hard truths

Sumner’s physical therapist said something during our last session that really hit home for me. She said, “Even though he’s almost two, he still functions mostly like a one year old.”

Yes, I already knew this. But being reminded of it… again… hit me hard. You see, I’ve been dreaming of what comes next for me and Sumner in the next year or two. I need to start figuring out what I want to do when Sumner is ready to transfer out of early intervention in summer 2022. He should be starting preschool in fall 2022. Do we enroll him in public or private preschool? Where is he going to have the most support for his developmental delays? Will he be walking by then? Will he be potty trained by then? Will he be feeding himself by then? Will he be talking?

Short of shaking a magic 8 ball, I just don’t know where he will be in these areas in a year when I have to seriously make these decisions.

I know that I want him in a part-time program. That way we can keep up with other activities and therapies after school. Also, a full-day program just seems like a lot to ask of this kid since he’s never been away from me or Justin for more than an hour.

Needless to say, I’m spinning out about what comes next for him… which leads me to immediately spin out about what comes next for me.

Since we were matched with Sumner, my life has been 100 percent about him. From the daily back-and-forth drives to the NICU to be with him to being a stay-at-home mom, I’m always with him or thinking about him. (Fun fact: I’m writing this while Dad has taken the boy to run errands. I should probably be showering.) With him being in school for the mornings, hours of my life open up as non-Sumner time. It’s a little bewildering to realize that I’ll have 20 hours a week where someone else is responsible for him.

But that’s all for another day as today I’m making the conscious choice to sit with my feelings about what his PT said.

She said that he’s a year behind developmentally. In other words, he can’t — yet — do the same things as other toddlers. He has more in common with my friend’s eight-month old than my other friend’s 15-month old. Those truths hurt my heart. Not because I’m jealous, although sometimes I am when I see videos of the eight-month old plowing through food on his own, but because I want so much more for him. It also makes me mourn the stay-at-home mom experience that I thought I would have with a typical child. That experience won’t happen for me.

I’m also angry. I’m angry because Sumner didn’t ask for all of these challenges and he didn’t deserve them. In our adoption classes, I was prepared to feel a lot of things towards the birth family, but anger wasn’t one of them. I’m forever grateful that they made an adoption plan for Sumner and that we were chosen to be his parents. I’m also incredibly angry about the fact that the majority of his challenges were preventable or could have be mitigated. It’s complicated. I’m trying to work through these feelings, but I know it’ll take time.

I’m also worried about his future. It’s important for us that Sumner is provided with all the resources he needs to reach his full potential — whatever that might look like. We don’t know what the future will hold for him. Will he need additional eye surgery? Will he be diagnosed with autism? How will his developmental delays impact his ability to make friends? Will he need adaptive equipment to meet his needs? We’re privileged in that Justin has a great job that provides us with the ability for me to stay home with Sumner and that we have excellent health insurance. We’re starting to think about how to prepare for Sumner’s adulthood and will be taking steps in the future to make sure that he’s secure financially.

It’s all a lot.

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