(Please see previous post if you haven't read it, this is part of our adoption story)
Max was high functioning, but we have very little experience with autism. I reached out to a teacher at our high school who runs the special ed department. He suggested I call a parent he knew with an autistic son. She was happy to talk to me. I also read a bunch of stuff online. The teacher also explained that Max would most likely function best if he knew what to expect. He said most kids function well with a chart that gives them an idea of 'THIS' then 'THAT'. He based this on my description of how things had gone over the weekend. For example: we were 1 minute late to leave for the zoo, Max let me know. 2 minutes late, he became more anxious about why we were running late. MOM, WE'RE 2 MINUTES LATE NOW. (yes, he called me mom after being in my house for a few days - I liken it to a generic term, like any teacher at a school is 'teacher.')
|Hard to see Charlie. See his little feet behind Reg? 2nd from left.|
Charlie was a doll. He was so cute and instantly had Curly wrapped around his little finger. She loved tucking him into bed each night. After 3 days with him, I was worried about how the good-bye would go. I was backing out of the driveway to bring them back to their worker when the garage door went back up and Curly came running out.
In my head: OH SHIT, SHE'S GOING TO THROW HERSELF AT THE CAR AND BEG ME NOT TO TAKE THEM BACK.
Curly: MOMMY, YOU FORGOT THEIR TOOTHBRUSHES. (phew).
Charlie melted our hearts even though his lack of speech skills made it almost impossible to understand him. Max translated and we played lots of charades. Reg and Curly stepped up to the plate big time with both boys. We hadn't expected them to be so devoted to playing and entertaining. It was a weekend full of activity and laughs.
After Charlie went to bed one night, the older kids, Coach and I played Memory with Max. He rocked back and forth and laughed hysterically THE ENTIRE GAME. Everything the older kids did cracked him up. The kids found him a bit annoying at times. I told them I understood and that if he was with us long term we'd adjust and we'd also have the tools we needed to make him comfortable so he wouldn't get anxious, full of questions about what's next, etc.
The night before I had to drive them back, I was in my room saying my rosary. Tank came in.
Tank: For what it's worth, I'm starting to get used to Max. Maybe I'd be able to tune him out. I don't know. I think I can adjust though.
I was touched that Tank was being open minded and honest. It was so much to consider and the fact that the parental rights hadn't been terminated was frightening. The boys' parents could end up getting them back - even if they'd been living with us for months and thriving. Not a perfect system.
Because things are never simple, Ed had a college buddy, Al, from California stay with us that weekend, too. He was supposed to room with Ed's friend Ryland (who skipped that semester while undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. In case you are unfamiliar or missed the update: Ry is cancer free). Al stayed with us so he could visit Ry in our town before heading to California for the lengthy covid break from Thanksgiving till Feb 1.
Al is incredibly short. Like maybe 5' 2". Ed gave him the 411 on us having a couple of kids visiting.
Me to Al: If we adopt these two, it might be confusing. They might assume you're another brother.
Ry, Ed, and Al hung out in our kitchen one day while the boys were visiting. Max sat on a stool and just absorbed it all. He was mesmerized by the college crew. Then he asked the question that was on all of our minds.
Max to Al: WHY ARE YOU SO SHORT?
We all froze. Fortunately, Al has a sense of humor.
Coming up: the next step. *wave your hand, or comment and let me know if you'd be interested in me posting the next bit tomorrow (Thursday) instead of waiting for Monday. It's written, but don't want to bombard people who need to pace themselves.