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Sho and Patreece Baraka: Parenting Autism–and Dealing with Shame

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
August 10, 2022 10:00 pm

Sho and Patreece Baraka: Parenting Autism–and Dealing with Shame

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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August 10, 2022 10:00 pm

Parenting their sons' autism, Sho Baraka and his wife Patreece felt blindsided—including a loss of dreams & sense of failure. But God met them in their shame.

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Love is not based on performance and that no matter how well our are disappointing.

Our kids perform. If you will, that doesn't change her affection for her children because the reality of it is that God looks at us and we will perform well at times we don't think that God has called us to do but yet that is in changes.

Affection is love us welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and will think Dave will soon and you can find or on our family life, family life today why confession to make.

Often when were in the studio. Part of me thinks were the coolest couple in the room now. I've never thought that once in my life. I obviously lying right now.

I have always wanted to think I'm to go five sit here today thinking we've ever had a cooler couple sitting across from a semi-lucky walking with his jacket. How do you describe it like cool smoking jacket.

I guess that's about. Jacket and his wife noise, smoking in his interview early anyway sit across the table from us, your family life today is Joe Brock and his wife Patrice and we just were excited to have you in Orlando Florida and family life today. Thank you, frappe you guys glad to be here I am, you dress up like this forever, but is it just us yet we get to talk about a really interesting topic that I I'll let you introduce tell us a little bit about your family, because I think that'll take us on a journey to the world really go today just so Patrice my lovely wife, and have been married 19 years we have three wonderful children, Zoe, who was our old is she, 17. We have a 50-year-old saccade and a nine-year-old Zimmerli and two boys on the autism spectrum and so also does get us to talk about that.

What is that like just loving and serving reason children of the spectrum. Just bring children itself obviously is your slowest obstacle is a think of guys Russ is in itself along with marriage but to raise kids who are on the autism spectrum or have some sort of special need can be sorted itself in so at some moments of feasting. We have some moments of famine, absolutely. We love the opportunity to have those conversations talk about it because the one thing that we realize that we were coming through it. We did have a lot of people to pull from you and so is much as we can be advocates as we are stumbling in the dark trying to figure out always like hopefully things a trip to stop the couples that come behind us are the parents, the families I combined this won't have to struggle with some the same things. So, talk about a little down what you do for a living.

Yeah, that a lot of people have heard you. Most people may know me are part of me because I was RM a performing artist. I started off in a first solar release was probably 2005 I think under label reach records or click 116, which some people may know Michael Cray in Tripoli and so I started off with them.

So music artists a couple films, couple films, and that I didn't even know you're married to a movie star focus groups blockbuster bloodlust is at our house and I just wrote a book call you so that was good was released last year.

Your actual like United so I work at a church right now I am way to creative director at a church pastor.

I like to be married to a pastor so they treat you like a pastor. I know the rules of the past but am actually agreed to go to website is redirected. She said you guys meet at your story how did you guys meet so I did line is more accurate. This morning it will do it that way. So we met in college, I was at the University of Montebello. She started messing up. She was stuck at the towers you are you are in the castle.

When you finish. I got see it happening. Is this why let him. So anyway were both in college. He was at Tuskegee and I was at the University of Montebello. We were both involved in campus outreach. Yeah so I was involved on my campus in his about his campus, but I knew his director from going to a summer project couple years before when I got there, our mutual friend Mike that he was like talent to God that I was telling you about and so I walked over and he introduced you. Did you know Montes Eno album covers and that's again like well they needed a picture of me and she says if I wanted to walk away like okay do you have so that was like when your first.

That's how we met.

If I wanted to be received. But that's not actually say I said those words, but I didn't like a team situation when we I knew of David. Somebody told me he became a Christian. And so I went up to became a Christian as you give it to me like yeah like you're a Christian that we all know marriage is all about communication isn't what you say is yeah that's how it started having progress. I think the Lord was just forcing the issue. Helplessness together. So the first weekend you have these week is what we would have to like to interact with socials with everyone that was involved on Friday so the social was going to think was in charge of what I can really member will but had a basketball court earlier that day in rain and I had already been outside playing basketball. So the people that I was playing with.

We went inside and continue to play while we were playing hard to want to. I hyperextended my right knee, which we then went the entire given direction and I scream like a banshee in any way.

So I came back to the room after going to the hospital and guess was in charge of making sure I got to where I had to go out of everyone on that campus. Everyone people on that campus will not something that this guy out of sick people was the one that was placed in charge of making sure I got to where I had to go the next day our leadership meeting.

Both leaders I had a car. He did not, but also had girls in my my room thousand but my car was not reliable. So anyway I was waiting on him because I cannot drive my car because my knee and he was late and I had to go find my own ride. So when I I was hobbling down the stairs on my crutches all you radar site and it was deafening. With that amount is what past and in the cloud. Another judgment he made sure I got that same Saturday we went evangelizing.

He was over it and I got a chance to see his passion for people when P found out were not doing their supposed to do is very angry and frustrated and ice.

I took a step back and I saw him in a different life because evangelism is a weakness for me and so to see someone who is very passionate about the lives that we could have impacted when enough people are doing their job. So I decided to observe him from a distance without him knowing that I was interested in. I began to understand that there's a character trading him that I didn't see initially that I respect and I never going out with him and then bring that with the money churches of the temple.

I think I like you because both saw passion for Jesus and one another. So I you know I thought she was obnoxious and stuck up, but to her point on solid leadership quality in her. She was committed to those young ladies shoes washed literally washing their feet and I was like why should people feet like for real. And just to see her commitment to her tenacity for those young ladies was so impressive to make a torpor like there a lot of people there who didn't have the focus they were gone because you get 60 students attractive etc. etc. you know these people are somewhat serious about their faith and so potential mates for the future going to get married again.

I'm sorry to jump in for little bit but no kids yet we got married in 2003 and we did have a first-round 2004 alright, so was the first year marriage bliss. I guess I don't really remember. His makeup suggests is amazing what I hear, here's what I'm guessing when you say wow I can hardly remember a lots happened since then, more than you know. Having kids is one thing.

Having kids with special needs adds a whole mother dynamically had your daughter first. Yes, we had her first and so we felt like we knew what a developing child look like because she did everything she was supposed to do during the timeframe she was supposed to do it. So when our son came along and things were different, like something different about his mannerisms, the things that he was on were awkward in doing that and so we were talking with each other and how old was he when he started to notice that maybe year 20 you like flat saviors like ears a lot use conflict in Nam about things that were repetitive happening had no idea like what to do its own and it was time for his think was 18 month checkup. I can remember we brought our concerns to the pediatrician and you not. There's a list that they have that they check off well is he doing this this this at this point, he should be.

And out of that list.

He may have been doing three or four of the things and you know nothing. It became more real to us like there's something missing significant delays. Development of the laser light show with that.

You scare me because you don't want to think she can communicate is that he wants to be told which was awkward he would respond to his name before.

Then he stopped responded to his name did have a couple words that regressed as well and so you like what the world is happening like you know you you hear about all the different conspiracy theories or whatever that orbit around vaccinations and things like that so we were speculating on all these different things. We had no history or recognition of autism within our our circles and I will say this though years before we got married and maybe a year into our marriage I worked at a residential treatment facility so I had a little experience when we people on the autism spectrum and I would see certain things that they would do see my son do those things. Most likely can't be this is a little denial. Absolutely, you have the conversations with family members who elect all don't worry about it yesterday and speak to. He was 35. So you just you try to figure out how Savior whatever law you can tell yourself give you comfort you try to live with that you get this disrupting news from the pediatrician and you have to wrestle and reconcile with that information is like revelatory schedule and your like is this our life is really your life and all the securities we can become you know, claiming that as a mother, my personal struggle was the fact that it was punishment for how I felt when I found out I was pregnant expectantly tells that was what set me well you felt what you plan to show yeah yeah quite a surprise I found out I was pregnant with him as I was applying for another job because I just been released from my teaching position not been teacher at a private school for like three years and they started letting light staff.

They heart recently. Go and so had to find another job and you know he was job school in between a bunch of things and I was I was more stable. He was working but it was more consistent with me and so it became a distressing moment because of time for this new job. I headed up to him to be an art therapist for abused and neglected children at a residential treatment facility and the first step is your hybrid team to pass a drug test was concerned about that. So when I went to get my results so the results there toward facility issues at all, congratulations and I am going to know that a path like no you like five weeks pregnant and I like good ski you did not outlive. No ma'am not said this is found out I was carrying our second child and the timing wasn't great, was not great, because you know financial were trying to figure ourselves out. We have a new child. Zoe may have been ten-month at the time we found out who pregnant again and it just became a strain financially between communicating. It was just a lot of things that can happen in a new marriage that was happening all at once. And so it damaged how we were feeling about each other between frustrations and stress and try to move forward.

I will have my concerns of working with abused and neglected children because at the time had to take self-defense training you work with traumatized children and things happen and so now I'm concerned about, you know, my new child within. Also depressed because I'm pregnant and don't really want to be right now and so throughout that process. I struggle with the joy of knowing the house carrying another life somehow. He thought this might really think that's typical that Steven and Wilson with Patrice and show baraka on family life will hear their response in just a minute. If you are listening to family life a you know how important it is to be a family on a mission. We believe that God calls us into community to serve each other with what he's given us. Right now there are two ways you can partner with family life to impact lives for his first you can lead a small group Bible study in your home or your church right now you can get a discount on all leader materials with the code 25 office 250 FF family life to and second, you can partner with us financially to equip families to move from isolation toward oneness. You could donate securely and as our thanks when you give today will send you a copy of Jenny Allen's book called find your people. He was a guest earlier this week.

Again, that's family life to right now, back to Damien's conversation with trees and show baraka and if it's common or not the parents of special needs kids to feel like they're being punished. One of the greatest burdens that a lot of mothers will speak what is good as a husband I think we we recognize that women often times carry the shame of bearing children who have some sort of deficiency if you will some sort of special need because is just the way you know women are nurturers and are connected to the child the way that the father is an you know she's even communicated that there are ways in which the husband can show empathy and care and help them like carry that burden and I do a good job of that in the early years, but I do think there's a bit of shame that comes with carrying that because I felt so you have liked insecurities that I had was necessarily the shame of like man is so selfish like the things that these kids will have to deal with. It was more so tell me my boilerplate torts told me that I will be able to like teach about it. You mean you mean something about all the things that I want to do our live through my son's death. I hear exactly and I will no longer be able to live out these grand adventures etc. etc. with this and so there comes the shame and double shame is the shame of not be able to do those things.

Also a shameful way of thinking about it like you know affliction if you will just call it that the moment because it's not even compassion for the individual was more so the selfishness that you get to live out and just a little bit further like your shame to take the public because the behaviors they display you like okay will going to store hope. They just don't act a fool for thrower you sense on I think a lot of parents might feel when anything goes wrong with their child, whether it be special-needs or something tragic happens.

I think sometimes as parents, we do feel like it's God getting us back through them. You know my dad was a womanizing guy pretty much an alcoholic left my mom with his girlfriend. When I was seven I had a little brother five. My mom and I and my little brother moved to Ohio.

That's where we ended up in Ohio because her parents of their she's a single mom, my little brother dies of leukemia within three months.

I know my dad carried that price whole life like that's God's punishment for my life.

You know, he never said that but I know we felt it like that's how good it isn't at all but you just said something like, well, I felt like you think that's sort of common. It was absolutely the truth that I believed you deal with it. I think it's a very long time. I don't think I've officially dealt with it until after we had our second son, and that was seven years later, like it was it was a battle every time we were in the emergency room with the Tokai because he was sickly. You know he was sick often. He was jaundiced when he was born and he was just other things in house like what you should appreciated the gift you know you should appreciate the gift and now this is the outcome of that and so I just kind kept to myself for the most part because I didn't want anyone to know that I felt that way about my child when I found that I was pregnant because I was embarrassed and was difficult for me to say that this is my son the cayenne he's autistic because of me or he's not and have a normal life because of me didn't even tell, show, you know, I don't think I know I never communicate what you don't know, she never communicated that will take until like years and years that you your team to use you could sense that I doubt us and our marriage is I never felt like God was punishing us per se.

While he never felt that because I never knew my thoughts when I told him I could never tell my husband like I don't want this child. They were about to have. How can you say that I would. I there was nothing in me that could make that thought. Okay, so I never communicated that to him so I never wanted him to have the opportunity to feel that because I feel like this is something I bought myself yes and ugly part of us that we don't want our spouse to see me just carry guilt and shame and any just Barry and how did it affect your marriage. We do not like each other for a long period of time is very very very very very very assist because you have a child with special needs are bigger than this compounded yeah that is a like they were struggling financially and were trying to figure things out identity as a whole me you were young like think we that I got like 22 maybe three yeah I was older than him so somehow she got younger than me is but I think it was just one being I know I wasn't sure you think offers grace every day that he kept me in the early years of our marriage but I think, is that just try to figure out who you are as an individual. I think trying to work through this. Being a parent of a kid with special needs. I will say I think we had adequate marriage counseling and we went to a church that was seem fairly healthy. I think now if I can go back there much tougher questions that we should wrestle with the things that I should've dealt with sexual past sexual expectations communication anger issues that I never really reconciled with that I think are brought into the marriage that you know we knew we knew were different people from different experiences and you just pay lip service as I don't know my peers that this mother is okay. We will be like our parents get right yeah no is on paper, this is great, but they would like to apply to and it will get in the mouth and you revert to those old ways yeah you you you retreat or you lash out and you forget that the Holy Spirit is in you and so you make some decisions and so I do think there's a lot of things I think we would tell our young selves. I was just can ask you to say what would you say to mom or dad or couple listening right now that are feeling like you felt like some of the bad things that my life or my God's punishing me and maybe they have a son or daughter with special needs might be some else you learned a lot you mature know I would you say I can only tell them what I'm experiencing now because that's where I have to live in order to guess mentally survive, knowing that there is a realistic future for my son and that's that. My son both my sons are gifts and to not look at it as some form of punishment, but as a different perspective of God, that you would not normally get to see because not everyone has a certain special need. Most people are normal and we have similar things in common where you like. All this is the face of all this is normal. This is normal, but we have a child with special needs.

They see the world differently. You get to experience a different type of person and we are created in his image. So you can't look at that child and say this is not a part of God complete different expression of God is a different expression of how to love.

One of the things that I think we we've learned in this is that it is taught us a lot about God's love and how God loves us that love is not based on performance and that no matter how well our are disappointing. Our kids perform.

If you will, that doesn't change her affection for her children because the reality of it is that God looks at us and we will perform well at times we don't think that God has called us to do but yet that doesn't change his affection's love for us and so we just try to figure out okay if they're not neuro- typical in what ways do they communicate so that we can connect in what ways do they love differently. They love without words. I love to communicate this likely love without words, and it's a beautiful thing and so is taught me either. You talk about this yesterday about I was taught you how to be compassionate towards people absolutely. I'm sure we've all had that moment before we knew someone had a special needs child that would judge that parent for letting their child run crazy and scream and start like to get your child control.

Yeah, right, right. Like that Chinese disc. Yeah, you have no clue what that mother's breath and what the child like you have no idea. I've seen that before, since I've had my own children of my own experience of being that mother that I had to leave basket full of groceries in a store because my son is flipping now. I have had a moment where I've gone up to a mother that was having a hard time then just asked her no I know how can I help you might do you need me to put the groceries on that thing like pay for them if that you need to be with your child because in the past, I would've just as only happened once, but I'd like to think that moment of compassion that I showed her made a difference in her life at that moment, which is probably all she needed was a moment so you learn to give grace without judging which we all need to learn you been listening to Dave and Ian Wilson with Patrice and show Barack on family life to tomorrow, they'll continue the conversation and shall Patrice get honest about when they were genuinely dreading the fact that they were going to have 1/3 kid. What did that mean for their faith. Talk about that tomorrow on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm shall be added back next time for another edition of family life family like today's production of family life accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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