We are writing to let you know that our oldest son Hudson was recently diagnosed with autism by a developmental pediatrician. We have known that this day was coming for quite a while, but now that the diagnosis is official, we feel it is the right time for us to inform our friends and family. While we would love to be able to have a face to face conversation with each of you, that is simply not possible. We have so many friends from various stages of life with whom we remain connected through social media that we felt it best if we write this letter to inform you all at once.
While some of you reading this may be surprised by this news, it will come as no surprise to those of you who have been around Hudson in recent years. While Hudson continues to make progress, his expressive language remains very delayed. He finds it difficult to interact with his peers in age appropriate ways. And focusing on one task for any length of time is normally a big challenge.
Whatever comes to your mind when you think of autism, please do not project that onto Hudson. It is often said in the autism community that if you have met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. Autism is a spectrum disorder. This means that it does not look the same in every person with autism. The challenges faced by some children with autism are more limiting than the challenges that Hudson faces, and other children with autism are further along developmentally than Hudson is at this time.
Hudson, however, is not primarily defined by his autism. Here’s what we want you to know about Hudson. Hudson is a five-year-old little boy who enjoys life. He likes running and playing. His favorite foods are pizza, donuts, and PB&J sandwiches. Mommy is his favorite, but he’s quite fond of Daddy, Addie, and Amos too. He is blessed to have so many people who love and care for him. And most importantly, he bears the image of the God of the universe by whom he is fearfully and wonderfully made.
We realize that it can be difficult to know how to respond when someone shares news like this with you. We cannot pretend to speak for every parent of a child with a disability, but we can speak for ourselves. Do not say that you are sorry. We are not sorry. We are more blessed than we could have ever imagined. Sure, there are challenges we face because of Hudson’s autism, but every family faces challenges in one way or another. The challenges faced by so many others are far greater.
We do ask that you pray for Hudson and our family. The most important prayer that we pray for Hudson every day is that he would one day repent of his sin and place his faith in Jesus. We long to see his life transformed by the powerful gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Beyond that we pray for his continued growth and development physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. We pray that he will reach his full potential and accomplish everything of which he is capable. Pray for our family as we walk this road together. The blessings far outweigh the challenges, but the challenges are still challenges.
Finally, we want you to know that we are starting a blog. If you’re reading this, you’ve found it! The URL is bearinghisimage.com. Ashley and I will both be writing here. We will share the links on social media, but we encourage you to subscribe to the blog through email as well.
There is no shortage of blogs out there by parents of children with autism, but we hope to make our own contribution by creating a blog that is personal, informative, and theologically rich. As we walk this journey, we will write posts about some of our own experiences. We will pass along information that may be helpful to caregivers of children with autism along with those who want to love and minister to children with autism. We will do it all through the lens of a biblical worldview that seeks to see the goodness and sovereignty of God in everything.