Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane BlogMy name is Lindsey Petersen and I am the proud mother of five wonderful, very interesting children. Four also happen to have disabilities, but these have not been overwhelming obstacles.My oldest son, Francis, is legally blind. In this blog  I recount several humorous stories of his upbringing, including his fear of skunks. (He was petrified he would step on a skunk he didn’t see and it would spray him! He HATED tomatoes and the thought of having to take a bath in tomato juice was horrifying to him!) He managed to graduate college and obtained a full scholarship to Cambridge University in England to obtain his Ph.D. He has since become Dr. Scooter, (his nickname from college, named after Scooter from the Muppet Babies). He has obtained his dream job at an unbelievable salary!My 25- year-old daughter, adopted from Guatemala, came to us profoundly deaf, but was “healed.” (Read all about it in my blog!) She obtained her college degree in International Business and also has a job in her field.  She lives nearby with her boyfriend, her 2 year old son, and her percolating baby to be born in July.My 18-year-old son has a long history of autism, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and a severe sensory integration disorder. It really doesn’t matter what his disability is diagnosed as, I only know he was born cocaine and heroin addicted to an alcoholic mother, and his nervous system is wired haphazardly! He has managed to utilize his obsessions with reptiles into a volunteer position at a reptile educational facility. He is the one standing in the doorway at the entrance to the facility holding the 6-foot long boa constrictor, or the alligator, or the large lizard. He is not good with people, but great with reptiles! He has also recently become trained as an “alligator wrangler” for their alligator shows. (Really!)My 15-year-old son was severely abused prior to coming to live with us at the age of four. He developed dissociative identity disorder, (multiple personality disorder.) Life with this disorder is every day life for him. He and his “peeps”, (his name for his personalities,) live an interesting, eventful and sometimes very frustrating life, (like when one studies for the social studies test and another one takes it and flunks!)My 13-year-old daughter who is profoundly deaf came to live with us at the age of seven when the police found her wandering the streets carrying her infant brother looking for food. She was supposed to be a short-term placement placed with us because I know sign language. (I’m sure many foster parents have heard this spiel about a short-term placement.) Six years later she is still with us, adopted at the age of ten. Her deafness is not a disability, but her post-traumatic stress from early abuse and her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have caused serious problems for her.

I am also the loving sister to a brother who is severely developmentally delayed, legally blind and deaf due to rubella syndrome. He also unfortunately developed schizophrenia when he was eighteen years old.

While my children’s lives may not normally be considered amusing situations, I try to look at them in an upbeat, positive, and sometimes humorous manner. I am a happy and optimistic person by nature, and to dwell on their problems would make me sad, a feeling not in my repertoire.

I began writing this blog in August because I was looking for a stress reliever. It is amazing how cathartic it is to vent one’s frustrations in writing! Also, I have had so many unique experiences and adventures that many acquaintances have suggested I write a book. I started writing the blog not so much with the thought of writing a book, but with the thought of putting down these events for posterity, so to speak, and to share my experiences with others. In the process, I’ve reduced my stress level and I have been encouraged by the more 20,000 people who have read the blog. I am sure our adventures and misadventures will continue. (My daughter who is deaf and has sensory issues and cannot stand tags in her clothes has entered junior high school, how is she going to be able to wearing a bra? My son with autism has started to notice girls. Unfortunately for him, girls are usually not very approachable when one is carrying a large snake! My son who has dissociative identity disorder, with the assistance of a specialized psychologist, is searching into the deep recesses of his mind to discover the abuse, which led to his disability.)

Thanks for joining me.  It’s nice to know someone “out there” is listening!

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Comments on: "Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane" (21)

  1. You are truly amazing and an inspiration to me. I hear your sense of humor ringing out loud and clear.
    My adopted daughter has FAS and she always has been FAScinated by animals, especially dogs. I unfortunately am severely allergic so osur animal activities are outside the house at zoos and farms…so your reptile story caught my attention.
    I do see her having a career connected to animals, and I wonder what form it will take.

  2. You certainly have been through boot camp for patience and endurance. I wish you well, and many kudos for all your work in raising those kids.

    marianne
    heaven awaits 🙂

  3. Your blog must be an inspiration to all parents who scream that they have their hands full. I am amazed at your boundless energy, enormous patience and the endless unconditional love. The rigors of adopting challenged children are too numerous for even your blog to list out, but the way you have gone about it is really inspirational. Delighted to note that your love is being repaid by the extraordinary performance of your kids. God Bless you all.

  4. Hi Lindsey:

    I appreciate your farside sense of humor and acceptance of life as it hits you from all directions!

    The stories about your kids and family show me a side of you that few people are able to be open about, and I celebrate and honor you for your love and commitment- not only to family, but to community.

    Thank you for posting on my blog, and am adding you to the blogroll. I feel like a relative novice with just three adult kids, a wife and myself with disabilties!!

    I look forward to reading your updates,

    Rob

  5. WOW!
    Really WOW!
    What an amazing woman you are and what an amazing family you have.
    Thank you for posting on my blog, it’s nice to know you are out there.
    I’d like your permission to link to your posts now and then.

    Have a terriffic New Year!!

  6. eternallyhopeful said:

    Lindsey – WOW! God must have graced you with an abundance of strength, patience, endurance, wisdom………… and so much more. I pray that Jesus continues to provide for your every need. I wonder if your one son may benefit from a type of prayer counseling that has helped me greatly several years back – theophostic prayer. You can check out the website at http://www.theophostic.com. You do need to be careful that the person that administers and does the counseling is doing it according to the teaching and is a Christian good person. As with everything, some people misuse things. But, for me, God used this to free me from so much that would be lengthy to put into words.

    God bless! Roxanne (aka http://www.eternallyhopeful.wordpress.com)

  7. sandycarl said:

    Lindsey, you are one incredible woman. What a terrific family you have. Great job of raising a handful of kids who could each be a handful.

  8. I’m inspired by your stories and look forward to reading more!

    Anna 🙂

  9. Lindsey,

    Your unwavering devotion to your kids, recounted with such warmth, care and humour, is indescribable and inspiring.

    My hope is that parents with able-bodied children will equally read about and appreciate your insight and emphasis on the good things in life…

    Sending peace, light and a (virtual) cuppa hot cocoa for winter – to you + your whole clan!
    AJ

  10. You write about your 13 years old Her deafness is not a disability, but her post-traumatic stress from early abuse and her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have caused serious problems for her.

    This reveals you to be very astute, which means that your kids could not be in better hands and I salute your efforts and envy you your rewards.

    It is very easy to attribute behaviours to intentions – ie. if the behaviour is purposefully harmful, the intention must be malicious – and it takes effort and education to overcome our assumptions and try as best as we are able to better understand the biology and neurology that presents itself through behaviour. From what I have read of your blog, you have done so very successfully, which means these guys (and your brother if he is still with us) are very fortunate indeed to have you in their lives (most of time, I think I hear you saying to yourself!).

    Carpe diem, my friend, and wring out of it whatever you can. That’s a terrific example you are setting… including writing this blog.

    Read ya soon.

  11. I read your blog because of your message affirming the humor of DID. I, too, have studied for tests with the same kind of results. I look forward to following your blog, knowing that someone else just feels the need to have a release.

    I think you are a remarkable mother. Good for you and all the love your spirit expresses.

  12. First of all – God bless you and your family. There are VERY few individuals like yourself in this world, you are ONE of a kind – a remarkable human being. Reading what each of your children has makes me thank God I’m healthy BUT that if they can do it and over come the road blocks of life that God has given them, then so can I and everyone else. I know what I’ve done to master coming over some of my road blocks and I know each day is a blessing in order to learn how to over come the other ones.

    May God continue to bless you and your family!!!

    Tasha

    http://www.12baroriginal.wordpress.com

  13. I’d say you need a stress reliever! 🙂 Thanks for coming over to my blog. I am so inpsired by this post. What a wonderful woman you are. You deserve a new dreamhouse from America Home Makeover and more. I am truly touched by your love and your honesty. Honesty is what I look for in blogs. 🙂 Keep at it. Blogging is a great outlet for me and I have nothing going on compared to you. You have all kinds of subjects to write about right at home. Soooo interesting.

  14. Wow, Lindsey! Your family is GORGEOUS, as are you for your amazing words and positivity! Thank you for bringing that into MY life and showing me more examples of how to see life in the best possible light possible.
    Hugs to you!!

    Antonia

    http://liftingmeup.wordpress.com

  15. […] of five wonderful, very interesting children, four of whom happen to have disabilities.   Her blog is amazingly fun and provides the kinds of stories from the heart that are so important to […]

  16. I just subscribed to your RSS feed, not sure if I did it right though? Solid article by the way.

  17. You are facing many challenges. Thank you for sharing your stories. I like Angel’s name for his alters. I am an integrated DID. Five integrated to one. I have my book linked to my blog if you are interested. Good luck to all.

  18. Hi Lindsey,

    I hope you are still checking this blog, I was hoping you might be able to help me. I am contacting you from a production company in London called Blast Films, and we are currently making a tv show about American families that are looking into getting a puppy. We are also trying to find a family that has got a child or teenager with some kind of disability and perhaps is looking to get a puppy in order to help them. The reason I am approaching you is because your blog is about kids with disability and I thought you might be able to put me in ouch with some families, are you able to help? if so please do get in touch dalencar@blastfilms.co.uk and visit http://www.facebook.com/tvpuppy

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