Thursday, August 11, 2011

All Growed Up

I've always said that since "normal" kids grow up and move on, so my mentally and physically disabled children would also move on when they reached 18.

Well, they are "All Growed Up." Jay, the "baby" turned 18 om July 28.

We are in the process of getting all 9 of the remaining adult kids into supported living apartments. It's really cool how it's coming together. The oldest three will go into a 3 bedroom apartment probably around September 1. Then Oct 1 the next three and Nov 3 the third group of three.

All 3 apartments are in the same complex and the complex is wonderful. It's newer and the apartments surround a lake and there is a big pool, and the boys are excited about the exercise equipment room!

We've managed to get them all into first floor apartments so that the boys with spina bifida can visit everyone else. So now we've got to furnish all three apartments (with no funding for THAT PART.) The state funds only the staffing the apartments need to help the kids. When the kids are there, there is staff there also.

Everyone has a bed here, of course, but at least three of them need a new mattress. And we certainly don't have any extra/functional chairs, tables or sofas in this house. Everything has been beat to heck and is headed for the dump.

The kids will share the rent and use their SSI to do that. Some of them earn a small salary, too.

Some of the kids are sooo excited. Others haven't got a clue. I'll tell you who is excited: MY HUSBAND AND I! We haven't had any kind of freedom in 43 years. We're already planning vacations. Like to the Smithsonian, the Gettysburg Battlefield, St. Augustine...well that's as far as we've gotten. Although we've enjoyed being parents to so many kids, and would do it again (if a time clock were wound back to 1968, that is. I wouldn't now at age 64 want to start over!)

These apartments are only available because our kids got on Med Waiver. The biggest advice I can give a parent of a disabled child is GET THEM ON THE LIST FOR MED WAIVER IMMEDIATELY. Even if they are only 3 days old. It take many years to get your name to the top of the list. Don't wait until they are 18 to do that. Took our kids 15 or more years to get there. (I'm talking FL here, and I don't know how it works in other states, but find out now.)

We've applied for social security for my husband and I, and guess what? It's just as big a mess to get that done as SSI and medicaid. My husband's file got sent to Alabama for some reason, while we live in FL. Now the FL office has to get the AL office to release the file to them. Want to guess how long THAT is going to take?

We're not going to have a lot of income, but we'll survive. Having fun looking at grocery store "apartments for rent" magazines. The hard part is trashing out this big old house. So much stuff to go through. We'll have to sell the big 15 passenger van with the wheelchair lift. Jay can use Palm Tran Connections service. We recently purchased a super 2002 Chrysler Town and Country minivan, and that will do us fine for many years to come.

Anyone interested in a 4000 sq ft house on an 1.15 acre lot in South FL? 8 bedrooms and four baths, a 28 ft $30,000 kitchen, den, living room and playroom. Wheelchair ramp, too? Cheap because it needs repairs. Probably appraise for about $150,000-180,000.

I'm rambling on. but then again, I probably won't post again for another year or at all. Facebook has killed blogging. Only two of the large adoptive family blogs I read now post regularly.

(Thanks, Cindy and Claudia,)

School starts again on the 23rd of August, but only for a few kids. Three work at the Habilitation Center. Two will go to the Goodwill transistions academy and three will go to a regular high school. They can go until they are 22. One daughter is going thru voc rehab to get a job.

It's a very busy time, but exciting, too. Our lives are about to change in marvelous ways. One of my daughters who is almost 20 says "I am SO ready to move out." My son Matt begs me every day to let him pack for the apartment. He's 26.

I'm sure that our family is not done with drama by a longshot. But it's going to get a lot less hands on for us. It's going to take a lot of getting used to for all of us, but especially for my husband and I.

Pray for all of us. I'll pray for you, too. I'll pray that when you reach my age that things will fall into place as easily as they have for us. It's been a great ride, and a lot of work. But, whoa, what a feeling that we can be (somewhat) FREE!


Cindy said...

You have so earned your freedom and you deserve to have a blast.

Patricia said...

Prayers are coming your way from PA. (sorry, the rhymne was unintended)... PLEASE let me know when you and Gary go to Gettysburg.
i'll meet you there and we can "pace it out" (the battlefield, that is). Love you, pj

Amanda said...

I agree with Cindy!! You need to keep adding to that travel list you have going:)

I will be praying that al your moves are smooth and on time!!


Angel said...

Congratulations Amy, I know this has been on your mind and I am truly glad it is really falling into place for you!