Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

Special Happens

I am pregnant.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

We have a 16 year old biological daughter. We tried on and off to birth another spawn for about 10 years. We tried fertility treatment. I was told that, likely, unless a medical miracle happened, we would never create another life.

So we went on to adopt.

See, out daughter is amazing. She is brilliant, well behaved, can speak four languages and play two instruments. We figured we did an amazing job, and clearly had the parenting thing down. We were ready for a challenge.

And then God granted our wish.

We adopted two sons from the foster care system. Our two sons would go on to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Within the space of five short years, we went from being completely untouched by special needs to drowning in special. Our almost 6 year old has classic autism, disruptive behavior disorder, and has outbursts of violence and aggression. Our almost 5 year old has PDD-NOS, ADHD and is well on his way to being diagnosed with a learning disability.

Our lives are complicated, stressful and emotionally draining. We fight with school districts, so-called medical professionals, and even the special needs bus aides. We have modified nearly every single aspect of our lives from home décor (our theme seems to be an homage to PECS) to parenting style to having no social life to alienating family members who don’t understand autism.

Something about carting around two young children leads strangers to inquire, “Are you going to have any more children?” (I often wonder if they are curious or concerned!) I have said more times than I can count, “No more kids. The inn is full.”

Except it isn’t.

We must now make room for one more kid in Chateau Cray-Cray.

And I’m scared.

When we had our oldest, I was all of newly-turned 20 years old. Now that I am ancient by obstetric standards (HELLO! Advanced Maternal Age – WTF is that about?), I have reason to be concerned. After all, I’ve only had one other egg “take.” Chromosomal abnormalities are on my mind. I now know way too much about special needs of all varieties: physical, mental, chromosomal, oh my!

Every aspect of my life revolves around special needs. Children with special needs have worth and value. The also take a whole lot of work. I’m worried that I don’t have that in me. I’m worried that we’ll have more special in our lives and that our marriage won’t handle the additional stress and work. I worry that I don’t have the energy to provide the love, attention and care that another special child will require. I worry that a medically fragile child will take so much of me that my boys will regress and lose the progress that they’ve fought so hard to make. I’m worried I will completely lose MYSELF. That I’ll have no idea who I am or who I was before special happened.

And then I talk to my husband.

My husband reminds me that this baby has waited 15 years to make his or her appearance. For that reason alone, he says, we can and will handle whatever comes our way. We’ve got this, he confidently says.

And I realize that he is right. We DO have this.

6 comments on “Special Happens

  1. 5kidswdisabilities
    October 5, 2012

    I can tell you have your hands full, and it is tough. Being pregnant is a miracle, and a joy. You may be pleasantly surprised at what a great, healthy child might emerge! Your boys might surprise you and do well. But please try to find some help so you can take care of yourself also. (I know that is easier said than done.) God bless you!

    • Kelly Hafer
      October 5, 2012

      Thank you very much. So – to add a little fun to the mix – we move cross country 2 months after the birth, and my husband takes an XO billet on a ship. My mom is planning on staying with us from about 6 weeks pre-birth to 3-4 months after delivery. But, yeah, I’m thinking I’m going to need a nanny or something.

      Then I feel guilty about the idea of having someone else in the house to help with the kids…I’m clearly an emotional basket case. 🙂

  2. afatherlost
    October 5, 2012

    “My husband reminds me that this baby has waited 14 years to make his or her appearance.” – What a beautiful statement, Congratulations!

    • Kelly Hafer
      October 5, 2012

      Thank you very much. I hit the lottery with my husband, that’s for sure. Something that I have learned to not take for granted.

  3. Shelley Hill
    October 5, 2012

    Hey Kelly
    You also have some “extended” family that could be called on if needed. This is going to be a great adventure. God never gives you more than you can handle!

    • Kelly Hafer
      October 6, 2012

      Thanks, Aunt Shelley.

      You know, the problem is that God and I have very different ideas about how my life should go. If HE would just listen to me and do it my way…


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