Our baby boy, Kaden, turns three next week.
He was born prematurely at 26 weeks. He entered the foster care system at five-months-old after suffering physical abuse.
He spent about a year-and-a-half in what’s called a PMN (Primary Medical Needs) home. (There are levels to foster homes – PMN, moderate, and basic). Then the home he was in planned to close, and he was downgraded to moderate care after having his G-Button removed, so he was placed in our home.
I remember the day he moved in with us. It was just a couple weeks after his second birthday. His foster mom told us that he still “ate” meal-replacement drinks. That he wouldn’t give up his bottle/pacifier. That he fell asleep to the sound of the television. That he had never been barefoot in the grass. That he had never been around dogs.
All of that changed. That very day.
He had a serious speech delay. The only sounds he made were “mm” and “uh”. Someone said something about having his hearing checked, but Beau and I felt that he could understand the things we said to him – he just couldn’t respond (yet).
Beau and I both took a week off of work to spend time with him and get to know him before putting him in a private Christian pre-school. ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) visited him there a couple times a month – until last month – when they stopped because he was about to turn three (age out of their program). So, we arranged for him to be evaluated at our daughter’s elementary school to see if he qualified for services through the school district. Over a period of two days, his language and intellect were assessed. We received the results this morning at his IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting.
He did not qualify for their Special Education program. He has made so much progress over the last year that the Diagnostian and Speech Pathologist determined he had a disadvantage – not a disability.
Those words stir up so many emotions in me – and bring tears to my eyes.
I am blessed. We tend to throw that word around. But for a while, the long-term effects of the trauma he experienced were largely unknown. So, to hear that they do not feel he is disabled at this point is a miracle.
I am thankful. For his preschool teachers loving on him five-days-a-week while I am at work. For his speech therapist working with him over this past year. For the Diagnostian and Speech Pathologist taking the time to assess him and consider what is best for him.
I am proud. He makes progress weekly – daily even. Beau and I will witness something new and just look at each other like – did you catch that?
But I am also heart-broken. Because I know he still has catching up to do. So we are not yet sure what will be next. Please join us in praying that God will direct our steps. And if you know of any speech services for three-year-olds, sent them our way.