Part 1 of 4

‘We have four children. Our oldest is Jackson. He’s fourteen and autistic and middle-functioning on the autism spectrum. We have a daughter, Ellie, who passed away twelve years ago from heart disease. She was born terminal. Three years after Ellie passed away, we adopted our beautiful daughter, Ivy. She is smart and funny and feisty. The day we brought her home from the hospital, we found out we were nine weeks pregnant with our fourth child, Jonah. He ended up coming a little bit early so he and Ivy are about seven months apart. Jonah is also autistic and higher-functioning on the spectrum. Ivy has ADHD and some bi-polar tendencies. She also struggles with anxiety from living with two boys with disabilities and other challenges we face.

It never occurred to us that we would end up with special-needs children. We were planning on having two children, so we had our son, Jackson. He was born extremely premature and weighed two pounds so he had a lot of special needs right from the beginning. Once he was stabilized, we decided to try for our second child. When Ellie was born with heart disease and passed away, that changed our dynamic to ‘we have two kids but we only have one with us now.’ But then, we adopted Ivy and we thought we were done and then, of course, Jonah ended up coming, so it seemed like we went from one child to four overnight. We just never expected to have special-needs children…and this life we’ve been given has been a much different life from what we thought we were planning.’

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