Candace and Marty were overjoyed to find out that their file had been chosen for an adoption possibility. They met with a social worker and a wide-eyed five year old who captured their hearts. His big smile and warm eyes found a home in their heart. Kevin was the perfect Christmas present for a couple who had longed for a child to call their own.
Candace was thrilled to be able to take parental leave from her teaching position and get to know her gregarious little boy. They were well aware of the trauma he had endured as a foster child but were certain that their love and care would soon take care of all of it. Their large yard and even larger hearts would be more than enough.
It was only three days into becoming a family that they started noticing little quirks that made them wonder if all was as it should be. They were aware that Kevin had Weaver’s syndrome, an abnormal, genetic, growth problem that was present in his biological siblings. Kevin had trouble with doing things in a sequence. He seemed to get overwhelmed very easily and things didn’t go so well when he began school.
Socially awkward, Kevin wasn’t aware of boundaries or other social intricacies. These early interactions isolated him from interactions, play dates and birthday parties. He just didn’t seem to cope well with other children. Cousins became his main source of friends since they had to accept his odd behaviours like it or not.
After much testing and waiting and form-filling, Kevin was diagnosed with a high-functioning form of Autism with sensory issues. He has issues with attention and modifications have been made at school to help him concentrate and get his work done.
Kevin has continued to grow…and grow…and grow. As a teenager he towers over his much shorter parents and his shoe size has outstripped his age. He is mostly a quiet boy but this can sometimes mean that he is doing something that Candace and Marty have to deal with. Anxious behaviours of different varieties have littered his day to day life. Things that your friends don’t necessarily want to hear about.
Candace feels isolated because she tends to see a glazed over look in her friends’ eyes if she mentions that Kevin was chewing his toenails or pulling his hair out. There are many comments about his size. She has had more than enough people try and tell her what is ‘wrong’ with her son. She has had to fight tooth and nail to get help at school. According to some teachers he is just lazy. They seem to understand ADHD but not ADD, which Kevin exhibits.
Marty often feels overwhelmed by his son’s behaviours and sometimes reacts in ways that make Candace cringe. She finds herself having to referee between father and son, not a pleasant place for anybody to be. Because they are unsure of how people will react to their son they take vacations by themselves. They volunteer to be helpers at the clubs their son is involved in to ensure that he has proper supervision.
Candace has had to do the hard work of letting go of some of the dreams that she had for motherhood. She had hoped for heart to heart conversations with her kids as they matured. Now she sees that unless she has a good handle on a lot of movie lines that isn’t going to happen and her heart breaks just a little more. She has seen that a ‘normal’ work day or workplace may not be an option for Kevin, modifications or a very understanding boss will be essential for him to ‘make it’ on his own.
Puberty hasn’t quite hit yet but it will, anytime now. What life will be like for this little family when that event occurs, they don’t know. They have already survived many hurtful comments and behavior issues, the twist that hormones will afford is yet to be seen. What they know for sure is that grace will be required.