This afternoon at work I was talking to a fellow teacher when she asked me how Kaeden is doing.  This is one of those subjects in which I never quite know how to answer...in general, people want to hear only the good news, the common, "Oh, everything is great!"  However, knowing Kaeden's story and our family history a bit more intimately, many people in our community ask what I would assume to be sincerely.  And it's a difficult question, as I don't have a really good answer.

"He's doing pretty well at the moment,"  I answered.  "He's still in Wijchmaal and has started working at a farm one day a week.  He comes home days in the weekend and that seems to suit all of us best."

The teacher went on to ask how long he can remain in school, and in his home away from home, what his future plans are, etc...and then hit me with some news.

In the paper today was an article about a 21-year-old autistic young man with aggressive tendencies whom lives in the village next to ours.  He also attended Kaeden's school and lived in Kaeden's home away from home.  However, he is now 21, and this demands that his living premises change.  At the age of 21, you no longer qualify to live in Kaeden's home away from home.  And, unfortunately, there is a HUGE waiting list for available resources for these 20-something "kids".  This particular young man's parents were shouting out for any type of assistance they could be offered.  After 13 years living away from home, none of them were able to see a successful future living together.  Yet, legally, it was the only manner.  As parents, we are legally responsible for our adult handicapped children.  Legally, they must have living arrangements.  Functionally, they can't live on their own.  So, what do we as parenst do?  When we have adult children who are aggressive, in addition to being used to living away from home, when they turn 21?  There is no help, no assistance.  We must fend for ourselves and out adult child.  And we start over once again...

I am scared for this coming future we try not to look towards.  I already know that IF Kaeden would come home to live, it would end in disaster...serious disaster...like, death of maiming injury.  It sounds a bit farfetched, but it isn't.  I know, in my heart of hearts, something very bad would come out of this scenario.  But, what other options do we have?

I am frightened of the future.  I try not to let it dominate my here and now, but the truth is that the niggling worry already flls my mind from time to time.  How can it not.  We have 2 years...two years...in which to figure out how to make living possible for all of us, without housing options.  This autism stuff just doesn't get any easier...


A Year Past

Wow, almost a year gone by and here I am, looking back over the past of my life, our life.  I can't believe all the things I have missed sharing...but it is what it is...time for the here and now.

Today, the sun is shining and it's warm and beautiful outside.  Papa is feeling a little under the weather but headed off to work and mama woke up with a sore throat but isn't going to let it overpower me.  My boys, my future...you are both well.  Kaeden sent me numerous messages after I returned him to school, keeping in touch, keeping me updated on his life and times with friends at his home awaw from home.  Jari has exams today, French and more French, and tomorrow a last Nederlands exam before he's free for Easter vacation.

This weekend we took you guys to your big night at the VIP game in Genk.  It wasn't all you expected, but you both still enjoyed yourselves and I especially liked that it was such a memorable experience you could share together.  Mama and Papa went to dinner and a movie, which we haven't done for years.  A real date, just the two of us.  It was really nice knowing we had raised you guys and now had time for us, while you both could take care of yourselves to some degree.  It made me consider what our future will be...and made me proud of all of our accomplishments.

It's now lunchtime.  Jari, you are home from your tests saying they were easy and thinking you will have high scores.  That wouldn't be unusual for you, my little overachiever.  I only hope your desire to learn and be successful stay with you always, though I sometimes worry you put far too much pressure on yourself.  And Kaeden, thank you for a peaceful, easy weekend.  I know it is hard for you and takes lots of energy to make it okay for all of us, but seeing your glowing smile when Eef asked how everything went makes me know how badly you also benefit from happy weekends together.

So, that's the start after a year of absence.  The sun is shining and so is my heart.