Another night in a hotel after a long evening drive. Another doctor’s appointment early in the morning. Another 1hr 56 minute drive one way. Raylan has not one, but two appointments tomorrow. Then he will have another two appointments three days from now, again 1hr 56 mins away from our home. I will drive him again to these appointments.
I have been fighting for him and advocating for him since he was a baby, just as I would for any of my children.
When I realized I was going to be a mother I knew that meant the responsibility of another human being for their entire life and that meant being whatever they needed me to be.
I am not special. God did not give Raylan special parents. God gave me Raylan. I knew I had to be a good mother. When I chose to become a mother, I knew that I would have unwavering, unconditional, unbreakable love. No matter what I was a mom and that was my job.
My duties include washing messy faces, changing ripe diapers, discipline when needed, lots of snuggles, and unwavering love.
I have not always been a patient mom. I have not always been a confrontational mom. I have not always had an understanding for special needs. I have not always been non-judgemental. I have not always given grace when it was needed.
Raylan made me patient. Raylan made me be confrontational. Raylan made me understand. Raylan taught me not to judge. Raylan gives me grace everyday.
I often hear that I am strong because of what I have been through in my life and what we go through with Raylan, but it is bullshit. I am strong because how I decide to react to the situations placed in front of me. I stand up for Raylan because he depends on me to. That is the role I assumed when I decided to become a mom.
As we were driving I was stewing. I am angry, confused, broken hearted, and completely overcome by emotions that I cannot begin to explain. The article had run across my news feed, my messages, my text, and I was angrier each time I read it.
“Mom rehomes her autistic son”
“Mom places her adopted son in new home”
“Mom replaces autistic son”
I read it so many different ways, but each time hit me with anger just like before, if not made me more furious. No matter how you spin it as a mother it breaks my heart, as a special needs mom it breaks my heart, as a lover of all children it makes me furious!
How can someone “rehome” their child because they need them more than your typical child. Nonetheless use the word “rehome” as if the child is some kind of animal her family cannot handle and can just place in another home. When you step into motherhood you take on a role as a protector, a mentor, a teacher, and you provide unwavering unconditional love.
I cannot compare her to me, you’re right. We aren’t the same. We are not even on the same level. I’m not even more special than her. I just had willingness to be a damn good mom.
I need you to look at it this way.
A mother has three healthy children. They have normal doctors appointments. They have no delays. They are average kids. One day these three normal children are out playing and by a freakish accident one of the normal children has neurological damage and now requires therapy, medication, and has to be waited on way more than that mother ever could have prepared for. Would you be outraged if she decided to “rehome” this child, but keep her other two children who are still neuro-typical?
You asked people to follow your journey. You asked for support and funding to adopt a child. You asked that child to trust you. You gave that child brothers, sisters, and parents. Then you ripped it away. No child would understand why his family left him or gave him away. You taught him he is less of a child because he is autistic.
Furthermore, you have succeeded in teaching your children that when something doesn’t fit into your life you can just “rehome” it. When some one inconveniences you, it is ok for you to tuck them away. You have succeeded in teaching your children, that if they ever depended on you to 100% advocate for them, you would not be there for them.
You have successfully taught millions that special needs children “are hard to love”.
You have successfully turned a child into a returnable replaceable item.
Shame on you!!
Now I lay here in a hotel, with my son preparing my mind for his appointments coming up. Preparing my heart for battle so he doesn’t have to. Then I will drive another 2 hours home tomorrow. Turn around two days later and drive back to his other appointments. It is a royal pain in my ass to drive, it is inconvenient as hell, but my son deserves the best I can fight for.
I didn’t sign up for this special needs life. I am not a special breed of person. I didn’t know how to be a special needs mom. I just became what my children needed me to be as their mother.
I hope my children know these things
1. I would catch a grenade for them
2. Unconditionally is how my love works
3. I will NEVER leave them
Things I hope others know
1. I’m not a special person.
2. I’m a mother.
3. I would do anything for her children.
4. I will be whatever they need me to be. Including unbreakable.