The Families of the Meadows
When an individual arrives for their first day of work at the Meadows, it is an accomplishment resulting from a lifetime of effort. It’s the culmination of years of commitment and dedication. It’s the achievement of a goal that at times seemed unattainable – but is now a reality.
And, in almost every case, it required the loving support of their family.
However, it was not an easy journey. The challenge of raising any child is daunting, but when a disability is factored in, it changes everything.
Through the years, these families learned to have patience, they learned to embrace perseverance, and they learned to adapt.
The willingness to be flexible became necessary the moment a family’s loved one received the diagnosis of an intellectual challenge because, going forward, all of their lives were altered in significant ways.
At the Meadows, each of our families experienced that type of moment in one way or another. It was a point in time that took their breath away. It was a powerful combination of fear, worry, disappointment, shock and even anger.
In some cases, the family had suspected for some time that there could be an issue with their child. Perhaps there were delays or behaviors that gave some indication that something was different.
In other cases, they did not see the diagnosis coming.
However, when they learned their child would have lifelong challenges, there was an adjustment period as their expectations changed. Some quickly accepted their child’s disability while others struggled to understand why it had happened.
But, eventually, each family accepted their particular situation and committed themselves to ensuring that their child had a full and rich life.
It was that desire to see their son or daughter succeed that led them to the Meadows. Without their unrelenting efforts, their child might not have ever been prepared to enter the workforce.
Because I have only known their children as adults, I often wonder what their little boy or girl was like at the age of eight or ten. What particular issues did they face? What were the problems they struggled with as parents? Where did they find the strength to keep fighting for their child’s future?
I must say that working with these families through the years has touched my heart in a way that is difficult to describe. I am also a parent, and now a grandparent, but I never faced the challenges of having a loved one with an intellectual or physical disability.
That means I never feared that I might lose my child as they underwent dangerous surgical procedures to save their life. I never struggled with a sense of loss because my child was not going to be the person I thought they would be. I never endured the looks and whispers when my child was in public because people didn’t understand the person they were seeing. I never had to comfort my child when others bullied and ridiculed them just because of who they were. I never had professionals tell me that my child might not ever walk or talk or go to school or have a job.
But the families we work with chose to focus on the positive instead of the negative. They discovered that having a child with a disability showed them what really mattered in life. They realized the importance of appreciating each day they had with their son or daughter. They learned to value the simplest moments because they are the most beautiful. Every time their child reached a milestone their hearts soared with joy. And as their child grew up they were surprised by how hard they laughed and how often they cried all because of the unconditional love they experienced.
The amazing families of the Meadows have always played a vital role in our business, and they always will. We could not be a positive force in the community without them. It is a partnership that we value above all others because it is rooted in the common goal of seeing their child be successfully and safely employed so they can grow as a person and reach their true potential.
That is why we will continue to do everything in our power to justify the trust they place in our organization as they allow their sons and daughters to work under our supervision.