After almost an entire summer filled with visiting residential schools and not finding “the one”, you know the one where I can sleep at night knowing my son wasn’t living at home, the one we felt was safe enough for our son. Safe. That our son who had speech issues would be able to tell us if anything happened to him. Safe. That Thomas wouldn’t be abused in any way shape or form. We needed this safety from strangers for our son. We needed to have our gut feelings on hyper drive while touring these schools. There was no arguing or trying to convince the other of a school, it had to be a mutual decision that this was the place.
We both couldn’t believe we were doing this. I remember feeling this was while touring special needs pre school 5 years earlier. That this wasn’t the way things were supposed to be. At the time I was so upset, I was supposed to be looking at pre schools with a bunch of typical children running around, not glancing uneasily at children who had very apparent disabilities, unlike my son who looked typical. Anyway this is how things were at that time, we were doing something we never thought we would do as a parent, making a decision in my opinion no parent should have to make.
In August we received a call from a school that came highly recommended by Nancy and Dr. F. The “Andrus” school. I had called them when we started the whole process. I kind of nagged them to see if they had any openings, who was the admissions director, what population did they serve, who was the admissions director again? Can she call me back? I was quite “persistent” to say the least.
I remember when we drove up there, it was an hour away which was the furthest we would go. The drive way was lovely, well kept and lined with trees and flowers. Thisndrive way led to the main “house” which was where the admissions office and other administrative offices were. We met with the admissions director and she reviewed Thomas’ packet. There was some question of whether his IQ was too low for their program. I remember my stomach was in knots.
We toured the cottage for boys Thomas’ age. It was so nice. An older stone building well kept and very clean. It had bedrooms, some single some double, a living room, huge dining room and a very large kitchen. The residents/boys were at school but we met the staff who were so open and very nice. The director then took us down the road (still on Andrus property) to the school. There were day students and residential students at the school. The residential students would walk down to the school from the cottage every morning. Andrus is on acres of land with an orchard of apple trees before you arrive to the school building. The school was like any other school with administrative offices, cafeteria, gym, classrooms, etc…
I remember going back to the admission directors office (I think) and excused myself to use the ladies room. I was holding back tears and praying fervently to God to please let them accept Thomas, please!!! That he shouldn’t be penalized and have to attend a “lesser” school because of his IQ. My goodness did I pray in that ladies room.
We then met with other professionals, social worker, speech therapist, I can’t remember who else but the room was full and Thomas was sweet and charming hanging onto Tommy . After the meeting we went home and waited.
Thomas was accepted to Andrus and I can’t think of any other reason except God wanted him there. I know my faith and I know God is faithful. He did hear me in that ladies room and I believe we had to see those other schools so we would know what else is out there in order to appreciate what God had already chosen.