Thursday, November 22, 2012

Welcome Natalia Phillips... our first Guest Blogger!

We are very excited to announce that we will be hosting blogs written by others who are living the life of parenting a child or children on the autism spectrum.  Please check out our new page that spotlights our guest bloggers and we will be adding more very soon.  Our friends will be blogging once a month and contributing their knowledge and their experience on the good, the bad and the ugly.  Our first guest post was written by Natalia Phillips.  Enjoy and Welcome Natalia!  

All Aboard My Crazy Train!  
Written By:  Natalia Phillips

          To quote the great Ozzy Osbourne, “Crazy, I just cannot bear.  I’m living with something that just isn’t fair…I’m going off the rails on a crazy train.”  Some days I feel this way.  I have five children.  Three of them are on the autism spectrum.  Our household can get very crazy and there are days that I feel like it is incredibly unfair – unfair for the three who have so much to overcome, unfair to my other two children because so much revolves around the three with special needs, and unfair for me and my husband because we have to work extra hard to not let all the stress and chaos trickle down into our relationship.  All of these things aside, I love my life.  I have an amazing family and have been blessed with five beautiful, unique children.
          I’m grateful for the opportunity to guest blog for Autism Pirate, mostly because I lack the time and motivation to create my own blog site.  I have so much to share, whether it is telling all of you about the good times, venting about the bad ones, or seeking advice from other parents out there.  For now, I’d simply like to introduce myself and briefly tell you about my five kids.
          My name is Natalia.  My husband, Scott, and I have been married for 8 years.  Over the course of these past 8 years, I have been a foster mother, a biological mother, an adoptive mother, and most recently, a surrogate mother. 
In 2004, when we were 23 years old, Scott and I became foster parents.  That summer Sarah came to live with us.  She was 4 years old.  Sarah was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, as well as speech and language delays and intellectual and cognitive delays.  We obtained legal guardianship of Sarah in 2006 so she could leave the foster care system and live with us permanently.  Sarah just turned 13 and the teenage years are bringing a whole new set of challenges. 
On December 15th, 2004, our twins came to live with us.  Tyrel and Tyrese were 3 ½ years old.  Tyrel had some mild speech delays and some major behavioral problems and anger management issues.  Tyrese had a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder, accompanied by speech delays, delays with processing information, sensory issues, and fine motor delays.  We adopted the twins in 2010 and today they are 11 years old.
We also have two biological children – Paul, age 6, and Cash, age 4.  From birth to 12 months, Paul was a happy, loving, and smart baby who hit all of his milestones early.  Almost immediately after he turned 1, we noticed that he wasn’t learning any new skills and shortly thereafter he began losing the skills – speech, fine motor, and social – that he did have.  At the age of 2, Paul was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  We were blessed to already have so many resources in the home for the older three children so Paul was able to get a lot of help right away.  He has made remarkable progress and although his social skills are still lacking, he is super smart and has an amazing memory (and this isn’t just mom-bragging…Tara can attest to this!).  And then there is Cash – my wild child.  He is outgoing, smart, and so funny!  I know he’ll grow up to be such a loving and accepting person when I watch him interact with his siblings because he doesn’t notice the differences that they have. 
So that’s my life in a nutshell.  Never a dull moment!  I look forward to sharing more with everyone.  

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