Adopting Autism: The Ups and Downs

I have two kids; a two-year-old little girl and a 14-year-old stepson. My Stepson has autism. His name is Corey. Corey is on the moderate side of the spectrum.

Corey’s mother passed away two years ago; I’m the closest thing to a mother he’ll ever have.

Adopting Autism

I guess I’m kind of jealous of his mom. From everything I know, she was an amazing, one-of-a-kind woman. I could never fill her size-11 shoes. But I try every day.

I try to memorize the acronyms for all his different doctors and specialists. The names and faces of all the people that sit behind their computers, typing God knows what, making decisions about my stepson’s future.

I love Corey. They say you can never love anyone the same way that you love your own child – that there will always be some tiny sliver of favoritism. In the case of myself and Corey, that’s just not true.

But it’s hard. Adopting autism is hard. As Corey and his father move into my house, and I spend all of my time with Corey and my 2-year-old, it’s hitting me just how hard it is.

I never expected the constant worry or the sudden medical changes. I never expected how much time I would spend researching everything ever known about autism.

I didn’t realize that he could still develop more symptoms or that sometimes he wouldn’t be okay, and I wouldn’t know why, or how to fix it.

I wasn’t prepared for the horrible, scary things Corey’s father would express to me when we are alone; when he needed to vent.

You see, I’ve discovered that there’s this very fine line between two types of autism parents. The first type sees autism as a personality trait, as a part of what makes an autistic person who they are.

And the second type hates autism. They feel the sting of every missed moment autism has taken from them and everything that makes their child different from ‘normal kids.’

The line between the two is thin, and often blurs. Some days a parent relates to the first type, some days the second. No matter which type of parent my husband and I feel on any given day, we both love our son for who he is, Autism included.

Some days, Corey’s father is the latter.

The Reality of Autism

Maybe the reality of Corey’s diagnoses hasn’t hit me. I know that he may live with us for the rest of his life; that doesn’t faze me. I don’t know if it will ever bother me. Should it?

I’ve never felt cheated by Corey’s diagnoses, I’ve never thought that it was unfair. That’s what hurts Corey’s father the most; the unfairness of it all.

I suppose that’s why I’m so jealous of Corey’s late mother. She watched Corey grow, spent years learning as she went, as he grew, as his needs developed and changed.

She learned all the acronyms, all of the rules, all the things you’re supposed to do and feel and think and know. I have, in the space of one year, adopted all of Corey’s autism and special needs.

His stimming, his tantrums, his desperate need for structure and a schedule. His inability to communicate how he feels. His doctors, his government aid. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what a parent of an autistic child is supposed to feel. I get overwhelmed.

I jumped into the world of parenting an autistic child, head first. And you know what? It’s the single most amazing thing I’ve ever done. It’s the joy of my life.

When I hold his father as he cries about the unfairness of autism, I don’t understand, and I wonder if I ever will.

Written by Brylee Alexander

Brylee is a professional blogger, copywriter and social media marketer for hire. She’s on Twitter and LinkedIn!

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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