Sunday, June 16, 2019

Katie Graduates!

What an emotional experience this graduation was for me as a Mother to this very special needs daughter. I feel so relieved that she has received her high school diploma. This was a goal that seemed so far out of reach at times yet felt so very important. She was homeschooled until the 8th grade and has been in public school ever since due to extreme circumstances. I could say so much negative stuff about the public school system in our area, but I will leave that out of this celebratory post.
Our relationship with Katie has been so strained in the last year that we were not even sure we would be invited to her graduation. In the end she did invite us and dropped off the tickets the day before.
The whole experience was much more pleasant than we expected. The ceremony was lovely and moved at a quick pace considering there were 325 graduates. The whole experience was rather overwhelming for Katie. She managed to get through it without any major issues and had a pleasant attitude. 
She looks confused because she couldn't find us in the crowd at first.

After the ceremony, we took her to her residential therapeutic home for a small reception. She didn't have any friends over, but there were therapists, a respite worker who had worked with her for 14 years, her church youth leader and a few special adults who had helped her through the years. It was a nice party and Katie received our gifts well and without complaint. She had requested a homemade apple pie, which I made for her, and we also gave her some fun books on cooking and "adulting" plus a bit of cash.

The next steps in her life are a bit uncertain. She is starting an internship through vocational rehab at a restaurant this Friday. The state will monitor her progress and pay her salary for up to six months if everyone agrees it is a good fit. After that, the restaurant can choose to hire her or she will have to move on. She will be washing dishes and chopping vegetables. She also has been accepted to an independent living program, which she will be moving to at some point in the next 6 months. Sadly, it is only a 90 day program. At the time she went on the list for this program, it was 18 months long and included training in a specialty, such as food services. Due to many budget cuts, all but 90 days have now been cut from it. This program will teach her independent living skills and monitor her progress for several years (IF she reaches out to them for help). I am relieved that there is something there for her, but I wish it was more wraparound services that lasted longer. Nonetheless, we are blessed that, so far, she has been provided for, and we have to stand in faith that she will continue to get the services that make her life safe for her and others who cross her path.

Today I will focus on the dominant feeling in my heart. I feel such a sense of relief that this chapter in her life has been successfully accomplished.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Oh! I'm crying here in my kitchen as I read this. What an amazing accomplishment! And what a long road it must have been. I keep you all in my prayers constantly, and I pray Katie will keep getting the services she needs to be safe and to make healthy progress. Dawn, you and your family are miracles. You're doing such excellent work.

    Congratulations, Katie! You're doing your best every day, and you're making good progress!

    (And, Dawn, I am so grateful for how you encourage me. Thank you.)

  2. So glad for this post, for the small miracles of graduation and invitation and some help approved for the coming days. Praying with you through this parenting life!

  3. Dawn-- you and your family deserve a lot of credit for helping Katie meet this important goal. Congrats to Katie and all the best to you all. Blessings, Aunt Jan

  4. Congratulations to Katie and hugs to you.

  5. Love, love, love. I'm glad you got to be there for her special day, and I hope she does well in her new job.