Most everyone knows the story of our Juddy Buddy. He was our very first foster baby who arrived at our home at the tender age of 12 days. Being our first foster child (and no training), we had no idea what to expect. They brought him into our living room and then told me he tested positive for Meth when he was born. My heart sank as I wondered if I was going to be up all night and all day with a crying, fussy baby. We still fell instantly in love with him. It didn't take long to know he was the best baby any mom could ask for.
Eventually we found out we would be able to keep him forever! What joy was in our hearts. We also knew we would be taking on a lot because no one really knew what the long term effects from prenatal meth use were.
At about a year old he discovered his brother's cars and would line them up on the ledge of our bay window. They were all front to back. Not one was out of place. At 18 months he still wasn't talking so I started getting him evaluated. There were a few signs of delays. At about 2 1/2 he started getting extremely upset at the drop of a hat and would bang his head on anything that was near; concrete, the floor, the wall, us....He also was displaying impulsive behaviors that, even though it appeared he knew they were wrong, he couldn't control them. By this time we were getting a lot of outside help for which we were grateful. We were also learning how others could be so extremely judgemental and close-minded. We would get looks, and occasionally, comments, on our inability to control our child. Some mothers would even tell their children not to play with Jud, just run away from him. He wanted to play with other children so bad but did not know how to initiate that social contact and behave right.
It has been such a heartbreaking but extremely rewarding journey. Once people take the time to get to know Judson they see what a huge spirit lives inside this (albeit oversized for his age) body. He has a love for everyone that goes beyond any social barriers we have all put up around ourselves. He tries so hard.
Even though we have known for over a year, the psychologist just officially diagnosed him with Autism Disorder. Dr. Christensen told us a year ago that he was sure that would be his diagnosis but then changed it based on the paperwork I filled out. When answering their questions about different issues I would state they were not much, if any, of a problem. I did that because we had learned how to deal with most of them. I had not been told to fill out the questions based on what another person would go through if they were taking care of Jud for the first time. This year I was wiser and was instructed better on how to fill out the questionaire.
Judson looks just like a normal little boy about 9 or 10 years old. However, he is only 6 and once he begins talking most would be able to tell he is not 'normal.' We have learned so much from this special child. As parents we have learned more patience. We have to work harder and not raising our voices in anger (at least not too much). We have learned we need to slow down our lives and try to keep a little calmer atmosphere in our home. These are just a few things, but most of all we have learned when we see a parent struggling with a child in public to not be judgemental. We have no idea what that parent is going through or what the situation my be.
We have also learned the blessing of adoption. I always believed that when you adopt a child that spirit was intended to come to your home from the beginning but unable to by normal circumstances. Simply put, that child was chosen to be yours here on earth but had to go thru other means to get here. We have learned you do not love that child any less than the ones you carried for 9 months and gave birth to. Once he is sealed to you & your family he is yours forever, not just binding on earth but binding in heaven.
Jud struggles with a lot of things. Verbally he has a difficult time expressing himself. He just learned how to button buttons and how to skip. He cannot ride a two wheeler but watch out when he is on his tricycle! He cannot tie his shoes and if there is a change in his routine without forewarning, heaven help us all! He is delayed in school and academically only functions at about a 3 or 4 year old level. Oh, but he is very smart! He will draw pictures till the day is long. He loves to build cars with his legos and if you are doing something while he is in the same room as you, even though you think he is not paying any attention, he can come and do exactly what you were doing. Visually he remembers everything and can imitate anything he sees on t.v., especially animals, to the exact sound. He loves music and maybe cannot say all the words but can hit the notes right on.