If Jacob is not at school he is at home. Over the past year we have gradually reduced taking him places. First it was church, then grandma's house and shopping, and now we can't even take car rides with him. That was my last hold out, we could at least drive around together with him safely buckled in. Sometimes we'd drive around for hours, listening to music and exploring the area. Now he escapes the seatbelt and climbs over the seats, tries to mess with the doors and windows, attacks Madison in her seat, and puts us all in danger. I can not get him back into his seat if he protests, he's too strong. So we stay home. Everyday. No variance.
Being confined to home so much makes me anxious to find somewhere to live that meets all of our needs. Our current home has been fine for the past few years, but with just 1100 square feet and 2 bedrooms it just doesn't work any longer for our growing famly. Tyler and Madison have been sharing a room and they really need privacy and space.Chris and I are searching every day for a home that will work for us, one that has the space that we desperately need for Jacob. We don't have lavish dreams for our home, just simple desires to make our home life safer and healthier and a place where we can be comfortable.
Even when it comes to finding a home for our family, Jacob's needs are placed above everything else. Our backyard provided no space for playing, yet Jacob must be outside getting exercise and letting out energy for a few hours a day. A safe and secure yard for him to run and play and explore. A room inside that is used specifically for the tecniques we learned at the Son-Rise training, for teaching him and playing on the floor, and big enough for sensory equipment. We had dreams of a log cabin home with wood walls and beams, but with the amount of destruction Jacob does to out home and possessions, that would be a disaster. We need a kitchen that has a door we can close and lock to keep him out of the food. We used to have dreams of living on a few acres. But that was vetoed once we figured out we need to be able to know where Jacob is 24/7, even in the yard we have to be able to see him and make sure he is safe. It must be completely fenced and padlocked. Nothing in the yard can be movable because Jacob will use it to climb over the fence or onto the roof. No way we could ever have a pool or a pond, he has no fear of water but can't swim. Even play structures can be dangerous. Really the only option is space to run and a swing set. But homes with big lots are expensive in Oregon, and we can't afford it. And we have been looking, believe me. I know, literally, every home available in the local market. We have looked at the oldest homes that are fixer uppers, just so we can get the large space, but a year of looking and no success. We have scoured craigslst and the MLS for a home that fits our requirements on the inside, but can't commit to something with a postage stamp sized yard. Jacob need his space, and so do the other kids. That one thing we can't compromise on. It's not negotiable.
We are in the middle of middle class, a difficult place to be. We make just barely too much money to qualify for special loans and mortgage programs. And the homes that would work for our family are right above our income level. We don't qualify for medical and therapy help for Jacob, but we don't make enough to pay for these things on our own, so he misses out on things that could possibly help him. Everything is just out of our reach. And if you read my "Workin' It" blog, you know that I try really hard to add to our family income, but can barely make a dent. $500 more dollars a month is not much, but if I could earn that much we could afford the type of house we need. Comfort and safety is all we ask. These things should be attainable for every family. I know there are other families like us out there who just want the basics to get by, and are struggling every day to get them.
I promise to be hopeful and optimistic again tomorrow. But for today, I seem to have misplaced my rose colored glasses.