I don’t know about you but for me I didn’t think that I would be one of “those” women who had a difficult time when their children left the nest. In fact as my friends became “empty nester’s” I secretly wished that I was one of them. However I was girded up for the (my then reality) that I would always have a child home. This was just how it was going to be. My oldest daughter was born with Down Syndrome and at 29 was still living at home. My other two had taken the dive out of the nest and as of yet have not come back home to roost. 🙂
If anyone doesn’t think that God has a sense of humour then they haven’t run into a menopausal woman yet. 🙂 Hence where I am in my life journey. I found that things at home were getting worse in regards to my ability to parent my adult child with Down Syndrome. I felt that I was going crazy or else there was something going on with my daughter. (Come to find out it was a bit of both). 🙂 I noticed some regression in her social and life skills, but as soon as I would think this I would stuff the thought away and continued to do life. Last year was a difficult year for me. I found that what ability I still had left to cope with stress decided to take a vacation and I fell apart. It was time to get a plan in place.
Want to talk guilt! I had it in spades! Thoughts would run through my head like, “What kind of mother am I that I can’t even parent my child?”; “God gave you her as a gift and here you are trying to find her another home.”; “What is wrong with me that I can’t cope like other parents do..there are parents older than you who still have their children with Down Syndrome home with them and they look like they are coping just fine.” And it would go on and on. I was embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t cope. I was worried that people would judge me and think that I was the worse parent ever. I just knew that things weren’t good for either my daughter or for me so I had to do something.
Here’s the cool thing. Also for the last couple of years we had someone working with my daughter to help her come up with a person centred plan which is a plan that details who she is and where she sees herself in the future. This plan was completed just at the time when I was at my wits end. The next step for this plan was to present it to Community Living and get my daughter on the wait list for services. I was reluctant to do this because I was allowing guilt to control my actions. I still felt that it was wrong for me to get Community Living involved because my daughter was my responsibility. I finally got up the nerve to talk to the person who helped put this plan together and explained to her where I was emotionally. I was waiting for the judgement and looks of scorn to rain down upon my head. But instead she encouraged me and said that I was doing the right thing. She told me that my daughter would thrive outside our home in ways that I couldn’t even imagine. Through my tears and through my guilt I began to listen to what this woman had to tell me. She told me story after story about young men and women who left home and are very happy and in some cases are doing better living away from home.
So I made myself make the appointment to go and present my daughter’s plan and the person who helped write it came with me as my advocate. Through more embarrassment and tears I managed to answer all the questions and we were on our way to access services. I was thinking that this process was going to take a year or two to complete. God had another plan. Within a couple of weeks we had approval for my daughter to be part of a home share and that she could move in with her caregiver who we have had for the past 6 years. God is so good. He provided just what we needed and just when we needed it.
As part of this process I also made an appointment with Mental Health and took my daughter for an assessment. She is in the process of getting the help she needs to address some of the concerns that I had tried to ignore as a figment of my imagination. Another avenue where “guilt” tried to tell me what a bad parent I was for not seeing that my daughter had other issues that needed to be addressed. I have since told “guilt” to take a hike! 🙂
We are a few months in with this new journey. My daughter is loving her new home. She is more outgoing and doing more things than she was doing living at home. I am so thankful for the home and family that she is living with. They have continued to embrace her as one of their own.
Please feel free to contact me if you are in a similar situation. I am more than willing to share…hence the blog. 🙂
God has a plan…for all things…