Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


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A Sofa Full Of Memories

A New Sofa, A New Era!

Today, I’m getting a new sofa. My old one is twenty-two years old, sagging, food stained, crumb-filled, and most likely a bit smelly. But, oh my gosh, does that couch hold memories! I purchased it way back in l993—one year before I bought a sweet, little, black and white kitten who eventually died at the old age of twenty; two years before I discovered my teenage daughter was pregnant; three years before I took custody of my eldest grandson; six years before I had custody of my next two grandchildren born eleven months apart, and nine years before I was granted custody of my youngest granddaughter.

A sofa full of memories!

That sofa has seen a lot of activity—it’s been jumped on, screamed on, napped on, had food spilled on, climbed on, been vomited on, drawn on, watched tv from, and been timed-out on. It has had baby’s diapers changed on, Christmas and Birthday gifts opened on, and tears shed on (mostly mine).  It’s been dusted, vacuumed, and washed umpteen times. It’s been moved around rooms and moved to another house. But it’s now so uncomfortable that I had to slide a piece of wood under the cushions so I wouldn’t sink down to the floor when I sit. Even visitors avoid it.

So, it lies, a sorry sight, out in the yard waiting to be picked up by the garbage collectors. How sad it looks, as if it knows it is no longer welcome in our home. And sadly, it isn’t.

A sofa full of memories!

I can’t wait for my new sofa to arrive! It’s like waiting for the New Year’s Eve disco ball to drop in Times Square, because a new couch means a new era in life—hopefully a happy one. And, even though, my grandchildren will destroy it little by little, it too will embrace our memories as I continue to raise my grandchildren, write blog posts and books, and advocate for those with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Its only consolation being, by the time it reaches twenty-two years of age, I will most likely not be around to replace it!

Some Of My Books

All available from

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Other fine ebook distributors


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School Memories

Wanting my grandchildren to get the best education possible regarding their mental disabilities, and to learn about Christianity, I registered them in New Testament Baptist Academy in Hamilton, Ontario. Over the course of several years, all four completed the kindergarten program taught by Mrs. Peters. The photos below show them graduating from her class ready to begin elementary grades in the Academy’s learning centre.

Given their learning difficulties I know they challenged Mrs. Peters each day but, through her dedication and hard work, despite their disabilities, each of my grandchildren learned to read and write. Her one-to-one teaching methods afforded them the ideal working environment keeping them focused at all times.

As they progressed through the learning centre, the work became more difficult, so around grade five I made the decision to switch them to the public school system where help for their learning disabilities was available, but I’ll never forget the effort and determination of Mrs. Peters and the staff and volunteers at the Academy, all who share in the success my grandchildren enjoy today.

Below, are photos of my grandchildren graduating from kindergarten. My eldest granddaughter is pictured with Mrs. Peters, their teacher.

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Removing All Doubt!

During my past two decades of raising grandchildren with mental disabilities, I often wondered if seeking custody had been the right decision. Many people, some of whom I loved, turned their backs on me when I took in my first grandchild. One was a close family member, another who I thought was a good friend, and also a minister whose church I attended when my grandson was first born. Their venomous opinions and haughty judgments worsened the stress I was experiencing, causing me to doubt my decision to raise my grandchildren–would they be better off in foster care?

But now, looking back on those days through these photos, I have to question those negative people’s motives. How can anyone look at the pictures and not smile at the love and childish antics my grandchildren are sharing? Memories are wonderful things and can help a person see their past and the choices they made more clearly and thereby remove all doubt that what they did in the moment was the right thing!

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FASD and Duct Tape!

Hope the title didn’t mislead you! But when a child has FASD it seems EVERYTHING has to be secured to avoid injury.

I remember duct tape being my best friend. One day, many years ago when my grandchildren with FASD were youngsters, on hearing–Mom, come and see!–I went from the kitchen into the living room to see all four tucked neatly into the shelving of the TV unit. They had climbed the shelves and curled up one atop another with the youngest being at the bottom with the door closed.

They were giggling and squirming making the unit shake and creak and look as if any minute it would collapse! After freaking, I purchased cheap plastic panels; those awful opaque yellow ones that were so popular back then, cut them to size and duct taped them over the shelving with enough tape that the panels could not be removed. Goodness, it looked awful–but safe!


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Special Memories

While reminiscing, I came across these two photos of my grandchildren. First, it’s difficult to believe I took these when my grandchildren were still youngsters and now they are all in their teens; the eldest boy now almost 19.

I have to laugh at the contrast of each photo. The first one I took when they were all dressed in their Sunday best ready for church. I remember how long it used to take me to get them looking that way! The second photo was taken seconds after when the youngest grandchild had run off in her usual running-off way, and the eldest boy had just let off an enormous fart causing the other two to collapse in hysterical laughter and fall back on the couch. I couldn’t resist and snapped the event.

I love both photos, the first because it’s one of the rare photos I have of all the kids together plus, when I see it, a million memories come to mind; the second because, despite their struggles with mental disabilities, they are just carefree kids having fun being themselves.

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