manifest itself in Jackson’s life.

We have remained somewhat close-mouthed about his diagnosis up until this point, but that is NOT because we have felt any sort of shame.  We’ve been close-mouthed up until this point simply because we feared what the “Autistic” label could possibly bring his way.  He is a wonderful little boy who is loved by many.  We didn’t want to negatively affect how people view him simply because of this diagnosis.  Seeing as how he wasn’t in school at the time of his diagnosis, and I stayed at home with him full-time, we concluded that it wasn’t necessary for us to openly share it.  We simply shared the news with close family members and friends who come into contact with him regularly so that they could be aware of (and sympathetic to) his situation.  There didn’t seem to be any need to share the news with anyone else.

Until now.

Last month, everything changed.

Why?

Everything changed because of two encounters that Jackson had.  Two very different encounters that occurred within a matter of weeks.

One encounter had me in tears.  The happy kind.

The other one had me in tears as well.  The distraught, frustrated kind.

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The first encounter happened on the eve of Jackson’s first day of kindergarten.  On that day, I found myself sitting in the dentist’s office with him, his four siblings, and my mom.  It was time for their routine dental cleanings, and he was not happy.  Not one bit.  As I previously mentioned, he is not a big fan of dental cleanings.  My mom can attest to the fact that he spent a good 20 minutes underneath a chair in the lobby….fearfully waiting for the hygienist to step through the doors and call his name.

That day, they strategically saved his cleaning for the end.  Once the others had finished their cleanings without a hitch, it was Jackson’s turn.  I got down on the ground and started to try to pull him out from under the chair.  He resisted.  Just then, the hygienist (who had never worked with our children before) came over next to me, got down on the ground, and calmly asked Jackson to come out with her.  He resisted for a moment.  But, with just a bit more coaxing, he came out.  No dragging.  No crying.

As the three of us walked toward the exam room together, I leaned over to her and began to whisper what I always whisper each time I step foot in there, “Just so you know, he is on the Autism spectrum.  Dental cleanings can be hard for him.”

But, before I could even complete that second sentence, she whispered, “I know.”

The actions that followed those two little words proved them to be true.

She DID know.

And by “knowing”, I don’t mean that she saw the note on his chart and simply knew he was on the Autism spectrum.  By “knowing”, I mean that she got it.  She got it.  She knew what Jackson needed to get through the next 15 minutes as pain-free as possible.

In silence, I watched as she walked him over to the huge x-ray machine.  She explained everything that was going to happen in a simple, straight-forward manner and let him touch everything around him first.

I watched as he walked over and did exactly what she said in absolute compliance.

I watched as she led him into the exam room and – first and foremost – handed him a pair of sunglasses that she had in a basket on the counter.  So, when she pulled the overhead light directly over his face, he didn’t wince nearly as bad as he had in the past.  (Never had a pair of sunglasses been offered to him before.  What a simple, but great idea.  I wish I had thought of it myself!)

I listened as she went through each of the dental tools and let Jackson touch each one of them while they were on and while they were off.

I listened as the two of them discussed what flavor of polish he wanted for his teeth.  She strategically offered him the mildest of flavors to choose from.  Once he had made his decision, she opened up the container of polish and placed it under his nose so that he could smell it before she began to polish his teeth.

At this point, I had tears in my eyes.  I’m not kidding.  I was in awe of what was happening in front of me.

This woman understood my son.

She knew.  She KNEW.

I didn’t have to explain anything.  She.just.knew.

At this point, she began the cleaning process.  She told Jackson everything she was going to do before she did it.  As usual, his entire body tensed up and remained that way throughout the entire exam.  I held his hand the entire time.  Not once did it relax.  Each time the tube was stuck in his mouth to suck out the saliva, he jumped.

The exam made him uncomfortable, as usual.  However, he didn’t cry or complain or resist her.  And he was being awfully brave.  I could tell that he was exerting every ounce of his strength to lie there completely still and leave his mouth wide open.  A couple of times, when there was a pause during the cleaning process, he leaned over to me and whispered, “I’m trying my best, Mommy.”

I knew that he was.  And so did the hygienist.

Once the cleaning was complete, she moved him to the upright position in the exam chair and told him that she was going to go tell the dentist that he could come take a look at his teeth.  As usual, he seemed very happy that the cleaning portion of the exam was over.  At that point, he looked at me and said, “Mommy, it wasn’t so bad this time.  I like that new lady.”

I told him that I liked her, too, and that I was very proud of how he did.  I told him that I could see how hard he was trying to be brave.

It was – by far – his smoothest, and least painful dental experience EVER.

On our way home that afternoon, I couldn’t stop thinking about that hygienist.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how much she helped Jackson.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how her actions had a direct effect on his comfort.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how knowledge is power…..how this woman’s knowledge gave her the power to truly help Jackson through something difficult.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how refreshing it was to watch someone look at Jackson without an ounce of judgment, and without second-guessing the legitimacy of his diagnosis.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how I had remained silent during the entire exam…because I had been rendered speechless by the way that she interacted with my son.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how great it would be if Jackson encountered people like her on a regular basis.

So, that was encounter number one.  That was the first encounter that pushed me toward posting this today.

The second encounter is one that occurred a couple of weeks after that dental cleaning.  It was an encounter that was shocking to me.  It was an encounter that made me crumble with disappointment, sadness, and frustration.

Because I don’t want to tarnish names or reputations, I will leave out all details of this encounter.

Details aside, just know this.

There are those (like that wonderful hygienist) who are willing to look at me and genuinely say, “I know.”  And because “they know”, they do everything they can to make the playing field as even for Jackson as possible.  They are sympathetic to his daily struggles…no matter how small, or silly, or trivial they might seem to the rest of the world.

Then, there are those who think that “they know”.  But, they don’t.  As a result, they are unsympathetic to what Jackson goes through each day.  They claim that this Autism thing is, for the most part, just a bunch of nonsense that parents conjure up to gain special treatment for their children.  They don’t say that directly.  But, their thoughts are clearly brought out into the open by their actions.

Within a matter of weeks, I encountered both types of people.

Those two encounters made me realize just how important it is for people to be educated about what Autism does to a child, and how it can affect his/her life….even if it is a mild case (like Jackson’s).  I began to wonder what it would be like if everyone who interacts with Jackson – both now and in the future – could come to the point where they could TRULY and GENUINELY say, “I know.”   And, furthermore, how wonderful it would be if they could say those two words in the same tone and manner that the dental hygienist did last month….without an ounce of judgment, and without second-guessing the legitimacy of his diagnosis.

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As most of you know, we have two sons.

Both of them are fighting a battle each day.

One fights a physical ailment. The other fights a mental ailment.

Haven has been diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta.  Jackson has been diagnosed with a mild form of Autism.

HOW WE WISH that the same amount of compassion that has been extended toward our son with the physical ailment could ALSO be extended to our son with the mental ailment.

Over the past few years, we have learned a cold and hard truth about this society in which we live.

It is completely acceptable for any part of our body to fail us….unless that body part happens to be the brain.  If our brain begins to fail us in some way or function improperly, then judgment and stigma are sure to follow.

A physical ailment is legit.  A mental ailment is bull!$%#.

Why?  Why is that?

I think it has everything to do with the fact that one is quite visible, while the other is quite invisible.

I guess you could say that this post is my way of attempting to transform the invisible into the visible…..and to transform what some view as bull!#$% into something that is legit.

The recent, tragic death of Robin Williams due to his rather silent struggle with mental illness should be proof enough that the invisible (mental) ailments that can attack our lives can be just as serious as the visible (physical) ones.

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As I look back over that unpleasant (and unforeseen) encounter we recently had, I find myself (once again) waving an accusing finger at Autism.  We have certainly experienced heartache because of that encounter.

And Autism is to blame.

On a regular basis, I find myself pulling out that accusing finger of mine and pointing it directly at Autism.  On a regular basis, I find myself blaming Autism for something difficult that has come Jackson’s way….or come our way.  Our son faces certain difficulties that others his age do not.  His mind works just a little bit differently than most people’s minds work.  That’s all there is to it.

But, what a beautiful mind it is.

A beautiful mind.

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

Yes, we have Autism to blame for many of the difficulties that have come Jackson’s way.  But, we also have Autism to thank.

On a daily basis, we find ourselves fluctuating between blaming and thanking Autism.

No, we don’t spend all of our time pointing an accusing finger at it.  We spend plenty of time patting it on the back and thanking it.  Why?  Well, because of the unique way that Jackson’s mind works, he exhibits some pretty amazing and endearing characteristics that make him into the little boy that we know and love.

Autism is a part of who he is.

We love who Jackson is.

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

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His mind works differently than ours.  As a result, he sees the world differently.  And I have grown to love that about him.

Jackson has the ability to say things in a simple, straightforward manner that, at first, might seem immature to those who hear them.  But, upon further reflection, the truth and the wisdom behind his statement is revealed.  And, in those moments, sometimes we realize that we had looked right past something.  We realize that we had missed something that Jackson hadn’t.  There are times when he is able to inject valuable insights into our daily conversations…insights that we might have missed had he not mentioned them.

He has many endearing rituals and habits.  He has a passion for movies, characters, stories, figurines, or anything else that will transport him into another world.  He is very friendly and playful.  He doesn’t seem to be overly concerned about what others think about him…and doesn’t spend time or energy trying to fit in and gain the approval of his peers.  He has a unique and fascinating way that he looks at the world around him.  He has an uncanny ability to come up with statements that are so simple – and yet so profound – at the same time.

For instance….

~There is a song on the Toy Story movie soundtrack that the kids like to call “Jessie’s Song”.  (I don’t know what the actual title is.)  It’s the song that plays in the background during a very sad scene in Toy Story 2.  It’s the scene where Jessie (a toy cowgirl) is abandoned at a park by her owner (who happens to be a little girl).

Earlier this year, Grace insisted on listening to that song.  So, I pulled out the CD and we listened to it in the van off and on for a few weeks.  Each time we put in the CD, Grace would request “Jessie’s Song”.  I hadn’t given her incessant requests for that song a second thought.  But, apparently Jackson had.

One afternoon, Sidney asked Grace why she always wanted to hear that song.  She said, “I don’t know.  I just like it.”

Without missing a beat, Jackson interjected and said, “Is it because it makes you think of your China mom?”

<gulp>

Silence all around.

He had nailed it.

That was it.

That was why Grace latched onto that song.  She could relate to the sadness that Jessie felt when she was abandoned….because she, too, had been abandoned by someone very special to her.

It was an amazing insight from a (then) 5-year-old boy.

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

~One day at the park a couple of years ago, a sweet little boy with slurred speech said something to Jackson.  None of the adults standing around them could understand what the little boy had just said.  But, without missing a beat, Jackson not only “interpreted” what the little boy had said, but he also responded to him….and the two of them continued playing and conversing with one another.

He was able to understood someone who others have a hard time understanding.

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

~Before tucking him into bed on the night of his first full day of kindergarten, I told him how proud I was of how he handled his first day of school.  I told him that he was very brave.  Shortly after telling him that, he jumped on my back and squeezed me tightly.  He said, “I’m so proud of you for not being sad today even though you were missing me.”

What 6-year old boy says such a thing?

He has this uncanny ability of throwing out these nuggets of brilliance – out of nowhere – into everyday conversations.  Just seconds before making that comment to me, he had been sharing meaningless Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle facts.  And almost immediately after he made the comment, he went right back to discussing more factoids about Michaelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo.

I am learning that his valuable insights and observations are always shrouded in everyday conversation.  And if you don’t take a moment to stop and think about what he’s saying sometimes, you can mistakenly dismiss it as nonsense….or jibberish.

I have a son who told me that he was proud of ME for not being sad even though I was missing him on his first day of kindergarten.

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

~For two years now, he has asked that I sing him the same song before he goes to sleep at night.  That song is, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.

Repetitive?  Um, yes.

Annoying?  Nah.

Endearing?  Yes.

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

~A couple of years ago, he excitedly took his Grandma Parks out to our garage to take a look at the Christmas decorations we had piled up in there.  (The boy LOVES Christmas….just like his mommy and daddy.)  As he pointed out everything to her, he told her that it was all for “God’s party”.

God’s party?

We had never referred to Christmas as “God’s party”.  Yes, we had referred to it as “Jesus’ birthday”.  But, “God’s party”?  No.

We didn’t know where it came from.  But, the more that his Grandma Parks and I thought about that, the more we liked it!

Jackson saw Christmas as the best party of the year.  A party thrown by God for mankind to enjoy in honor of Jesus’ birth.

It was a beautiful perspective for him to offer to us.

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

~Upon seeing a cross that had been created in the sky with airplane exhaust one afternoon, he said, “Mommy, I think Jesus is calling us up there!”

It was such a precious observation on his part.

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

~He is incredibly interested in Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.  He thinks that Honest Abe is the coolest dude around.  Needless to say, most other boys his age couldn’t care less about Honest Abe.  But, again, that doesn’t bother Jackson.

For several weeks this summer, he was obsessed with him.

He is a staunch supporter of his, and his loyalty toward him is pretty darn adorable : )

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

~At church a few weeks ago, we were singing a new song that has lyrics consisting of questions.  Questions like, “Who rules the nations with truth and justice?”, and others similar to that.  Instead of singing along, Jackson chose to actually answer each of those questions by simply saying, “Jesus!”  Because, after all, Jesus WAS the answer to those questions.  Did I stop to explain to him in that moment that those are questions we didn’t necessarily need to answer during the song….and explain that the questions were lyrics that were meant to be sung?  No.

I let him continue because I loved what he was doing.

Why not answer those questions?  After all, the answer to them is a pretty amazing one : )

No one else was doing what he was doing.  The other children were trying to sing along and catch on to the lyrics.

Not Jackson.  He had other ideas for that song.

It made me smile.

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

~As Bryan and I were getting ready to head to Cancun last year for our first real child-free vacation in years, I went to give Jackson goodbye hugs and kisses.  As usual, he clung to me for awhile and was reluctant to have separation occur.  After telling me he loved me multiple times….and hearing me reciprocate….he abruptly let go of me and said one last goodbye with a smile on his face.  As soon as he did, I darted for the door.  I didn’t want him to see me shed any tears (and I could feel them coming).  I also wanted to be sure to sneak away before his mood could have the chance to change from happy to sad.  But, just before I was out of his sight, I heard him yell, “Mommy!”  So, I turned around to look at him one last time.  As soon as I did, he shouted, “Now, go have an adventure!!!!”   I smiled a big smile and the tears filled my eyes.  I said, “Thanks, buddy!”  And then I quickly walked away before the floodgates opened.

So, why did I find this so incredibly sweet?

If you’ve seen “Finding Nemo”, you’ll know why.

Just before Nemo heads off to school, his father (Marlin) tells him that he loves him.  Then, he shouts, “Now, go have an adventure!!!”

Jackson correlated Marlin’s send-off with his own send-off in that moment.  Just as Marlin sent Nemo off, Jackson was now sending me off.  And he must have sensed that I was a bit apprehensive about leaving him because he took on the role of the parent (Marlin) by sharing that phrase from the movie with me.  I was leaving, and I was worried about that.  I think he sensed that.  And he put my worries to rest by cheerfully commanding me to go and have an adventure : )

It was an amazing little exchange between the two of us.

And we have Autism to THANK for that.

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Temple Grandin, a famous American doctor/professor/best-selling author/consultant/advocate, has this to say about Autism:

“If I could snap my fingers and be non-Autistic, I would not.  Autism is part of what I am.”

Bryan and I have come to the point now where we can say the same thing about Jackson.  If we could snap our fingers and make him non-Autistic, we would not.  Autism is a part of who he is.

And we love who he is.

We love who God has created him to be.

And we hope that he, too, will learn to love who God has created him to be.

We believe that God has plans to use the beautiful mind that he has given to Jackson to touch the lives of others in ways that “normal” minds cannot.  We believe that God will use Jackson in such a way that His love and His works might be displayed through him to reach others.  We cannot wait to see what God is going to do through him in the years to come.

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Yes, there are times when Autism can feel more like a curse than a blessing.  Yes, there are days when we find ourselves blaming Autism far more than we find ourselves thanking Autism.

But, deep down, we know that Autism is a part of who Jackson is.

Deep down, we know that we should be thanking Autism far more than we should be blaming it.

Thanks to Autism, we have been given the opportunity to share our lives with a pretty incredible little boy.  A fun, insightful, interesting child who is a joy to parent and a joy to raise.

Thanks to Autism, we have Jackson.

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“Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man with an ailment from birth. His disciples asked, ‘Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born with this ailment?’  Jesus said, ‘You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do through him! ” (John 9:1-3)

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Want to learn more about Autism in its various forms?  Visit here today:  www.autismspeaks.org

 

 

 

 

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2014 1:47 am

    Wonderful Carly!

  2. Amanda permalink
    September 5, 2014 7:10 am

    Thanks for sharing, Carly! You are an amazing writer!!

  3. Krista permalink
    September 5, 2014 1:00 pm

    Oh my goodness, I’m just totally speechless!! What a happy ❤ you gave me this morning!! I am so blessed you're my niece, and so blessed to have Jackson as a great nephew, (as well as Haven, and my great nieces) coz you are all so precious to my ❤ in soooo many ways!! Love this, and love all of you guys too 🙂

  4. September 5, 2014 2:21 pm

    You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
    You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
    You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
    Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.
    How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. -Psalm 139: 13-17

    Giving thanks to God for my nephew, and for every way and detail that He was formed. And I am incredibly encouraged that God has brought you and Bryan to the point where, despite its obstacles, you cherish every aspect of who God created Jackson to be. There are many reasons I ask God to give me a good numbers of years here before he calls me home, but two among that list are my insatiable and hopeful intrigue and curiosity to see the marvelous ways God will work in both Haven and Jackson’s life, for their good and His glory. It’s like I’m watching a grand story unfold, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  5. September 7, 2014 11:21 pm

    Beautiful post, Carly. Thanks for sharing this with us in this space.

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