what to communicate with your child’s teacher: Autism in the classroom

I thought the recap below would be beneficial, and for many this is new. I hope you find this helpful. You can also check out Rainbow Kids for my article on Transitioning the Special Needs Student to Another Class or School. Even if you’ve already begun a new school year, there’s some information within the article which will still be advantageous. Have a GREAT school year!

communicate with your childs teacher
School is starting soon. I think I just heard YIPEEES!!! from several of you. 🙂 Autism parents might be a tad more excited than the average parent for their child to go back to school after summer break, as that routine and consistency can make a night and day difference for our children.

I don’t know about your child, but most children with Autism are constantly changing. Our son, Jeremiah, gains skills, loses skills, says a word and then we’ll never hear it again, he’s regularly in flux. It’s hard enough to keep up with him at home, but then add school, progress, and regressions and

it can resemble one big spider web.

There’s a solution that greatly helps us traverse that spider web with agility, and helps everyone dive into a new school year with an exceptional start. What can you do to keep positive momentum going at school?

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our special needs adoption: how God showed up at every turn

Special needs adoption - God
For National Adoption Month, I asked my friend, Christy, to write their story for Lovin’ Adoptin’. Enjoy!

On July 17, 2013, I received a text from my sister that would completely alter what our family looked like. She texted to let me know a friend of hers was working with an adoption agency that was trying to a place an almost one-year-old boy who had Down Syndrome.

My heart skipped a beat and my mind started racing.

From the time I was a teenage girl, God had given me a special love for people and kids with special needs, specifically Down Syndrome. While in high school, I surrendered my life to full-time service for God however He chose to use me. One calling on my life was to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. It was different than just wanting too. I began telling people as a high school student that one day I was going to be a mother to a child with Down Syndrome. People would nod as if to say, “That’s neat”, but not truly believing it would come to fruition. God gave me this desire.  He provided it deep in my being. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The Lord was the provider of the desire. God provides.

I made a phone call to the agency and explained why I was calling. The agency director answered the phone and told me about a baby boy with Down Syndrome who was almost one. They were trying to find a family to commit to adopt him to keep him from being moved to an institution. “Institution?” I asked. “Where is this baby?” She answered, “Ethiopia.” Minor detail that I failed to think through before I called.

International adoption had never been on my radar. She asked if we had a home study already. Another minor detail…we hadn’t completed (or even started for that matter) a home study.  Oh and one more thing…we didn’t have any money either. Kindly, the agency director basically told me there was no possible way to get everything done for us quick enough to keep this boy from going to the institution. I hung up the phone and started preparing to present my case to my husband, Matt, when he came home for lunch.
Sellers collage

Matt came home from lunch and he was not expecting what I laid out on the table! I told him about my phone call and about this little boy sleeping on the other side of the world. Of course, he immediately had questions of how, when, where, how much? We prayed and he said, “Make some phone calls and we’ll talk about it more later.” I called the agency and told them we’d like to pray about it through the weekend and we’d call them back on Monday.

I didn’t want to pressure Matt into making a decision. I would say “Yes” in a heartbeat to this little boy, but I wanted him to lead in this decision. I began again surrendering this to God and asking that God would lead my husband in the way we should go. God provided Matt with an answer. With tears in his eyes, Matt tells me on Saturday morning that through the night he couldn’t sleep and began praying. Then he said, “God told me that Endale is our son.” God provides.

That weekend, I also got a phone call from a lady who I’d found locally to do a home study. She tells me that she needs to get the home study done quickly because she is also a teacher and school was about to begin. Our home study was complete in a little more than two-weeks. God provides.

Now was the question of where we were going to come up with $34,000. We had saved up $500 in a drawer hoping to eventually take our kids to Disneyland someday. When it came time to pay for our home study, the lady said she needed half the payment to begin. The total was $1000, so we handed over our $500 having no idea where the rest would come from. Five months into the process, we were fully funded for the adoption through grants, fundraisers and penny pinching in every way possible. God provides.
Sellers kids

Fast forward to our time to travel to meet our sweet boy face to face.  I have in the past struggled with a fear of flying. For the most part, I felt like I had overcome it, but a twelve-hour flight from the USA to Africa was daunting. I was on my hands and knees begging God to give me His overwhelming peace about flying when I found out that Matt would be staying in Ethiopia and I would be traveling back alone. Perfect peace as only He can give on all my flights. Again, God provides. 

I could give you story after story about the way God worked out the timing while Matt was in Ethiopia with Endale. I personally know another mother from our agency that has been in Ethiopia for five-months waiting to come home. Matt came home from Ethiopia two-weeks after our court date. God provides.

Then, God provided plane tickets through long-time friends so that I could meet and join Endale and Matt as soon as they were back in the US. God provides.

It’s easy to see Endale’s viewpoint, God has provided for him a family forever to love him unconditionally. I’m certain each family member in our house would tell you that God has blessed us with unending smiles, a new sense of contentment and renewed joy for everyday life thanks to having Endale in our lives. God provides.

I don’t know what our future will look like after the adoption of our child with Down Syndrome. I know for now it means a lot of doctor’s appointments, therapy several times a week, patience in teaching concepts and learning new things about Down Syndrome every day. I know it means we may have to sacrifice things in the future. I can testify that God has been faithful to our family, Endale included, over and over again. He will provide the tools and insight to nurture our family and our son. He will give us the strength to give our son the best possible care we can for him. He will fill us when we’re empty.  He will meet our needs. God provides.

Jehovah Jireh: One of many names of God that means, “The Lord will provide.”

Many thanks to Christy and her family for sharing their story! May you all find something to celebrate during National Adoption Month.

You can receive each post made to Lovin’ Adoptin’ by subscribing in the upper right corner. If you’re on a mobile device, you can do this on the web version. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more helpful information and links.

every child is worth it: adopting an older child

I came across this heartwarming video on Facebook and just had to share it with you. It’s a must see.

The girl in this video breaks my heart. She’s overwhelmed by the news that this family’s adopting her. She’s waited years, and now she has a forever family. I can’t imagine being a teen and not having a family. All those struggles youth go through, and then to do it without any support and while carrying extra weighted pain.

This father is right. His “foster” daughter deserves a forever family.

I’ve been asked, “Why would you adopt a child who has special needs?” (I’m working on an article detailing my response, and I’m hoping a magazine will pick it up, if not you’ll be able to see it here at a later date.) Interesting question, yet I feel it’s one many ask silently, if not out loud.

The answer: Because he deserves a forever family.

I bawled while watching this video. So much of what the father said, I feel, even though I didn’t adopt a teen. I did adopt two children who began life without me. I adopted two children who had to go through the pain in this world without me by their side to carry those burdens for them. I cry because I wasn’t there.

And then people ask why we did it. WHY? Because children are worth it. This teen is worth it. The child with Autism is worth it. The teen with cerebral palsy is worth it. The baby with a congenital heart disease is worth it. EVERY child is worth it.

Have you adopted an older child or a child with special needs? How has it been worth it for you?

You can receive each post made to Lovin’ Adoptin’ by subscribing in the upper right corner. If you’re on a mobile device, you can do this on the web version. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more helpful information and links.

will they adopt me? adoption from a childs perspective

adoption from a childs perspective
She’s so sweet. Oh, he’s so adorable. I just love his smile. The first day I visited the orphanage, she ran to me and gave me a hug. 

These qualities are what draws adoptive and foster parents. It makes sense, but it breaks my heart. It wrecks me to think that children aren’t worthy of love because they aren’t attractive, don’t smile like another child, or they’re hurting inside so they act out with behaviors that are objectionable.

Society, for the most part, wants perfection, or something close to it. People don’t usually settle for “less than” in any area of their lives, and this trickles over into adoption and foster care. I felt this bias strongly when our children came to us through foster care.

We have two beautiful children. No, I didn’t choose them. I didn’t look through photo listings and pick out the one with the longest eyelashes or the one with jet black hair, they landed on my doorstep after a phone call and the answer, “Yes, bring her/him.”

When friends met our daughter we felt the expectations of what’s acceptable were met. They were surprised such a beautiful child would be in foster care. Although we all know foster care knows no race, color, beauty, intelligence, or eye color, there seems to be a stigma that surrounds it.
adoptable vs unadoptable

One of our friends, when told we were going to adopt from China (because that was our first plan, you can read more about that here), was shocked, and said, “But you two would have such cute kids!” Well, really nice sentiment, BUT…we just don’t feel the need to populate the world with more gorgeous beings such as ourselves. 😉 And, gee, look what we ended up with (even though we didn’t reproduce ourselves), two really stunning children, if I must say so myself. Other than that, they aren’t quite perfect. Justin and I always say to each other, “It’s a good thing she’s cute, because…”

Love Without Boundaries interviewed children in a Chinese orphanage, and it’s clear they understand what it takes to be “adoptable”. As orphans are adopted out, the others who aren’t, notice who goes and who stays.

In this Love Without Boundaries video, children are asked about adoption. Some of their answers are, “If you’re obedient, you get to go away for a good purpose,” and “Because if they’re obedient, do well in school, get good grades, then they get adopted.” Notice the second answer isn’t in first person, he probably doesn’t feel what he said applies to himself – he is still in the orphanage. At about the 5:24 mark, the interviewer is brought to tears by one orphans sincerity in wanting to be adopted.

There are families all over the world who adopt hurting children who struggle in school, have developmental obstacles, or special needs. The world is changing, but these ideas that children need to be a certain way still exist. My hope is that all children would find forever families who accept them for who they are, not what society wants them to be.

You can receive each post made to Lovin’ Adoptin’ by subscribing in the upper right corner. If you’re on a mobile device, you can do this on the web version. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more helpful information and links.