The Blessings of Parenting a Child with Autism
- Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Join me as I share why I’m grateful for Morgan, our adopted son who was born normal, but developed PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder or high-functioning autism). I have struggled with learning about his condition, handling his antics, understanding his problems and finding solutions. Running away from it – mentally and emotionally, if not physically – would have been so easy, but not profitable for anyone. I realized, if Morgan is to make progress, it’s up to me – to find the therapists, the diet, exercises, discipline, motivation, and methods. Yes, I can find help, but I initiate, investigate and instigate.
My husband and I know we are blessed beyond measure, remembering God gives only good gifts (James 1:17), and that a child (any and every child) is a gift from the Lord, a blessing, a reward. (Psalms 127:3-5) God has brought much good into our lives because of Morgan and his situation. No, we would never have chosen to go down the path of autism on our own, but God’s wisdom supersedes ours, and we are grateful for all we have learned. (Jeremiah 29:11 So, these are some of the reasons I am very thankful for our son and our journey.
1. Morgan has always had a ready smile. He is very affectionate and accepting of everyone.
2. Having always wanted to adopt, he opened up the world of adoption to me. God blessed us with the opportunity and privilege of raising children not born to us.
3. Since Morgan is just seven months younger than one of our biological sons, this allowed me the opportunity to experience “twins.”
4. Our adoption let me help a child in need, who had no other place to call “home.”
After Morgan’s autistic behavior began …
5. I gained the confidence to stand up to well-meaning, but uninformed doctors. I became his advocate.
6. Which pushed me to become informed, to educate myself on “how” this might have happened and …
7. Then educate the doctors, and find doctors and therapists who could help in the best approach for our situation.
8. Morgan’s misbehavior and antics brought to the surface some ugly attitudes in me and the children that we dealt with including lessons on: learning to deal with a handicapped person, dealing with frustration, anger, and irresponsible behavior. Learning to Act rather than react.
9. This learning process brought me to my knees, and when my grace was not sufficient – His was; when there was no peace, because of Morgan’s actions and activities – God brought peace overflowing to my heart; when I didn’t understand what to do, nor how to do it – He gave direction.
10. My husband and I have been drawn together as we sought answers and practical help. We have not allowed this to separate us, but have chosen for this to anchor us to the Lord and to each other.
11. This situation has pushed me beyond my natural, to depend on His supernatural: when Morgan’s sleepless nights, or night wanderings interrupted my sleep – “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength… shall run and not be weary, shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) He became my source of energy, strength.
12. I was pushed out of my “comfort zone” into new territories: doctors, research, answering questions like to medicate or not.
13. It reduced my pride in my children’s behavior – “My children will act in a most appropriate way: in attitude, word and deed!” Well, not so with Morgan, compared to “normal” children. His talking out loud, or fidgeting, or tears in church cultivated humility on my part. Then discipline, to teach him proper behavior which requires working with him daily to teach him to sit and listen.
14. Morgan’s presence has increased our creativity: Making him a busy bag with quiet toys to help him sit through church; finding computer programs to help him read; teaching our other children how to run through his therapy program with him and help him learn.
15. We’ve learned to connect – to finding ways to bring Morgan back to us, not leaving him in his own world, but reaching in and drawing him back into our reality
16. God has worked in me a long-term vision of seeing Morgan whole, normal, providing for his own family. And He has given me the tenacity to do the necessary work each and every day to achieve the dream.
17. Morgan has opened up the world of autism, handicapped or “different” people to our children. They have more compassion, insight, wisdom and patience.
18. This has given me a greater compassion for those who hurt; but has also given me a greater desire to find ways to resolve hurting situations in my life – including finding explanations, answers, remedies, and practical help. Not merely enlisting sympathy, but soliciting solutions.
19. Being in this situation has opened up a wealth of ministry to reach hurting moms and dads with children on the autistic spectrum.
20. I’ve learned what it means to push him (and myself), to become his greatest: reading, learning, dressing himself, zipping pants, putting on shoes, putting his clothes up, doing challenging chores geared to his level and a bit above.
21. Coming to the realization that God does indeed mean this for good, and not for evil. (Genesis 50:20) That we live in a fallen world, and bad things happen to good people. But, God will be the Victor, still. This sickness is to bring glory to the Lord, and has done so, already, in so very many ways.
22. I have learned to stand on God’s promises when things look bleak. To remind God of His Word, His promises to us, and that He is faithful.
23. Taking my thoughts captive has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. To not look at the past, the “what if’s,” the “Why did this happen to Morgan and us?” No longer questioning God’s wisdom or His plan, but thinking about today, and the future God has planned.
24. And last, but certainly the most wonderful: Yesterday, in church, we witnessed Morgan’s acceptance of Jesus Christ into His life. Pure and sweet, he raised his hand and asked Jesus to come in. What could be a greater blessing than parenting another eternal soul headed for heaven?
Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Psalms 127:3-5
And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, Gen 50:20
Some Biblical Promises for Special Children
Their children also shall be as formerly... Jeremiah 30:20a
And all your sons will be taught of the Lord; The well-being of your sons will be great. Isaiah 54:13
Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; let Him rescue him, because He delights in him. Psalm 22:8
Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. Matthew 25:40
Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; Mark 9:37
Their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear the Lord... Deuteronomy 31:13
Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.... He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands upon them. Mark 10: 14, 16
Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. Luke 9:42
The things impossible with men are possible with God. Luke 18:27
Published February 24, 2009.
Kym Wright is an energetic and encouraging speaker who has appeared on both television and radio, sharing her love of motherhood and homeschooling on The 700 Club and in her writing. Her passion shows . . . and it’s contagious. This article comes from The Mother’s Heart magazine, Kym’s premium online publication. With a Bachelor of Science Degree, Kym has authored hundreds of articles on education, mothering, and practical living, and her articles have appeared in many national and international publications.
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