Thomas was accepted to the Andrus school. Tommy and I were as happy as we could be with this news. It still meant our son was going to live away from us. We were so hopeful they would be able to help calm the aggression, help Thomas be more independent, hopefully lead into some sort of vocational training. Yes I know he was only 8 years old but somewhere inside me I knew he wasn’t going to progress very far academically. In retrospect The Lord presented me with that truth many years earlier.
We had the date of admittance and also a list of suggested clothes and how many pairs or socks/underwear, seasonal appropriate clothing only due to lack of storage. We did however need to think ahead as summer can quickly turn to fall and Andrus is an hour north of us. I had purchased Thomas new socks and underwear and sat down on the floor in his room with a permanent marker all set to mark his initials on all his clothing. Writing “T.O.” on every piece of my son’s clothing hurt my heart. I held back tears until they couldn’t be held back anymore. I called Jackie, one of my best friends in Wisconsin for support. I seriously couldn’t believe I was doing this. I felt almost robotic at some points in time. Just doing what I was told, following directions so Thomas would have what he needed because I wasn’t going to be there.
We had already told Thomas about the school and that he would be living there. He was with us when we did all the visits over the summer so he was aware. Thomas walked in on me marking his clothes and he asked why? I explained that the staff would know his clothes because they all had a “T.O.” on them and I reinforced that he was going to live at the school. I remember he seemed okay with all this. I was a mess however.
The day arrived and Tommy and I drove Thomas to Andrus. Alyssa and Daniella came with us. They were able to see the cottage and know where he was going, nothing was to be a mystery. I remember meeting with the medical staff and I felt very defensive. I was instructed to bring with us all of Thomas’ medications. I did so and had to tell the nursing staff not to follow then directions on some of the prescription bottles due to dosages being changed by Dr.F. I knew Thomas’ dosages better than the back of my hand and relayed all of them. I also told the staff to call Dr. F. if they wanted to double check or hear the dosages and meds straight from his mouth. I know workers in this setting see all sorts of situations some are abuse cases and child protection is involved. However it was clear we were an intact family and I couldn’t help being as knowledgable about my son and his meds as I was. It was who I was at that time. I could answer just about anything about my boy concerning his diagnosis, medications, reactions to meds he tried and why they were stopped. You ask it, I could name it. I felt that the staff was looking at me sideways. Maybe I knew more than the average mother, I don’t know. At that time I felt as though every mother should know what I knew if the situation were similar. God gave Thomas to me to take care of and I was trying my best to not let Him down.
It was in the medical building we were to say goodbye to Thomas. It was difficult and tearful and heartbreaking and hard and necessary.