Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Welcome Guests: Vanessa

Welcome to the Carp Dime Guest Blogger series. Today's blogger is someone who I've recently become friends with through various ministries at Northstar Church. And in proof of how small our world is, I actually went to high school with her husband. Vanessa is a stay-at-home/foster mom who earned her Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Tech in Interdisciplinary Studies (with minors in K-8 English, K-8 Math, and Psychology). Her favorite movie is Ever After and her favorite book is The Shoemaker's Dream by Mildred Schell & Masahiro Kasuya. Her favorite passage of scripture comes from Isaiah 40:11, which says, "He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs to his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." You can find her regular posts over at Butterfly Reflections. Stop by and say hi. It should be noted that Vanessa is the only fellow blogger who attempted to participate in the 30 Day Blog Challenge I recently did, and for that, I am grateful. And so, without further ado...

Finding Hope

Hello, faithful readers of Carp Dime. I'm today's guest blogger though I'm still quite shocked I was asked. After today's read, you will more fully appreciate the great writing Aaron provides, but I thank him all the same for this opportunity. I've been asked to share with you an experience that has shaped who I am today, so I'll tell you about the day that my son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

My son, E, is 9 years old and was diagnosed almost 2 years ago. A teacher, and college friend, was the one to mention that perhaps we might consider testing him for Asperger's Syndrome. I believe my husband said those words felt a bit like a punch in the gut while images of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man came to his mind. I, on the other hand, felt something akin to hope...

Several months passed as we traversed the proper channels to get him tested. That September day finally arrived and we took him in for observation with specialists. During that time, my husband and I spent a couple hours confirming, quantifying, and more clearly defining the endless questionnaire answers we had submitted weeks before. By the afternoon's end, we were told E quite definitely fit the qualifications of Asperger's (which is on the high-functioning end of the Autism Spectrum Disorder). I thought I would feel defeated or hopeless, but I didn't.

Instead, I encountered relief. The years of difficulty in communicating with and disciplining my child had a reason beyond those of my failings as a mother. Until that day, I felt entirely responsible for all the problems we had experienced. Since that day, I have seen purpose.

I felt encouraged. The unknown is difficult to work with, but a diagnosis gave me a starting point from which to obtain solutions. A peace washed over me knowing that we could now work at finding solutions to help E, and I developed greater patience.

I was hopeful. My husband and I had intended to foster children but until that day we were unsure that could be a possibility. Learning about the lesser emotional attachment our son has gave us hope that we could receive children into our home, care for and love them, then reunite them to their families--all without too grately affecting the emotionality of E. The hubs and I will be a wreck, but there is a peace and hopefulness in knowing that our son will get through it better than us.

I felt reassurance. God always had His hand in every aspect of our lives, but that day I felt reassured that He knows what He is doing and He was simply preparing us for things to come that we could never have imagined. He was growing my trust in Him without me knowing it, and that is a formidable emotion for me. He revealed to me my lack of trust and faith in Him.

Lastly, our marriage was strengthened. The diagnosis pulled back the wedge that had been pushing my husband and me apart. As a couple, we are far from perfect (I mean, we're totes amazing, but not 100% perfect), but having the frustration removed of not knowing why we were failing so miserably at that parenting thing enabled us to finally grow closer.

So there you have it--an experience that has shaped who I am today. I hope it provided encouragement for you, or at the very least didn't bore you to tears. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me. Have a fabulous day and thanks for reading!

Links to the guest writers' posts...
1. Brandon Caldwell 
2. Vanessa
3. Landon Metts
4. Jeff Noble
5. Jennifer Mitchell
6. Mark Hipes
7. Nicole Holden


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  3. Thank you for sharing your inspirational and touching story, Vanessa! I have Asperger's' Syndrome myself, and I know that my parents were (and still) always frustrated with me whenever I had emotional outbursts, meltdowns, communication problems, and annoying quirks that I had from time to time just like you and your husband are, and like you two, my parents always depended on the Lord to get them through all of their frustrations towards me! I hope that your son grows up to be a bright and smart man that will make you proud of him no matter what he goes through in his life!

    1. Chris- The meltdowns, communication issues, and quirks are definitely a challenge some days, but then again, we all have things about us that are challenging to others. My husband and I have grown and learned a lot from our son. There are many traits of his I wish I possessed: straight-forwardness, retention of facts, not worrying about others' opinions of him, seeing things clearly as right or wrong, etc. We are proud of him and look forward to seeing the man he will one day become! Thanks for sharing!