God has been working in my heart for the last several months, I feel the time has come to be honest, honest with you and honest with myself. Georgia has Autism, very few people know that because honestly I never talk about it, almost if I don't say it out loud, it won't be real. However, it is real, she has Autism. A little over 18 months ago, we sought out this diagnosis so that she could begin receiving ABA services.
When I sat through the meeting where the doctor told us that she has Autism, I was numb to the news. I didn't break down but I remember driving home and telling myself that this was for the best. We were going to be able to get the help that Georgia needs. I also remember thinking, the doctor diagnosed her this way, but in my mind I justified it, "well she did have brain surgery and they did remove a significant portion, so it's not really Autism, her brain is just taking a long time to recover." I was at a place where if someone would bluntly ask, I would be honest but I wasn't sharing the news.
Then came the real shocker, because Sean deployed our insurance information had to updated. I had to have Georgia's pediatrician fill out a form with all of Georgia's diagnosis-s. In the middle of the form it listed recommendations and Georgia's pediatrician wrote that Georgia was moderate to severe mentally retarded. Never, never, never have I had that conversation with her doctor. And never once have I had the thought that Georgia was that way. It seems so final. So harsh and without hope. It was a punch to the stomach, I mulled it over for several days and weeks later, the words permanently imprinted in my mind. I just kept saying it can't be real, it can't be so, my daughter while I am aware of her struggles, is not that way. On the way home from receiving the paper I asked God what He says. On a church sign not far from where I asked Him, it says, "God can turn any situation around" and on the opposite side read, "God cannot be limited by any circumstance".
However, as it is, I fully have come to accept that Georgia has Autism. I embrace the diagnosis because it has opened up many doors of opportunity that we may have never had. And with that acceptance comes peace and joy. Contentment that I haven't felt for such a long time. Georgia is a beautiful, spirited, sassy girl. She has so much joy in her heart and finds contentment in the simple things. I accept that while she may not meet the standards of "normal"she is normal in the eyes of The Lord and me. I accept the challenges and face them head on. I accept the Lord's plan for her life, no matter what circumstances may present. He is the potter and I am the clay. I lean into Him and find my strength.
It has come full circle, from the first phone call, telling us that Georgia was having seizures (me sobbing uncontrollably) to accepting her as she is. It has been a rough road, six years in fact, to get to this place of peace, joy, and contentment. I am better for it. She has made me into a person I never thought I could be, I have inner strength that cannot be taken, I have courage to face the unknown with a smile and peace in my soul.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do give to you as the world gives." John 14:27
"You might be an autism parent if when someone says, "I don't know how you do it." You reply, "I didn't know I had a choice."