A Single Mothers Journey to Find A Family For Her Son
Just the two of us
I am a truly single parent. What does that even mean? For me it means this; I’m an “older” single mother. I’m in my mid 50’s and I have a child that is 11. ( I was on the pill when I got pregnant.) His “father” is NOT in the picture at all. I get no financial support from him and have no clue where he even is ( the state is working on this FINALLY!). My mother is 80, her health is not the greatest but she’s ok. She’s got the glaucoma thing going on, macular degeneration, high blood pressure, and hearing loss, some forgetfulness but otherwise in good health. I think she’s in better health than I am. She lives in Texas and I live in Florida, but due to her increased loss of vision my son and I will be moving to her area. She absolutely refuses to move to my area because she says it’s too hot and humid, she doesn’t want to leave her home, church, friends, etc. It would be so much easier for me if she moved here. Since she won’t I now have to find a new home, new job, new doctors and specialists for my son and a decent school for him to attend. My mother knows nothing about my current situation. Telling her right now would do no good, and it would only cause her undue stress and anxiety, so I'll wait for as long as I can before we have a long talk. Hell, it might be even beneficial to me to have her nearby.
My single-parent status is complicated by the fact that I have a special needs child. He’s the best kid ever…and I do mean EVER! He’s also got some issues. He has ADHD (I myself have ADD), he also has Asperger’s, an auditory/sensory processing disorder, sleep issues, memory issues and is also selectively mute due to high anxiety and a few other issues. He’s also very loving and gentle. He’s extremely smart in his own right. He's all into cars, military stuff, etc. and He's very artistic and loves to paint. He doesn’t whine when he doesn’t get his way, but then again, he doesn’t ask for much either. Ask him what he wants for his birthday or Christmas and he has no idea. He never gets excited about opening presents and I honestly don’t think he would care one way or another if he even got anything. Just once I would love to see him jump up and down with excitement on his birthday or Christmas! He’s very honest and doesn’t lie. He’s very funny in his own way even when he’s not trying to be. Even at his age he still has to hold my hand when we are out in public. He’s an all-around great kid! I love him more than I can put into words. I know I’m not the only parent that feels this way about their child, but at the same time I also worry about him so much that sometimes I make myself ill.
I’m not in the best of health. I think some of it has to do with all that smoke I inhaled while I was in Iraq and other areas over in the desert and some other problems I have are most likely genetic and just life experiences in general. At this point in the game in doesn’t really matter. What matters to me is what is going to happen to my son if something should happen to me? I know I’m not the only single parent in the world, and I know I’m not the only single parent with this problem, but the lack of an answer or solution to my problem consumes me. I know my mother would have no problem taking my son in IF something did happen to me, but she’s not going to live forever either and then the problem of finding a solution would fall onto her. I don’t want her to have to go through that. So, what do I do?
Most people do have extended family members, that’s not to say that even those family members are willing to take the children if something were to happen to their parents. Even if my child didn’t have any “issues”, I would be terrified at the thought of him going into foster care. Yes, I know there are wonderful people that do care about the children, but then again, there are just as many that only look at it as a source of income and really don’t give a rat’s ass. I’ve heard far too many horror stories about children being abused in foster care. Maybe that’s why I’m so terrified.
A few people have suggested asking friends if they would be interested in taking him in if something were to happen to me…but THEY AREN’T LISTENING. I’m 55, my son is 11. My friends are my age and OLDER. They are grandparents. I hear them say all the time how they love their grandkids, but they are thankful that they don’t have to raise kids anymore. They love spending time with them, but they also are happy when their grandkids go back home, and they can have “their time” back to do whatever they want to do. A lot of my friends are all now retired and spend the majority of their time traveling.
I have reached out to a few adoption agencies only to be told that my son has to be “in the system” and that most families really don’t want an older child, especially one with special needs. One lady was brutally honest with me and told me that the majority of their special needs kids age out in foster care and have nowhere to go once they reach 18. Those that are severely disabled are usually sent to an institution and others go to group homes. She suggested that I start an ABLE account for my son. I had no clue what that was but thanks to Google, I now know and have set up an account for him.
Another lady suggested I join adoption groups in my area with the hopes of finding someone that would be interested in adopting my son if something were to happen to me. This person or couple would have to be in our lives constantly before my son would feel comfortable around them. They would have to learn some sign language for times when he goes mute. They would have to learn how to cook certain foods a certain way (especially my “mama sauce”). They would have to know that certain sounds and textures “hurt him”. They would have to know that any type of flying insect will send my son into a full-blown panic! That’s just the tip of the iceberg!
I know that losing a parent is hard for any child, but I’m scared for my son and how he will handle it. If he does have to go into foster care how will he be treated? Will they be abusive to him? Can I trust them to give him the time, attention and love he deserves? Can I trust them to be kind and understanding? Can I trust them to hold and comfort him when he’s missing me? Can I trust and believe that they will be able to love him as I do or will they treat him like he’s just a source of income? I’ve cheated death 3 times in my lifetime. The last time was having my son when I hemorrhaged on the operating table during my C-section. Dying is easy, I don’t fear it. I fear not knowing what will happen to my son once I’m gone. I tell my son all the time that I love him more than every star in the universe and every grain of sand in the world. Then he'll tell me that he loves me more. I tell him, he can't because I love him so much I used up all the love in the world and he laughs and gives me a hug. I want someone to be able to tell him those same words and mean it! So now I begin my journey to find my replacement and hope that he, she or they will be the best choice for my son.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 yvonne heflin