We get asked a lot of questions about what our thoughts are long-term for Skylar. This is something that I started thinking about not long after her diagnosis over 9 years ago. Although I have always hoped, and won’t stop hoping, that Skylar will recover from Autism or function high enough that she could live independently, the planner in me needed to map things out. We have tossed around lots of ideas in the past 9 years on what we would like to do as Skylar becomes an adult. Some we still talk about and others we have decided probably won’t work for our family. As you may have noticed, the word plans in the title of this post is in quotes. I do this because I don’t believe that any of our plans are set in stone. We definitely feel as though our plans could change and we are good to just go with the flow of what is happening at the time. I’m thankful to have a wonderful husband who is pretty laid back and listens to all of my silly ideas.
One thing that I feel very strongly about is that I do not want Skylar living in a group home. I know that many families that have children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder have had to place their loved ones in group homes or other facilities. I am not here to pass any judgement on that choice! It is just not what I want for Skylar. Right now at the age of 12, Skylar is already functioning so much higher than the original diagnosing doctors told me should would be. I am forever grateful for that! It is my prayer that we will always be able to care for her ourselves. I truly believe that even if she stays at her current functioning ability that we can do just that. So today, I want to share with you 2 ideas that have been talked about for many years that we are still talking about and actually putting plans into place that will help us achieve these goals.
1) We would love to buy a pretty large parcel of land that we can build not only a home, but a smaller guest house as well. We would love for Skylar to have as much independence as possible, and if we had a guest house, she could live “on her own” but with us very close by to check in on her. We’ve also discussed possibly building some stables as Skylar really loves horses. An even bigger dream would be to have a ranch where families that have children with special needs of any kind could come for therapeutic horseback riding at minimal to no cost. This obviously is a HUGE undertaking, but one we would love to see come to fruition.
So what are we doing to make this happen? Well, we have already started looking at land around where we are currently living. We don’t know for sure that we will want to live here long-term, but we do love the area and it doesn’t hurt to start looking. We would love to buy land while the market is at a low point. We have several realtor friends who’ve said that they believe we will continue to see a bit more of a drop in the market then a slow upswing. We definitely aren’t in any rush, but we realize we need to be smart with purchasing when the time is right.
So for now, our hope is to purchase a larger parcel of land in the next few years. We are working on paying off all of our debt to make doing that a more attainable goal. We know that whether we build a therapeutic riding center on the land or not, we still want a larger parcel of land to accommodate a home, guest house, and stables.
2) Chris and I really want to travel. Those of you who have children with Autism, know that this isn’t always easy. Our kids tend to be very routined and don’t like to be out of their regular environment. Skylar likes to go new places, especially if it involves Becca or theme park type rides, but she doesn’t like to be away from her “stuff” too long. For years we have discussed how we can travel, visit the places we want to, and still accomodate Skylar. This is what we came up with.
This is the ultimate dream my friends. A very comfortable RV! Obviously the RVs pictured here are the deluxe tour bus versions and not even close to what we can afford, but you get the idea. We know that we want to be able to travel, but still have a space that is comfortable for Skylar where she can still have the things she loves..her books, movies, video games, and stuffed animals. So, we have placed the RV on our 5-year plan. We also realize it might get pushed to the 10 year plan and that’s ok.
I think it’s important to talk about our plans for the future. I’ve always enjoyed telling people how we plan to have a fun and meaningful future with our children. Most people usually respond with a comment like “Wow! You’ve really thought this through, haven’t you?” Well, of course I have. I don’t want to get to a point 10 years down the road and be asking the question “Now what do we do?” I don’t think there is any problem with planning as long as you know that those plans can change. Chris and I also believe strongly in praying and asking God to reveal His plans for us. We trust in His plan. One of Chris’ favorite verses from the Bible is Romans 8:28 which says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”. What are your plans? I’d love for you to share them.
Shortly after Skylar was diagnosed with Autism I saw a book entitled “You Will Dream New Dreams”. Although I never read all of the book, the title has stuck with me. Having a child with special needs does change your perspective on life. So many of the things that I once thought were so important, don’t seem quite as important now. The dreams of Skylar becoming a doctor, getting married and giving me slews of grandchildren have just shifted. Would I love for those things to still happen? Sure I would. But I truly want her to lead a healthy and happy life surrounded by the people that love her and the things that bring her joy. That is my new dream!
Love to all of you,