So my quest to find a church in order to feel commected to a community has been a big failure. The churches I have visited or contacted have all been very nice. The one I attended - a very small UCC church - was so welcoming I feel bad not going. The pastor is great and I still get his newletters by email. The problem is that no matter how badly they WANT to be a great place for a child like Sam, they just can't without disrupting the experience for everyone else. In most churches I have been to kids sit for part of the service then go to class or chapel. Sam can't do that. He can't participate in a class in real way. I could go to church on my own and I may from time to time but the community aspect just isnb't working. I can't join committees, go to choir practice, or help with the rummage sale. I just don't have the ability to work full time, take care of three children and manage Sam's issues AND do those things - especially with Mark working most Saturdays.
BUT I found a great community. Sam takes a special needs dance class at a nearby dance school. The other moms/grandmothers are a great bunch. There is one boy who is much like Sam, a little girl who is nonverbal and somewhat delayed, twins with Down's SYndrome, and a girl who is autistic/multiply disabled. There are other kids who come and go but the parents of this bunch are there on a regular basis and I really look forward to the hour I sit on the floor and chat with them. Sam has been a little off the class lately but I am pushing him to keep going mostly for my own sake!!
The only time I feel on the outside is when they start talking about vacations and special needs camps. I am the only one in the group who has to work full time and even with 2 incomes we don't make enough to take trips or send Sam to daycamp in AUgust. These other moms take trips and some even hire therapists to go with them so they get a break. whoa. I did get a lead on a reasonably priced special needs camp for AUgust but so far they haven't gotten back to me.