Walking With Our Oldest Baby

Here I am again. I know, it has been months since you have heard an update from us. We are still here, just super busy these days.

First, a little update on Seth and Joy: Seth is crawling correctly now after Princess 1 and I spent a lot of time on the floor helping him learn to crawl the correct way. He is also saying, “Dada” and “Mama” and cruising around furniture at 16 months of age.

Joy is crawling, standing up, and saying, “Dada”. She is also making “kiss” noises these days. She and Seth enjoy throwing soft baby toys at each other from crib to crib when they wake up. 🙂 Those two are so adorable together! We are so blessed!

So, you ask, what is this post about today? This is about our “baby”. Our oldest “baby”. Prince 1 is an amazing son. You see, he has been through many adversities and struggles in his life. He has asperger’s, auditory processing disorder (loses about 30% of what is said in background noise), and dyslexia. He is severely handicapped and yet, has an amazing IQ! He is extremely intelligent, but people do not always get to see this as they judge him by his un-social behavior (which he often does to try and get attention or “fit in” as few want to be his friend) or slow processing (reading or hearing incorrectly) issues. I used to think when I heard the word, “severely disabled” that it meant someone who could not function in society. That thought was totally wrong! Our son’s disabilities hinder him from doing easily what others do without a second thought. However, it doesn’t mean he can’t do the same things they do. It just means it takes more time and effort for him to learn to do the new things. For example, he took a diagnosis test that would normally take only 2-3 hours. It took him almost 6 hours to take it! So, when you read something in 15 minutes time, it takes him a little over an hour to read it! You can imagine what this will be like for him in college.

Our son just started his first job as a CNA-in-training. He was upfront with them on his first (and only interview he has ever had for a job) interview about his struggles. They said it was not a problem and hired him on the spot! They are going to pay for his training and certification to be a CNA. By the way, CNAs do not make much at all. He plans to work for a year or so to earn enough money to attend college as he will be paying for all of his college. Then he plans to study to become a physical therapy assistant. Later, he wants to attend med. school to become an orthopedic doctor.

He told me, ” Mommy, it may take me until I am 50 years old to become a doctor, but it’s what I want to do. I just remind myself how many years it took me to learn how to read fluently and know that I have to keep moving forward.”

Prince 1 and I have shed many, many, many tears, said many prayers, researched, read together, and walked side by side through this past 18 years of homeschooling, holding each other up at times. His Daddy has always been supportive and helped us in any way we asked for help in homeschooling. He has listened to me many times as I called him at work sobbing over yet another struggle or discouragement that Prince 1 and I had run into. He has prayed for us and supported us all the way. His siblings have at times been totally unkind(as all siblings can be at times) to him, but for the most part, you don’t discriminate against their brother! You don’t not include him because he struggles. He is their brother and you better recognize him as God’s child too.

Prince 1 reads his Bible, can quote Scripture, and shares his faith with others. He researches so much and then shares with us. He loves his German Shepherd, who is faithly by his side every moment of the day. He is amazing with animals. All animals seem calm around him. He throws a mean bale of hay. He won in 4H Shooting Sports in the rifle competition, beating out the 18 year old champion when he was just 14. He put 5 bullet holes through a hole the size of a dime! He gives his all when asked to do a job around the house or when helping others away from home. One time when we were stuck in the snow, he carried his little brother all the way up the long, long driveway to the house so that he would not fall in the snow while we walked in the dark. He does an awesome job of moving people-furniture, boxes, and more. He can quote laws beyond your imagination in certain areas. He has been known to tell doctors more about where certain bones, joints, etc. are located than they ever dreamed this guy would know. He is so handsome too! Most importantly he is a child of God, created in His image!He is our son, our oldest “baby”.

It took him until he was 15 to read fluently. He would work with me during the day, work with Steve at night, and then sit up late with his little brother asking him to tell him what certain words were. He would then write the words down he did not know, draw a picture of them, and then memorize the words. This child has worked 10 times harder than any of us have, just to get to this point in his life! He has already worked a lifetime worth!

After meeting with a lady (who specializes in some of his areas of struggle), she has recommended that he get a special speech-to-text/text-to-speech reader. The cost of this? $1800. Plus, he will need to buy a scanner as well. He will then be able to scan his textbooks, put this item over each page and then it will highlight the line it is reading. It will then read the line outloud, allowing him to follow along with his eyes as the areas are highlighted. He will be able to read much faster and hear it read to him at the same time. The lady said that it will take him 10 years or more just to get 4 years worth of college completed as it will take him so long due to his processing struggles. She herself has a couple deaf children and has her own hearing impairments. She says this has been a life-saver for her as it has allowed her to go to college a few years back. Insurance will not cover this wonderful piece of technology because they do not feel it is medically necessary.

Meanwhile, the studies show that people with this many struggles end up homeless and jobless as it is very difficult for them to get into a job or school. We have been pointed in the direction of getting some help vocationally and finding a caseworker who will advocate for our son in college. We are now looking into this. See, we can no longer advocate for our son when he turns 18 next month. He is now an adult by world standards and is expected to stand on his own two feet. Our son who is so intelligent will not make it through the cracks at this rate! Our son who has worked so hard for so many years to read, to hear properly, to fill in the blank, will most likely be looking at being jobless and unable to attend college because of this????? NO!! NO!!! NO!!! Mama Bear will NOT stand for this! Nor will any of her family. Our son has been motivated all along, prayed his way through learning to read, begged God to help him learn as quickly as others learn through reading, and not given up even one time, will not be told he cannot go to college or get a full-time job. It’s fine if other teens do not want to be friends with him. It’s fine if other adults think I’m nuts when I talk about some (notice, I never tell all of our struggles…you can’t handle the truth!) of our struggles on this walk of special needs. It’s fine if others want to judge us too. But, it is NOT fine if our son is not given the opportunity that others are given! He has worked too hard to come this far! We will storm God with prayers all day long that the gates will open wide and clear for our son. We will pull together a prayer warrior circle to pray our son through college and into a successful job! We will NOT give up.

I have had moments of wondering if we did the right thing homeschooling our son, but God always confirmed to me that we were going in the right direction. Today the lady we spoke with, told us that she can see how much work we have all done through the years and that we did the best thing ever for our son-homeschool! She said it was wonderful that he was able to have a quiet area to study/hear/think and so much more, along with having extra time to do his work. He was safe at home to be himself and did not grow up being labeled and picked on. Do you know how comforting those words are to hear? We did the right thing. The best thing for our son! All those years of praying about which direction to go with our son each year, have paid off. God has never left our side, nor our son’s.

It is amazing to look back and see that our son is even here. The first words the doctor said as he was born all dark purple were, “Don’t quit on me now” after we had just endured a very traumatic birth. Our son has never quit- EVER. You know what? If I had to face these adversities, I’m being honest here, I think I would have days of wanting to quit. Just forget it…I’ll never do this or that…noone will ever accept me….

Anyway, that is only a touch about our oldest baby, who by the way graduates in just a few short months. We had set up a special SURPRISE gofundme account for him just a week or so ago. We wanted to help him raise some funds towards college. Well, now that we realize we need to get some special technology into his hands to help him function like anyone else in college, we are working on raising money to buy this technology. I am unsure of the name of it at the moment- Prince 1 has all the paperwork with him right now. But, suffice it to say, it is some amazing technology! So, Mama Bear is going to be busy fundraising for Prince 1 (without him knowing about it!) to get this piece of technology. If you’d like to join Mama Bear and Papa Bear in their fight for their son’s playing field to be somewhat leveled with everyone else’s in his “new world” being an adult working and going to school, please consider donating or sharing our story with others.

Want to help our son show the world that he is quite capable of doing anything that he puts his mind to? Then consider these options, but please remember this is a SECRET. Our son has no clue we are doing this for him! 🙂 Also, please do NOT post his pics. to Facebook. Our family does not put pics. of our children on FB. So, if you want to share, please email the link for his Go Fund Me account. Here you go:

http://www.gofundme.com/BlakeBennett (this is to help with college costs)

http://w3657.myubam.com/Event/51741 (I am donating all my commission to our son’s need for the speech-to-text/text-to-speech piece of equipment along with a scanner. So, every time you buy through this link, he earns money to use towards this purchase…again this is secret too)

Or if you’d like to surprise him via mail, please do so!

Any of the links out to the side that we used to raise funds to adopt Seth and Joy will now be used towards our son’s needs. You may shop through the links to the right of this.

And last, but not least, would you consider writing our son a note of encouragement? We want our son to know that he has a slew of friends behind him praying for him every step of the way. A note or card would be a wonderful encouragement to him. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders right now- trying to learn all of the CNA training and pass the exam, get into college to study to be a PTA, passing the ACT and SAT tests (and needing tons of extra time to do so), preparing for a speech/debate tournament coming up in which he will participate in, learning his new job, learning a new piece of music to play for his graduation ceremony, trying to earn the money to eventually go to college, applying for scholarships, and worrying about his future.

We will give him the SURPRISE funds after graduation, unless we are asked to give them to him earlier for other reasons. 🙂 He will be so shocked when we give these to him!

Thank you for coming alongside us and praying with us as we continue this journey with our son. We so appreciate your support and love!

We continue to be walking with our oldest “baby”.

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