We made it through the first week of summer vacation pretty well, thanks to the help of my niece Natalie. I wish I had my act together and had taken some pictures of Natalie in action, but I did not. Just try to picture a beautiful 15 year old girl playing a ton with Akila, combing out Akila's braids and washing her hair, folding our laundry, playing tag with the kids, doing some dishes, playing some more with Akila, taking the kids to the park, and so much more. She totally rocked and made the week go by pretty smoothly.
The YMCA also helped a lot. Akila went for a few hours each afternoon and had a good time. Two of the days, she came home with an extra swimsuit, both were bikini's, which she is not allowed to have. I assumed that she had "lifted" them and brought them back each day. Then yesterday, I learned that the Y has a ton of swimsuits for kids to wear who have forgotten them, and they just are sitting in laundry baskets for their taking. I felt much better as I had assumed that some poor girl was going home each day with no swimsuit.
I finished reading the Braided Cord by Liz Kulp a few weeks ago, and have been letting it marinate in my head. It is a very good book, and it is heart breaking, painful, and enlightening to read. Liz is a young woman with FASD who writes the book, it consists mostly of her journal entries from about 5 years or so, from about age 17-24 I think. Her mom has some journal entries in it as well as some case workers and professionals who worked with her over the years. I recommend it, but be prepared for a wild ride and some tears. For a parent of a 10 year old with FASD, who seems like she is soul sisters with Liz, it is helpful to see what we may be in for.
I have found that it is better for my own mentality, and for how I respond to Akila, if I am prepared for the reality of our situation, and in a way, expect the worst. I know this sound horrible, and like I do not have faith in the power of the Lord, but I need to be realistic. I know that the Lord can come in and change our situation entirely if He so pleases, and I do pray for this. But I also know there is a reason why Akila is a part of our family, and I believe it is for us to accept her for who she is, and to do the best we can as a family to support her.
It would be naive of me to think that Akila is going to stop raging tomorrow. It would be foolish of me to think that math is suddenly going to make sense to her. It would be foolish of me to think that she is going to stop obsessing over all things that have to do with sex. Does this mean that I don't pray for these things? No. Does this mean that I think that God is not capable of making such changes in her life? No. Absolutely not.
This means that I do believe that God created Akila. He protected her in the womb when she was being attacked from every direction. Heroine attacked her, she won. Alcohol attacked her, she won. Turner Syndrome attacked her, she won (98% of fetuses with Turner Syndrome spontaneously abort-miscarry). Stressful pregnancy attacked her, she won. Pressure to abort the pregnancy attacked her, she won. She is an incredibly strong and beautiful child. God created her, God protected her in the womb. He then providentially placed her in our family for protection and love. He knew we were right for her and she was right for us. He knew she would need a strong family, one who places their faith in Him, to get us through the tough times.
I think His plan was for us to love and protect Akila, and for her to love and protect us from the enemy. We have learned so much about God's love through Akila's brain damage. We see our own sinfulness on an hourly basis. We are brought to the cross daily in our failure, and given new hope and energy in His comfort. He does not want us to focus our energy on curing Akila's brain, He wants us to focus our energy on seeing Him through her brain issues, becoming stronger in the realization of our dependence in Him for all things, and in witnessing this to all who come in contact with us.
Wow, this post has started to get deep, I didn't know that is where I was going this morning. But He did.
A Double Funeral
23 hours ago