My special guy is 19 years old! The transition to adulthood has been an unexpected and challenging journey. It has been such a huge life change that I’ve recently presented parent workshops on “How to Navigate the Transition to Adulthood” at several conferences for special needs parents, to warn them of the pitfalls ahead. One of the biggest pitfalls I see parents of adults fall into is actually one we all come across many times throughout our child’s life, beginning the moment after we receive their diagnosis.
When the geneticist handed us the lab results, which showed conclusively that our son’s chromosome 8p had duplicated itself and also had deletions, that was a moment where I definitely hit a wall in my faith. DNA can’t change.
The next time I hit that wall was when he turned 5 years old. I had spent the “early intervention” years working as hard as I could, pushing all the therapies I could find because everything I read said that his brain wouldn’t be mold-able after age 5. Brain development wont continue.
There have been lots of other moments over these 19 years where my faith hit that same wall. “It’s too late, science has spoken” is a lie from Satan. I know that believing this lie is a big deal because of all of the miracles recorded in the Bible, the “it’s too late” miracle shows up over and over again!
It is definitely the most common issue I see among my fellow parents of adults. The teachers and therapists I speak with concur: once a special needs kiddo becomes an adult, or even as they are approaching adulthood, the parents resign themselves to status quo. Nick’s school principal has expressed her challenge in getting adult’s parents to show up at any meetings or activities. Therapists report a significant drop off in adult patients seeking services who had previously received therapies. Activities for teens and adults are hard to find. At first I blamed the community organizations for not providing them, until I realized not many of the adult’s parents I knew were interested in daily or weekly programming for their special one.
Some of it might be age and exhaustion on the parent’s part – I can certainly relate to the fatigue that sets in after about 20 years of accompanying your child to the same old activities or events, where you have to be present and often hands-on. But I also have found that Satan’s old lie of “It’s too late, science has spoken” comes calling on just about every front once childhood is gone.
Come with me for a moment and re-visit a few of the highlights from the Bible that have absolutely bolstered my faith where it was waning? Here are a few reminders of stories where science had indeed spoken, the pronouncement was certain and final:
“But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.” Luke 1:7
“Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?” Genesis 17:17
“On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days” John 11:17
“While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Mark 5:35
There are more stories, so many more! It is a common occurrence in the Bible where science confirms something as final, only for God to show up and heal, renew, provide and restore. If you’re not familiar with any of the above stories, I encourage you to look them up for yourself. The point of all of the miracles we read is that neither scientific fact nor finality of events has any control over what God can do. So who am I to say that Nicolas wont ever read, because he can’t read yet. He wont ever speak more clearly because it’s too late. How dare I say that God can’t continue working miracles in his life?
And here is how that ties into my every day: Hope is alive. In any situation where I believe that God can not move, there is no hope, no life. When I remind myself that God is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” I have hope. I keep pressing forward and live my life with expectation, anticipation and hope. Nick needs hope, and he needs a mom who brings hope into every parent meeting, therapy session and goal-setting conference.
Whether your child is 3 or 33, remind yourself today that there is always hope, there is always more and that God will continue to do new and glorious works as we seek Him and believe that He is able.