Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm just going to write.

Even as I type this, I don't know how.

I don't want to oversimplify nor do I want to be dramatic.

I have written bits and pieces of this post in my head a hundred times.

This is about Emmett.

Since January, it's as if I've been introduced to a new world.

As a baby he was delayed in many developments such as crawling and walking.

He began to babble and talk.

I remember him saying "Mama" and "Butber" (Butler, our dog at the time).

At some point he stopped doing this.

We had his hearing checked. Have you ever tried to have a little one's hearing checked?

I was told to just watch him and see how he developed. I was told that we could eventually start speech therapy. I was told to wait. Wait and see. Isn't that what we had been doing?

Fast forward.

Different. That's the only way that I could have described our Little Man to you.

Somewhat withdrawn. He didn't engage or even seem to notice other kids.

Until recently he didn't call me anything. And then when he did want me to hold him he would come to me with his hand out saying,"Cwying." Never "mama".

Last January a concern was shared. Ross and I returned from a little get away. We ate with my mom in Montgomery. Sometime during that visit she asked me if we had considered talking with our pediatrician about autism.

It's amazing when someone speaks out loud what you've been reserving and questioning in your heart.

I know it wasn't easy for my Mom to say what she said.

And so Ross and I drove home with the kids.

I sat in the passenger seat, eight months pregnant and I cried.

It seemed as though I was lost in a sea of questions and uncertainty.

What was going on? Mommy guilt reared it's ugly head and all I could ask myself was,"How had I failed this precious blue-eyed boy?"

I believe I had a check up the next day. While I was at the doctor, Ross took Emmett to his pediatrician and expressed our concern.

I was about two weeks away from having Jack when a case worker was sent to our home to observe and interact with Emmett.

Little Man did everything that she asked him to do.

The lady asked Ross and me various questions.

It was determined that Emmett was delayed with his speech. We would schedule the second part of the evaluation to have him further observed.

We began working with Emmett in different ways.

His speech greatly improved and we felt that we were on the right path.

In the next several months, Jack was born. Jack got very sick. We moved. Alot of changes took place. It was a time of transition.

Then at the beginning of the summer, Ross and I took Emmett and Ellie Kate to see a movie. We just knew that Emmett would be glued to the screen.

He did watch, but then he stood up and began jabbering. He wasn't just jabbering. It was as if he were the only one in the theater. To watch him, you would think that he was in a movie of his own, playing each part. He was so intent on what he was saying and doing. The huge movie screen may as well have not been there, because Emmett was in his own little world.

I felt sick.

I'm pretty sure Ross did, too.
We finally voiced our concerns to one another about Emmett.

It wasn't so much that we could say exactly what we knew was amiss. Something was just different.

We contacted Early Childhood Intervention again.

We took Emmett for more evalution. We answered the same questions again.

We filled out forms to be sent off to Birmingham to a place where we could further investigate and see if there was any link between Emmett and autism. We wanted to search to the inth degree and find out all that we could about what was taking place with our boy.

I felt emotionally drained.

It's funny how the world keeps turning at the same rate as it always has despite what you are dealing with in life.

We were told that Emmett was indeed delayed in various areas of development.

We decided to place him in a local daycare for a few days a week so that he could be around other children his age.

We witnessed so much progress with him.

He began talking more and tolerating having other children playing around him.

We found out that the place in Birmingham (that diagnoses) had a 12 month waiting list.

Waiting can be the hardest part.

The Early Intervention program sent a lady to our home a few times to show us ways to work with Emmett. It was very helpful. She said that many delays can often be called "mommy" delays. I basically began to see where I just did things for Emmett. Speech is necessary to express a want or need. If I thought he had a want or a need, I simply met it without him ever asking.

You can only imagine how helpful Ellie Kate was and continues to be in this process. Ellie Kate and Emmett's relationship is truly a strength in this circumstance. He has a full time speech therapist right here at home who doesn't take a breath. Oh the things she wants to teach him!

When Emmett turned three, the Early Intervention services came to an end.

Our local school system stepped in.

More evaluations.

More of the same questions.

More waiting.

More acronyms that I didn't understand.

Lots of opinions.

More of everything except definite answers.

One of the most maddening things about this process is that "time is of the essence" all the while we add our name to another waiting list.

There is a lack of resources and a definite lack when it comes to my patience.

Hello, Mama Bear.

I tell ya, let anything, and I mean, anything happen to me. But let something begin to effect one of my children and the gloves are comin' off.

Trust has been no small commodity.

I've uttered the most honest of prayers and pleaded with the Lord for wholeness for my little one. In fact, that's exactly what Ross prays every. single. night.

He places his hand on Emmett and prays that the Lord would make him whole mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

I need to say something here.

I know no evil intent has ever been attached to this expression that I'm about to share,but never ask someone what is wrong with their child.

I can in complete confidence tell you that there is indeed nothing wrong with Emmett. He is exactly who the Lord created him to be.

He is a gift. He is precious.

He may not be typical but he is full of purpose. Mind you, he is very much a stubborn little three-year-old boy.

He is also not disabled or severly anything for that matter.

He is extremely affectionate and will gaze directly at me with those big blue eyes.

He is a funny kid with an infectious laugh. When he smiles, it's not that just the corners of his mouth turn upward. His entire face scrunches and lights up. Noone smiles as well as Emmett.

God does not make mistakes. Ross and I are keenly aware of the fact that there is so much purpose on the road we are walking with the beautiful child that the Lord has entrusted to us.

To be quite honest, I need the Lord to make me whole mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. And apart from His provision, I am left wanting.

So where are we currently?

I cannot begin to describe the amount of support that we have received. Many prayers have been lifted on our behalf and endless acts of kindness have been shown.

I am in awe as I reflect back over the relationships that the Lord has orchestrated in our lives. Thru one of Ross' friends who has two autistic children, we were referred to a (Defeat Autism Now) DAN Doctor in Auburn. Dr A. told us about some special preschools that cater to the needs of children who display varying types of developmental delays. They receive hours of specialized therapy and are also taught in classrooms with children who are developing typically. Parents are updated weekly on their child's progress and trained to know how to best help their child.

We were ecstatic to hear that such a place existed.

In the next few days we enrolled Emmett in one of these preschools in Jacksonville.

We were put on a waiting list.

Ross called the location in Auburn and asked for an application to be mailed to us. We were going to be added to their waiting list, as well.

Then last week Ross made the decision to drive to Auburn and take care of the process in person. Upon arriving at the preschool, the director, knowing who Ross was, said,"I've got some good news. We had someone decline their spot a couple of hours ago. We have a place for Emmett."


Wonderful news. Thank you, Lord!

Emmett was showing so much improvement at his daycare. It was a bittersweet send off on his last day. The teachers were excited to see him have such a wonderful opportunity ahead, but they all agreed that they would miss his little self.

And so this week has been a big transition for us.

His first day at his new preschool was on Monday.

The drive is about an hour and 15 minutes one way. He will come Monday thru Friday, 7:45 to 2:30.

They will soon begin their own evaluations. We will sit down and see what the plan will be for our little man.

If you haven't met Emmett, well I wish you could.

He is a beautiful, intelligent soul.

It is like opening a gift each time we hear him say something new.

I really look forward to seeing him learn how to communicate, express himself.

We don't have a diagnosis. We are still on a waiting list for the place in Birmingham. We aren't looking for a diagnosis. It's not that we want any certain labels attached to Emmett. We simply want to know where he is so we can best help him. Unfortunately, we have learned that without a diagnosis it is hard to get some services that are needed.

The Lord has opened this new door for us.

We don't always know how to walk this path. It can at times feel as though we are indeed taking two steps forward and one step back. But for now, it has been so wonderful to know that our son is where he can receive the help he needs.

As we continue to walk and learn daily, I know that Emmett will not be the only one changed.