"Our youngest son Benjamin was recently diagnosed with autism. In that moment wi
"Our youngest son Benjamin was recently diagnosed with autism. In that moment with the therapist, so many plans, so many dreams, so many hopes for him seemed to fizzle almost immediately. I began to panic on the inside. I went from 'What college will he attend?' and 'What will he be when he grows up?' to 'Will he ever speak?' 'Will he make friends?' 'Will he connect with us?'
Tonight I watched Benjamin play with his older brother, Dale. Benjamin loves Thomas the Tank Engine, and Dale made him his very own Tidmouth Sheds out of magnet tiles. They sat on the floor for about an hour, laughing and speaking their own little language. Dale mimics the things Benjamin says exactly. He knows 'Aye-ya' means, 'There it is' and 'Owa' means 'I don't like that.' So Dale just says it that way. He told me that Benjamin is his best friend. Benjamin has even taken to calling Dale 'mom' sometimes. I secretly love it because I know what Benjamin means when he says it.
Benjamin's therapist commented today about how well he plays imaginatively. She said he didn't mind when she played with him, which was a great sign. I laughed because when you have five older siblings, you kind of have to take things like that in stride. The truth is, Benjamin has had five tiny therapists from day one. These five tiny therapists are so incredibly patient. They do all the things the therapist is having to train me to do, and they do it so effortlessly.
When my husband and I decided to adopt our oldest five children, comments were made like 'Why aren't you having our own kids first' and 'That's really great. I'd love to adopt later after my kids are older.' It didn't make us question our decision, but at the same time, I think we were surprised at how many people seemed shocked that we would adopt just because we wanted to meet a need and didn't want to wait until we had met all of our other dreams first.
Now, as I watch my kids all play in the living room together, I know how incredibly blessed we are. The question 'Will he have friends?' doesn't replay very often anymore. I know that Benjamin will always have five amazing friends who love him just the way he is. I have six incredible children who love each other so much. And my kids seriously are the best therapists. God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave Benjamin five older brothers and sisters. I am so glad we didn't 'have our own kids first.' Yes, adoption is a blessing to the children you adopt, but I cannot tell you what a blessing my kids have been to me. And I know it will be the greatest gift to Benjamin that he could have ever been given."
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