In the state of NC, when you have a child with a diagnosed disability, you can apply for hours of support through the state. These hours come in various forms. Right now, we receive developmental therapy and respite hours for our boys. The total number of hours for each boy per week is 17. We have these hours filled by one of the local entities in Alamance County that provides mental health services for the disabled. Two years ago our first assigned therapist moved away, and we were in need of a therapist that could take over her hours. Our service coordinator called, and told me that she thought she might have someone who could handle the Verroi boys. We set up a time to meet. I remember the first time I saw Rachel I thought that certainly this small quiet woman couldn't be the best fit for our Josiah. I was confident that he would snap her in two if he so much as laid a finger on her. BUT.....I tried to reserve judgement, and boy am I ever thankful that I did.
Rachel began providing services for our boys. What you have to understand is that, because we have two children who are disabled, they have a total of 34 hours per week that need to be provided. That is 34 hours of me spending time with this person, and entrusting them with helping me care for my children. It took me a while to come to grips with the fact that, because God's will for our family included Autism, my ideas about being supermom and handling everything myself were no longer possible. It wasn't and isn't safe for me to go anywhere without backup. The fact that both of our boys are runners makes it dangerous. I can still make short trips as long as I have Olivia and Jack with me, but going out alone with all three babies is not wise. And so Rachel began her hours.
She is soft spoken and smart. Rachel doesn't take herself too seriously, and she puts up with my antics like a champ. She is small, but, what she lacks in size, she makes up for in spirit. Rachel is a superb listener, rarely giving advice and completely comfortable in being the sounding board without feeling the need to try and fix what is often unfixable. Jeremy and I have always communicated to our therapists who provide care that our number one desire is for our boys to be kept safe. Any other work that can be done with them is great, but focus on keeping them alive and whole. Rachel has NEVER let us down. She weighs barely forty pounds more than Josiah, and she has never let him get away from her. It is hard to explain how remarkable this is. We live in a state of constant vigilance. If you let down your guard for even a moment, one of the boys could go missing or be injured. She has never let this happen.
The past two years have been hard ones for Josiah in particular. He has had lots of difficult transitions, and this has taken its toll on all of us emotionally and physically. Rachel arrives at our house every morning with a smile, and she leaves every afternoon the same way. She exudes contentment while in our home. Her job is not glamorous, but it is irreplaceable and priceless in our eyes. I knew very early on that Rachel wanted to be used by God to make a difference in our home. She has become my friend, my sister, MY therapist, and my constant encourager. Rachel has seen me at my worst and at my best. I cannot begin to say how comforting she has been, and how huge an impact that she has had in our lives.
God has seen fit to reward Rachel for her hard work and diligence, and she has been offered a promotion in the company she works for. This is one of those circumstances that comes with very bittersweet emotions. I am THRILLED for her, and I am thrilled for the other families in Alamance County that will benefit from her outreach. But I am also immensely sad. Change is hard. I have told Rachel that it was not as if I thought she would be with the boys until they turned forty, but I sure wouldn't have minded that being the case. God's sovereignty is such a sweet and precious gift at times like this. I know beyond all knowing that God provided Rachel at just the right time and He is choosing to take her at just the right time too. We are excited about our knew therapist who is taking over Rachel's hours this coming Monday, but today is our day to be sad. Although we know that we will be forever friends, I sure am going to miss seeing that big SUV carrying that little lady pull up in front of my house each morning.
Rachel, I love you more than I can ever say. Thank you for two unbelievably blessed years. Thank you for loving our special boys, and our other children. Thank you for loving me. You will be fiercely missed!