Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mother Connie Sez: Is it Synchronicity?

 Michael Birdsong

Any parent of children with special needs knows the management of their care can be challenging from the inside out.

If those needs are apparent at a child’s birth, there is shock and a tsunami wave of emotion ranging from fear and anger to guilt and sorrow.  There is loneliness, worry, and confusion, too.
When those abate-or diminish-there is the day to day routine which can be punctuated with medical appointments and crises; sleep deprivation and difficult decisions.

When special needs children reach adulthood, it most likely means their parents have reached Social Security status.  What about the perpetuity of the care of precious, special offspring?

Let me share with you a story:

Our little fellow had an assortment of birth defects that meant his birth parents were unable to care for him.  He was shuttled from hospital to hospital until he was three years old, at which time he became available for foster care.

As this little boy was enduring surgeries to correct his anomalies our own family was mourning the loss of four babies who, for various reasons, did not survive their births.  Because we wanted to round out our family to 4, we applied to the State to be foster parents.

Little Michael Birdsong arrived at our home on a blistering June day, accompanied by a social worker and her aide.  Michael  wriggled a lot and it was a full time job to make sure he stayed inside the car! 

SIDEBAR:  This was in the era prior to child car seats and seat belts!  END SIDEBAR.

Michael Birdsong had been described to us as a blond, blue eyed charmer who was in need of an emergency placement.  We later learned that the woman who planned to foster him for the long term had a family emergency of her own and was unable to accept this placement.  We also found out that our home was the THIRD home in 21 days; the FOURTH in a month! 

There was magic in the moment.  He reached his little arms out to all of us and directed his greeting to me:  “HI, MOM!”  We all fell in love with one another that day.

Life with Michael has never been dull.  There were endless rounds of medical appointments and clinics; there were his strange behaviors and made-up language; we marveled at his will to do what all our kids were doing, despite the physical challenges and intellectual differences.

Along the way, The Bird was named Foster Child of the Year.  He got to hug “his” Governor on TV the same day he ate lunch with him! 

When he graduated high school and walked unassisted across the stage to accept his Special Ed diploma from the Governor of our state, another of “his” Governors, he got a standing O and it was quite the moment.

Along his journey from his arrival to our home and high school graduation he had endured many surgeries, three episodes of long term coma, in addition to many other ailments.  He was a trooper who could laugh at himself.  HE MADE US LAUGH, TOO!

Our nest began to empty but Michael stayed at home with Mom.  There was Adult Day Care and he was a people person who knew everyone in our neighborhood.

When Mom remarried it created a blended family.  Michael’s new step daddy had a special needs son, too.  He lived in a Group Home and attended a workshop. Michael remained in the home we had shared and continued to attend Adult Day Care.  We checked on him often to make sure he was eating well and managing successfully.  When we found him unconscious, in need of an emergency shunt revision to correct spinal fluid, the decision was made to put him into a Group Home so he would never be alone.  

He lived with his step brother and one other housemate.  They all bonded and have remained close friends.

Michael’s health began to deteriorate, however.  A surgery from which he did not recover well left him with memory issues, confusion, and lethargy.  It was an exceedingly painful decision, but it needed to be made:  Michael Birdsong needed to be placed in a nursing facility for 24 hour care.  At the time of his arrival, the staff estimated he might linger for six months.  He was weak, thin, depressed, in great pain, and was very confused.  He was 29 years young.

It was about this time in his life that Michael's Services Coordinator, who had been a faithful partner in so many transitions in The Birdman’s life, transferred to a different office.  He would be served by a new coordinator.  I will always remember the young dark haired beauty who arrived, curls bouncing, carrying in the stack of folders pertinent to Michael’s case.  We loved HER at first sight, too!  She was a mighty advocate for as long as she worked with Guy.

Over a decade, Michael’s health  improved
significantly.  Because of what Mom had learned about water, supplements, sleep systems, energy medicine and a plethora of information he was able to participate in another workshop setting.  It was with great joy that he became able to live in a Group Home.  He would miss his friends at the Nursing Home but a Group Home would mean more opportunity for learning and a more upbeat existence.
There came a point at which things with the agency sponsoring Michael's group home began to unravel.  Meanwhile, we were at a place where, as aging parents, we needed to simplify our lives.  We consulted our beloved services coordinators-past and present-for answers to our dilemma. 

As we were pondering and debating our course of action we learned of a brand new agency with a fresh vision and hopeful philosophy.  Could we trust this new agency?  Would they let us down?

After a VERY rough and rocky start to the beginning of a chapter in life that put those step brothers back under the same roof, we have met the people who will be caring for both guys.

These people WANT our boys.  They have a home that is laid out so as to accommodate them.  They have children and relatives who will embrace them, with all their warts and foibles.   They seem to be well qualified and well trained for the herculean job they have accepted.  This amazing couple, and their family, came to the agency at THE PERFECT TIME.  I am persuaded it is a ‘God thing’!

Nothing in life is certain.  But we are feeling mighty elated!  We have no control over things like our kids’ lives, so we must TRUST that Divine Providence is at work. 

Special needs have become special blessings on so many levels!

This morning we are marveling at the synchronicity of how our boys are enjoying a quality of life we dared to hope might be possible.  If it is not synchronicity; if not a God thing, then, pray tell, what IS it?

Connie Baum
The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

PS/My good friend, Rainy, has a blog devoted to the issues of Special Needs.  It's called Growing Up Special and I'd love for you to cruise over there and check it out. ***Rainy loves comments as much as Mother Connie does, hint/hint!



  1. What a heartfelt story and a magnificent way to start my day! Thank you Connie for sharing. I learned things about Michael I never knew - and you're right, he is a gift to the world. Speaking of which, so are you and the Norminator! Love you.

  2. p.s. Does Michael know he's world famous now? :)

  3. Anita, Michael was once featured in an ostomy magazine that got world wide distribution. I was in a dither! I waved it at him and said, "Michael! You are world famous! What do you think of that?"

    His response was a dour but sincere, "Can I have a peanut butter sandwich when we get home?"

    Is that vintage Birdsong or WHAT?

    Thanks for coming by and LIKEing it! grin

    Mother Connie

  4. As I read this, I was dissolved into tears. My heart was slashed in two and then all was ONENESS. Amazing what it did to my heart chakra.
    My Gratitude, Love, and Light,
    Sheila Davis

  5. Oh, my darling Sheila. I love your comment, of course, but the LOVE with which you sent it is immeasurable and I am happy about that!

    Hurry back!

    Mother Conniw

  6. Connie, what a blessing for Michael - first to have such a fantastic motherConnie and to have such a caring family who can be a part of both of you and hubby's beautiful sons. It truly IS a "God thing" and I am blessed to know all of you. Oh how I want to meet the family who is caring for the boys. They deserve hugs, too. Hugs to you and Norm. Kathy

  7. Kathy, we will see so you do meet this wonderful new family ASAP! I think a road trip to Ttown is in their future! We'll put you on "The Tour"...

    Thanks for coming by and leaving your mark.

    Mother Connie

  8. Connie, WOW it brings tears of joy and concern. It takes special people like you to be able to go through life with this challenge and your special love. Thanks for Sharing.


  9. Thanks, John. Glad you could stop by and see how well things are going for the guys.

    Hurry back. We always have the coffee on!

    Mother Connie

  10. Well young one now it seems more clear than ever that the two of you were brought together as part of a divine plan.

  11. BB, you are exactly correct. It sometimes feels as if Michael and I are one person in two bodies or rather like an old married couple. Someday I'll give you the BACK STORY about many examples of how our mom/son relationship has played out. Maybe I'll put all that stuff into a book...

    Love having you cruise by, dear heart.


  12. The more I learn about MB the more I adore him. He is an inspiration and he is so laid back about it all. And he just loves even shows on his face. :) Thanks Connie for sharing your story of mother and son! You were the perfect mother for MB, chosen by the creator himself.


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