What a Summer! Outside of the chickens, ducks & baby ducklings, bunnies and garden duties, the kids have been home a lot. We’re trapped indoors due to extreme heat, so it’s beginning to feel like the crazy cabin fever days of Winter. Just four weeks ’til school starts back up, and believe me, I’m counting down the days!
It’s been a long time since I’ve updated about Sorin, our oldest. At 19 years old, she finished up her year at the Community Transition program, and continues her part-time job at a pizza shop. She’s mastering her favorite routes on the public transportation system, which picks her up just a few blocks from our home. I’m seeing a lot more confidence in her. She’ll soon be starting a 2-year internship program, Project Search, at the hospital where they’ll create a job tailored just for her. The purpose of that program is to help give young adults with developmental disabilities competitive job skills, and an ability to work much longer hours; ultimately reaching good, stable employment. She’s expressed wanting to work with the newborn babies, or in the children’s ward. She also wants to maintain her job at least one day a week at the pizza shop. She’ll be a very busy young woman in the Fall!
During the past year we’ve noticed how far Sorin has come in the life-skills department. She’s also needing her own space… desperately. She shares a room with 2 year old Amelie, and hasn’t complained once about that. However, I am certain it’s not the best situation, especially as Sorin gets older. Adults with developmental disabilities usually have two options for independent housing. 1) A group home. They can house 8-10 individuals in a suburban home setting, and the residents are far lower functioning than Sorin. This would require her entire SSI income. 2) State funded housing, or HUD housing. She would have two roommates, most likely strangers, in a 3-bedroom apartment, and the rent would be a percentage of her SSI income. Neither option appeals to me for several reasons. There is also option #3) Stay home with family. This includes our previous idea of building a small home in the back yard. I don’t believe that is a good option either.. probably the worst of all of them, considering Sorin leans so heavily upon me and would never reach her highest level of independence as a result.
Then there is option #4) Purchase her own home in the community. At first, this sounds crazy. A monumental undertaking for anyone, especially a 19 year old with disabilities, right? But I keet thinking if we could just find an inexpensive home in town, close to home, it would be the ideal option. I have to add that she could always own pets in a house– a definite necessity for Sorin. Sorin without animals would be insanity! I’ve been checking the real estate listings, and a tiny, immaculate home we thought was perfect for her last year has come on the market again. It’s just .6 miles from our home, which is perfect. We’ll be looking at it for the second time today, and considering the options. Payments for her would be far less than rent, and she’d probably own the home, free and clear, by her 30’s. Imagine that! Sorin, a debt-free homeowner. It’s a precious gift I’d like to help her achieve, and it gives me such peace of mind. And yes, I do believe she can handle living alone. She’ll need a lot of training in the beginning with a lot of daily check-ins, but I know beyond a doubt she can do it. She’s one of the most responsible young ladies I know. Anyway, whether it’s this house or another, I think we’re moving in the right direction.
Overall, we think Sorin is on the right track in every way. Her life is unfolding perfectly and I couldn’t be more proud of her. The internship will definitely be life changing. With the thought of her own home, she’s dreaming of owning her very own Swiffer and mini vacuum cleaner (Hee hee! She had me laughing about this yesterday because I never thought she was so domestic). She’s also wanting plum colored dishes, and really visualizing her own life, and how it will look. I’m looking forward to this next year, and watching her bloom away. Cheers to you, Sorin!