Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Autism Answer: Why It's Easy For Me To Open My Borders

Things People Told My Mom Before She Adopted My Siblings: 

"This one is blind and deaf. He can't control his bowels and doesn't sleep and your whole family will have to deal with it. He's feral and won't ever be able to learn. You'll be keeping him until a bed is available at the institution. Are you sure you want to do this?"

"He's dangerous. You'll have to teach the family to protect themselves and to hide their weaknesses. He's small but he's mean. Are you sure you want to do this?"

"She's been abused so much there's nothing good left in her. She lies and takes advantage of anyone and everyone, don't believe it when she says she loves you. It's not her fault but it's not your problem either, and you have other children to protect. Are you sure you want to do this?"

I could go on and on and on. These people were well meaning but terrifically misguided.

My mom -- Lynette Louise aka The Brain Broad--has always exampled love, hard work, strong expectations and raising the bar. But never has she taught us to permanently close our hearts or our door. 

And when mom did cave into the pressure and judgements of others for a short time, attempting to keep dangers at bay and to find folks focused on protecting us, when she doubted her instincts and thought perhaps others were right, in those few years we were hurt. We were left feeling lost and afraid, acutely aware of the monsters in our midst but unable to easily identify them, and we were taken dangerous and cruel advantage of. 

It is with the greatest of gratitude that I appreciate and love my mom for having the strength and vision to choose love and open borders again.

I am the oldest daughter of eight kids, six were adopted. My mom has continuously invited people to live with us for temporary stints (she has a filmmaker from Uganda staying with her right now). My life and the lives of my siblings have been forever and infinitely made better because of this. 

Yes, there have been mountain sized challenges and scary moments, we have had to say "no" with strong love and a belief in each other now and then. Mom has had to offer love and help to people in a dangerous frame of mind while being smart and careful about it, without inviting them to live with in our home, though she still helped. There have been confusing times of deep introspection where we had to keep careful watch on the balance between kindness and blindness; knowing that, always, kindness is possible.

So, yes, like with all lives there have been times of inconvenience. 

But there have been no regrets. 

Love, gratitude, laughter, tears, support, worry, adventure: yes. 

Regrets: no.

We are best and beautiful when we don't let our fears control us. 

Keeping our eyes open to the true nature of beings is brilliant, it helps us to stay safe while we remain willing and able to see the value within. 

It helps us stay safe while we open the borders of our hearts and open our doors.

Open hearts and open doors is a gift my mom is always strong and kind enough to offer. 

I try to follow in her footsteps.
I invite you to join me!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

Mostly my family, plus one more. Which, in truth, is fully my family!