History – How Did I Get Here?

The journey thus far has been so totally different and unexpected. The romance fairy-tale was not a reality and the perfect family upbringing was not so perfect from the inside looking out.

As a child, I always felt out of place. I was afraid and I didn’t really belong. My memory of childhood is very scare and scattered. I don’t remember being told that I was adopted. I was adopted at six weeks of age straight from the hospital. I was told at age four from the advice of the doctors. My parents were told this was the age to tell a child such news. I am guessing it must have been so scary for me that I cannot even remember. All I do remember is that I dreamed of growing up and having a family of my own to love and to cherish. I was going to have four or five kids and adopt or foster a special needs child. I was going to love and rescue all the children that were abandoned.

As a teenager, I collected articles about adoption and special needs and foster care. I dreamed of becoming a mum one day. I did consider becoming a nun and working as a missionary with children. Maybe that comes from an all girls catholic school education and some nuns as teachers. The missionary idea was a romantic escape from the demands of life.

After high school came university and the study to become a nurse. I was scared and intimidated. Genetics fascinated me and I wanted to explore other study options including teacher but that was prohibited. I did however, put in an application to the adoption agency for my medical history. The one thing I learnt from study to be so important for my future children and myself. I flippantly also filled out the paperwork for the adoption contact register. Never did I really expect anything as I was told by my parents I was an only child at birth as apparently that is what they were told. But it turns out I was child number six, and younger than me, I had a complex needs special needs brother in an institution and two half siblings.

After nursing I did my post graduate year at Ryde Hospital in Sydney then my midwifery studies also at Ryde. What an amazing year that was and being surrounded by all these precious babies was so special. After that year I moved to Dubbo and met my now, ex-husband. It was a whirlwind romance. I was totally oblivious to the so many things and so happy that somebody loved me despite my flaws and hidden secret that I had shared with him. At one point my instinct was to leave, during our engagement, but the words of you made you r bed so you lie in kept resonating. I told myself I had made a commitment and must keep it.

We met in 1992 and married in 1993. Daughter one was born in 1994, his first heart attack was 1995. Daughter two was born 1996 and his second heart attack was 1997. Then there was a third one in 1999, after spinal myelitis where we thought he has MS as he was loosing feeling in his lower limbs and his walking was impaired. The steroids caused that third heart attack. In 2000 he had testicular cancer and he had to have one testicle removed and radiotherapy. We were told we would never conceive naturally. In 2001 and our first son was born much to this dismay of the oncologist who was cranky we got pregnant so soon after radiotherapy. 2005 saw the birth of our second son and fourth child. At the four caesarean I had a tubal ligation as my body would probably not support another pregnancy. 2006 saw my husband have five way bypass surgery. 2007, we moved from country NSW to Sydney to attend bible study for my husband to become a pastor.

In  2010 we separated as I could not live a lie.  In 2011 I moved to regional NSW to start a new life with me and the boys. Son one was diagnosed in 2011. Son two was diagnosed in 2013 on paper but 2012 verbally. 2012 also saw the diagnosis of my now ex-husband and my first born daughter at age 17.5.  What a year. My very first conversation with the diagnosing psychologist was like she had been a fly on the wall of my house for those eighteen years or so. What a relief it was to me to find out that I was not insane. There was a reason for what was happening.

In 2015 I was given the opportunity to participate in contributing to Parenting a Child on the Spectrum. I am honoured and humbles to be published beside these amazing ladies. Some have made some incredible contributions to the autism community and I am in awe of them. For me, writing was so very cathartic, so freeing and so validating. Autism isn’t the only part of my life that I want to share openly and honestly about, but Autism is what has got me to this place today. I am thankful for the opportunities and  lessons it has brought on this journey. And at times I am angry, resentful and wonder how there can be a God and how can this life be just and fair. Mostly, I am thankful that I have been able to support and encourage others and that is what I want to continue to do.

May you be blessed and loved by my honesty and openness.

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