special needs parenting

Farm Life

My boys are in the double digits for age.  We still haven’t made concrete decisions about what their adulthood will entail, but the topic is very much on the table.  We have a few things that are important to us.  First, Hannah must be able to be their sister, not their decision maker or caregiver.  Second, our boys will not languish in a group home where their days roll by, one indistinguishable from the next.  And third, wherever they live, we want them to have the opportunity to continue to grow and develop throughout life, as I believe all people should.

Recently, I connected with Graceland Farms.  Graceland Farms is currently a dream.  It is a dream that was born when a little girl met a mule named Ruthie who lives at Dixie Dude Ranch and instantly connected.  The little girl is Abby, and her mother is the driving force behind Graceland Farms.  Upon seeing this human/animal connection, Jennifer knew that her dream for her daughter was a farm where she could live, work and have meaningful friendships.  The other vision of this farm is to promote continuing education of both parents and Special Ed Professionals, by paying for trips to the National Down Syndrome Congress Conference each year for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend the conference.


From that moment on, Abby’s mom, Jennifer, has been brainstorming about how to start a farm where Abby and friends like her can live full, meaningful, productive lives.  Where they could care for animals, garden for food, and do so in community.

Maybe I am selfish, but I want this farm to be up and running by the time my boys are adults.  I want this vision, this farm, to come to fruition so that there is one more beautiful option for their adult lives.  One of the ugly secrets in disabled communities is that there are few options for adults to have work and homes, and when a new option comes up, it is filled up before the doors even open.  There is demand for excellent options for adult housing options, but the supply is missing.  I have chosen to become a part of Graceland Farms, and give momentum to the driving force to make this dream a reality because I believe that my boys deserve better options, and Graceland Farms is one of the best options I have heard of yet.

Please consider this.  Is this something you can get behind?  If so, how?  There’s a Go Fund Me page where you can donate, but if you have other abilities (an experienced grant writer would be a huge blessing!) or strengths to offer, or just want to lend a hand of any type, add Graceland farms as a Facebook friend, or leave a comment here.  Help us get the ball rolling so that the reality exceeds the dream!


3 thoughts on “Farm Life

  1. I stumbled across your blog today, due to your article about antibiotic resistance. I read some of your blogs and I love your attitude. I have a 12 year old son with Down Syndrome and like you, we want his brothers to be brothers, not care takers and we tell them that all the time. Casey skateboards, surfs and is very athletic, but we think about his future. The Fram is a fantastic idea. Everyone wants a “job” to be “part” of something and group homes are SCARY. We have assured our other children that we will leave sufficient money so that he will NEVER be in one, but I would love for him to have a place to work that is productive and meaningful. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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