Autism

Seven Years Ago Today

Abby Bedard
Abby arriving at the group home for the first time.

Today it is seven years since our daughter went to live in a group home. She was seven years-old at that time. That means that she has now lived half her life away from us.

What could cause parents to voluntarily let their seven year-old daughter be taken away?

We have had people judge us for this decision but I have no need to defend our decision. I will share only for the sake of those truly interested.

Abby’s autism caused a number of difficult behaviours. She was very destructive to our home. Amanda and I would spend every evening repairing the walls to our living room as soon as Abby went to bed.

What was worse was her behaviour toward our other children. If they got into her space or if they disturbed her arrangement of toys, she would attack them physically. Our son was only four years-old at the time and he still remembers.

It was not an easy decision and it came with a load of guilty feelings. We certainly had no idea at the time that we would eventually have to make the same decision about Logan.

Do we regret our decision?

I regret that circumstances required this decision but I don’t regret the decision itself.

We have a fantastic relationship with Logan and Abby (thankfully they are in the same group home now). Abby enjoys coming here. I see her huge smile as the van pulls up in our driveway and she comes running to our front door. We have lots of cuddles and laughter.

But Abby is fine to go back to her group home as well. When I drop her off, she does not get all emotional, feeling sad that I’m leaving her. She will say to me, “Bye, Abby,” telling me what I’m supposed to say. If I spend too much time chatting with her workers, she will remind me that our visit is over.

One this seventh anniversary of Abby’s move out of our house, I do feel sad. I wish that Abby (and Logan) did not have to leave us. But hindsight only confirms that we made the right decision.

I sincerely wish that autism had not affected them this way, but we have made the best decision with the life that was given to us.

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