Wednesday, February 11, 2015

On letting go

Today is day two of Clara's new adventure. . . 

Swinging = Clara's happy place

I haven't talked about it much here, well, ok . . . I haven't talked about it at all. So here it goes. Because all of these feeling have got to come out or I just might burst.

You see back in August of last year we took a tour and met with the Program Manager of an ABA therapy school.  We were not sure what Clara's needs would be as she moved closer to age three, but we knew we needed to explore all options, get on wait lists, so that our bases were covered regardless of her needs. Thus, the meeting with the ABA school was scheduled. {At this time, she was still involved with ECI, Early Childhood Intervention several times per week (last summer is when private insurance cut us off, so Clara then began receiving therapy via this state program. Then at the start of this year, we were able to begin using private therapy again as well)}. Once a child ages out of ECI, typically they transition into PPCD, Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities. This has always been an option for Clara, and is offered via the public school system for free, until she turns five.

Yet both Brandon and I had this strong gut feeling that she needed more than PPCD. Something more intense. Something more one on one, to teach her the skills she is currently lacking. I will be the first to admit she has come so very far since we started therapy at age 7 months. Sitting up? Check. Pulling to stand and crawling? Check. Walking? Check. Thank you, God. Yet despite all of these amazing accomplishments, we still have a long road ahead, if she is going to be ready for special education at a typical elementary school by age five. 

Strawberry picking last Saturday

Currently, at age 33 months, just three months shy of her 3rd birthday, she still doesn't usually respond to her name. Little response when given directives or when presented with requests. Eye contact is lacking. Social interaction with peers and adults is not where it should be. We have not yet heard her babble or speak a word. So you see . . . we still have a long road ahead. 

So back to last August . . .

We took a tour, met with the Program Manager to discuss the ins and outs of the program, and knew in our hearts, most likely, this was the direction our Clara was headed. So we filled out an initial application and got on the wait list. Which is forever long. I was not expecting Clara to score a spot until at least another year, if that. 

Fast forward a few months to October and a Behavior Analyst via ECI started coming to our home two-three times per week to work with Clara. And y'all . . . she started responding. Tears are flowing just typing these words. Within a few short weeks she was giving high fives when prompted, clapping when prompted, and following through with a few like tasks. The BA even helped her learn how to "clean up," which literally blew me away. Our family will be forever grateful for this therapist, and the confirmation we received that yes, our gut feeling was right and we were on the right path. 

This same therapist encouraged me to call the ABA school in December just to see where we were on the wait list. And the sweet lady on the phone replied "Clara is next on the list for enrollment! I was actually going to call you soon to discuss your interest and if you wanted to pursue admission." 

Blown away. Thank you, God. All glory and honor to you for opening up this door for our baby girl. 

The head of enrollment encouraged us to start figuring out our payment plan. Here is a little hint. . . ABA therapy is not cheap & most private insurance plans do not cover it. Those in the special needs world know this tidbit. It is not hundreds of dollars a month, but several thousands per month. And since there is no money tree growing in our backyard, we knew we needed to come up with a plan ASAP. And we did, thanks to an additional health plan we were able to purchase for Clara that covers a large portion of the cost. We still have to pay a pretty penny. But not thousands. Again, thank you, God. Are you sensing a theme here? Not enough words of thanks and praise. 

At church last Sunday

So today is day two of Clara's new adventure. She is now receiving ABA therapy Monday - Friday 8:30am - 3:00pm. But let's rewind to day one for a moment. Lots of tears, both from Clara and myself. She was crying when I left her classroom yesterday and she was holding onto my legs as if to say "Don't leave me momma." Break my heart. I held it together until I turned the corner to leave and then completely lost it. Tears. Lots and lots of tears. And the tears lasted all day. Not because I am not 100% peaceful about this decision. I am. So is Brandon. We feel fully confident this is where she needs to be. It was time for a more structured learning experience to help catch her up. But change. The letting go. Goodness, it is not easy. It downright stinks.

The fleshly part of me wants to throw a big fat pity party and ask God "Why us? Why Clara? Why do I have to send my 2.5 year old out unto the world now? It's not fair. Other mommas have more time. For the love, she is only 2.5." 

But then I hear God whispering back "Life isn't about being fair. And that's ok. This is your journey. Your story. Not anyone else's. So don't compare your situation to your other momma friends. In time you will understand." 

And I know it is so true. In time it will all come together. It will all be made new. Everything will make sense. Maybe not today, tomorrow, or next year, or even while I am alive on this earth. But someday when I stand in God's presence He won't have to explain a thing. It will all make sense. 

So the letting go piece. . . Yeah, it's hard. I know in time this new adventure will become routine. Our new normal. And someday I will look back and wonder why I even cried my eyes out on day one. But the cool thing about letting go? I am not only releasing her into the hands of a new school and a new therapist, I am releasing her fully into God's care. He's got her. He's not going to let her fall. Hard days ahead in her learning? Sure thing. But He won't leave her there. He will pick her back up. And with that visual and constant reassurance, the letting go becomes just a little bit easier. 

This was yesterday at 3pm. She feel asleep at the end of the school day. Slept all the way to the car and until we got home. Sweet girl was wiped out. :) 


  1. Hugs and prayers. What a beautiful post!

  2. Love this post and love that she's exactly where she needs to be! Can't wait to hear about her adventures there AND I'm excited that you'll get a little bit of a break while she's in school! :)

  3. Teared up reading this... can only imagine how hard it was leaving her yesterday, even though it definitely sounds like you are doing the "right" thing for her! Praying today has been much easier for both of you!

  4. Oh wow, how amazing that she got into school so quickly- and that God provided a way to pay for it!! I hope yall see such fruit from this experience!

  5. This brought tears to my eyes. So happy for you guys. I love that you are thankful and choosing not to think about what might have been different.

  6. You are so strong and such an inspiration. I got tears reading this, too! I am so proud of Clara!!!

  7. Everything about this is so amazing! I can't wait to see what God is going to do during her time there!! :)

  8. Ack. My heart hurts for you, friend. But HE is faithful. Always. Praying this is a smooth transition for your whole family. And praising Him for opening up so many doors to make this opportunity a possibility for sweet Clara.

  9. Ok, once again, I'm super behind on blog reading. I tear up every time I read your words, and am so amazed by God's awesome plan & how he has his hand in sweet Clara's life. Love you!


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