Monday, May 22, 2023

The Challenge

 This weekend was a watershed moment for us.

Our two boys graduated from high school.

That may not seem like an amazing feat since hundreds of thousands and more will be graduating from high school this year just like hundreds of thousands and more have graduated and will graduate in the years to come.

 It's just a right of passage. One of those milestones. An expected part of growing up.

A yawn. A get through the ceremony. A look to the future.

But for my boys - my boys - it is so much more.

For this one all I can do is weep realizing that but for the Grace of God he would still be sitting in a shed with his mind crippled from years of disuse.

He was thrown away - deemed severely physically and mentally disabled.

Uneducable. Useless. Not fit to live out in society. A child to be hidden away behind the walls of an institute that was closed and still is closed to the outside world. 

But for the Grace of God he would still be there. Instead he has graduated from high school. 

And this one - eleven years in an orphanage. Not quite in such a horrific place but he would never have been given a ticket out. His disability disqualifying him for life. 

Another Grace of God story. How he even came to be part of our family. A blessing we weren't looking for.

He came out at 11 years old barely reading, emotionally a baby, screaming for attention.

But God.... 

He has come so far - matured into an amazing young man!

Both lost so much in their early lives.

Both had huge mountains to climb.

Both so far behind academically. 

We had to place them in school where they belonged instead of what their age dictated. Thankfully, their school allowed us to do that.

It gave them time to breath and catch up.

It gave them time to mature.

But, by the time they hit 8th grade they were three years behind their peers and graduating from high school looked far far away.

Staying in school until they were 21 was just not going to be in their best interest.

So we made a decision.

We moved them up to 10th grade in one fell swoop and set them on a course to graduate in 3 years.

Three years for two boys who came from such hard places.

It meant they had to take extra classes in the mornings. All three years.

They took the challenge!

They got up early early every single school day for three years and studied at home before going to school. 

They went to school all day and then spent many many many afternoons and into the evening doing school work. It was not unusual for them to be working on the weekends.

They had to study harder than the average to get by and they did.

They rarely complained and they kept their eye on the prize. Graduating. 

Their learning styles and needs were so vastly different. We had to constantly adjust, adapt, work to meet their individual needs. 

They were so blessed to go to a school where they were well cared for.

They had wonderful teachers - wonderful staff.

They had a wonderful aide for the last two years who came alongside them coaching them through. We would not have done it without our Bri!! 

Their granddad has been one of their biggest cheerleaders! He has picked them up from school each day, tutored them, listened to them and loved them! I don't know what we would have done without him!

Their campus pastor has stood by them all their years at school - encouraging them and teaching them what is the most important of all! 

We love you, Pastor Gary!!

It's a been a tough three years and a wonderful three years.

They are not academically gifted or intellectually advanced. They are average students who took the challenge and worked hard to reach their goal.

And we are their proud parents!

Go John! Go Aaron!!

They are not done. 

They have great plans for the future... but that's for another blogpost!!