**Thanks Kregel for a review copy of A Pair of Miracles.
Imagine adopting twin boys out of foster care. Quite a project to take on, huh? Now, imagine that those boys have a whole host of problems, the scope of which doesn’t become clear to you until a few years pass. You learn that the boys have autism. They don’t talk, and they frequently hit and bite you. Many mornings, you enter their room to find them covered with their own feces — and they smear these on the walls, too.
This is the situation Karla Akins faced with twin boys Isaiah and Isaac. She talks about the various things she’s tried with her boys in “A Pair of Miracles.”
I have to say that this book was quite a bit different from what I was expecting. Given the title and the photo of the boys on the cover, I thought that this would be more of a story of the family’s life as they raised the boys. There is some of that, but really this book is more (in my opinion) a handbook of things that were helpful to Karla in working with her boys. If you know anyone raising kids with autism, or if you are doing this yourself, this would be a good book to have.
I had a lot of empathy and sympathy too for Karla as I read of her experiences. She mentions taking the boys to a pediatrician (who was filling in for their regular one). He told her that he saved preemies’ lives every day, “But sitting here observing these guys, sometimes I wonder if I’m doing the right thing.” You can imagine how a mom would feel, hearing that! She also mentions frustrations with the school system, and the way teachers often seemed to have agendas that differed from her goals for her boys. Having been a teacher myself, I can imagine this would happen frequently. Karla ended up home-schooling her boys for several years, and even starting a small school herself.
Karla also mentions reading in a professional journal that mothers of children with autism experience chronic stress levels similar to those of combat soldiers. Having experience with autism myself, I believe this. It’s brutal. The author mentions a mantra she repeats over and over during times of stress: “Praise the Lord, for his mercy endureth forever.”
I was really impressed by Karla’s attitude toward helping her boys. They have made huge strides, and I kept thinking often how blessed they were to have ended up with her for a mom. Karla, whose husband is a pastor, mentions many Bible verses that have helped her over the years. She also notes that “we can give the yoke of autism to the Lord,” and mentions that autism is temporary, but those with it will live eternally. It’s all in your perspective … and in her case, it’s a good one.
Akins mentions some ways churches can help families with special needs kids, both to give families a break and to help the special needs members feel like part of the congregation. I recommend this book for anyone who deals with someone on the autism spectrum. And those numbers are growing rapidly.