Jamie and I are blessed. We have a home, 3 vehicles, secure jobs, and food in the cupboards.
And 9 AMAZING kids.
Gustavo, I am happy.
We are allowed to choose to home school. We have graduated 3, and once Nikita leaves for the Navy tomorrow (sniff) we will have launched all three on career paths. The remaining 6 will be home again this year, and I look forward to our time together each day.
Jamie teaches, which means he makes a difference in a lot of teenagers lives each day, and gets to be home with us every night, weekend, holiday, summer, and snow days too!!
I have a good job waiting tables, with as many or as little hours as I need. (Cutting back after Nikita leaves!)
Just one thing is out of my grasp.
All I want is to sit next to my husband in church on Sundays.
Instead, autism has separated us. The problem: there are not enough adults willing to take a turn being with my Dante so that he can attend Children's Church. It became too inconsistent for my family, wondering if there was someone this week or do we stay home. So I said thanks for the time spent, but this is falling apart. I even tried sitting in the glassed front Family Room where we can see and hear but not be heard...at least I could see Jamie and the other kids sitting out there in the congregation...but the other parents find it too difficult to not use the room as fellowship time instead of a place to let your kids be fidgety. When a parent turned off the volume of the service so it would not interrupt his conversation, I was done.
Done trying to get my son into a church that does not understand Special Needs.
I really think it is not that complicated, but then I do spend every day with 5 kids who have down syndrome with one of them also significantly impacted by Autism.
Huge churches with amazing Special Needs Ministries are out there. There is an entire ministry devoted to helping church create their own Special Needs Ministry. The Inclusive Church has an amazing website with resources. There are churches that host special events or have respite night for families.
While special buddies or some respite and a night out would be great, all I want is to sit next to my husband during the service.
*Not enough volunteers? Lower the cut off age for children attending, then the volunteers are not spread so thin. Typical 4th, 5th, and 6th grades can learn to sit through the service.
*Kids with Autism, ADD, ADHD cannot sit through the Bible story? Stop having one. They just sat through the songs and Scripture reading...isn't the point of Children's Church to accommodate every kid's inability to sit through and comprehend an entire sermon? Adjust the room so that the entire setting is a Bible learning time, without having to sit and listen to a story then sit and color a picture, then go in the gym and throw balls at each other to burn off energy. This link has some great ideas, again from the Inclusive Church http://theinclusivechurch.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/orange-conference-breakout-notes-strategies-to-include-every-child/ . Kids with special needs are not the only ones that benefit from a hands on or sensory learning environment, especially when most of them have just sat through Sunday School.
We are not going to start church hopping until we find one that loves our kids, because the church we attend does love our kids. It is just that Dante is hard to understand. It is so easy to smile and greet us every Sunday morning, but when I am not holding Dante's hand and keeping him next to me, it is just harder for the smiling and nodding people to know what to do.
So Dante and I will stay home on Sunday mornings, because I know that God is good, even when I cannot sit next to my husband in church.