As I have said before raising a child like Gavin is nothing short of a challenge. What most people don’t know is the toll takes on your marriage. The divorce rate for couples with an autistic child is about 80-85%. When you figure that Gavin’s autism is just one of 8 different disorders that certainly adds to the strain. On top of that, the divorce rate for blended families is about 70%.
We fall into both categories. I adopted Gavin after an 9 year long court battle. So we are a blended family. So the reality is that the odds are not in our favor. Add to that financial strain and other health issues and they sometimes seem like insurmountable odds.
Lizze and I have always said that no one would have ever matched us up on purpose because we are just to different. Their have been many times along the way that those differences have reared their ugly heads. One would think that the 9 year court battle with her abusive and drug addicted ex husband would have destroyed us long ago. It destroyed us financially and physically in a lot of ways. We accrued $50,000+ fighting to protect Gavin. Her ex husband never paid ANY child support and ran up debt in my wife’s name including social security fraud. Along the way we went bankrupt because I couldn’t cover these debts and he never paid anything he was supposed to.
Physically we both were effected by chronic stress. Lizze developed fibromyalgia and everything that goes along with that. We both are trying to deal with PTSD and depression. We only just got rid of him once and for all this past December. The court of appeals ruled that the previous courts had abused its power and we were released from all the previous orders.
This was a HUGE relief but at the same time it’s really stressful because that was all we knew for so long. We don’t really know how to put our lives together and move forward.
I realize I have been off topic a little but I have a point I promise. All of these things combined make our future looks bleak. However, Lizze and I have survived for 9 years despite these challenges. I don’t really know how we do it. Neither one of us are quitters and we love each other. I can say that for most couples that wouldn’t be enough. We take it one day at a time. That’s really all we can do. Our marriage is very strong despite the 90% failure rate. I guess we are just in the minority.
If you know someone like us remember they need all the help they can get. They could use some time to themselves. Maybe dinner and a movie every once in a while. You could offer to watch the kids just to give them a break. Families like ours need love and support not judgement and persecution. After all, we already have enough working against us.
Lost and Tired
it might help you to know that my bf and I have been together for 7 years and our twins girls have autism. It's insane the rates that people separated especially with Autism. Hold each other and encourage one another. I know that is hard cause the times do get hard but as long as you have health anything is possible. I admire everything you two have been through and keep going through. Very strong people in my opinion!
You know, I found that statistic out when my son was born with multiple birth defects. Unlike you though, my marriage did not survive. I do understand the toll (of course not completely) and think you guys are amazing. Hold on to each other 🙂