Autism. A six letter word that I knew nothing about, until this year. When I heard the word “autism,” I couldn’t tell you much about it. I thought I did, but it’s not until you’re called into the front lines of the battle that you better understand the war. Deep I know, right?

Why am I talking about Autism? Our oldest daughter, Opal Grace, was completely “normal.” She hit all of her milestones on time, loved people, engaged with others, played with toys, and LOVED having pretend tea parties. But, like a lot of other people this year, 2020 has been a doozy for us. In March of this year, Opal stopped talking. Almost altogether. We had our own opinions of why it happened, but then she started regressing and changing immensely, to where it became concerning.

Now you may be reading this and thinking, “Opal? Are you sure?” Yes, we are. We know her better than anyone else, and we knew something was wrong. It came out of nowhere, along with everything else globally, nationally, and all the other things that have happened this year! It’s been ROUGH!

We haven’t told many people because even though we had a “hunch,” she hadn’t been diagnosed with anything. We had her evaluation today and we heard the words that no parent wants to hear. “Your child has autism.” And I’m not saying that to say that parents dread it or that it’s a bad thing, but I do think that any healthy parent would want their child to be healthy in all aspects. No one wants their child to have any kind of disability. Right?

So yes. For those of you that have asked questions, that have sat on the sidelines watching and wondering why she has been acting differently, Opal has Autism. Opal is not Autism, but she does have Autism. And I don’t write this blog to get sympathy or to get attention, but I do know that she has a village out there who truly cares about her, so I want us all to be able to understand her better. She is STILL smart, brave, beautiful, talented, and HILARIOUS! This does not change how much we love her, or our hopes and dreams for her in the future. It does open our eyes to so many other parents’ worlds that we truly had no idea about and could not relate in any way.

I can honestly say this has been the hardest year of our lives, but I can also say I have seen God the most this year and His faithfulness has been weaved throughout everything. We weren’t even supposed to get an appointment for her evaluation until 2021 or 2022. Now that we have her diagnosis, she can get all the help and resources she needs quicker.

God is good. Even when you don’t feel Him, even when you don’t see Him, and even when you don’t hear Him. Believe me. I have felt unseen and unheard most of this year, as I’m sure a lot of us have. But God sees you. He hears you.

If you are going through something rough personally or with your kiddos or your family and you keep asking God for answers but you’re just not getting any, hold on. None of this has surprised Him. He knows best and He IS faithful! If God has promised you something, DO NOT GIVE UP!

Our “symbol” throughout the entire year has been a rainbow. It reminds us that God is going to keep His promises He has made to us. And we also know that after every storm comes a rainbow. DO NOT LOSE HOPE! Keep going, because that one push you need may just get you to where you need to be!

Published by Life With Opal

Hello! I'm Renee! A wife and stay home momma to the two sweetest girls! Our daughter, Opal, is on the autism spectrum and we love to share our journey with others, advocating and educating all along the way! And reminding others that there is always hope!

8 thoughts on “Autism

  1. I felt something was off I pray for her and I love Opal so much. Anything I can ever do or anything that you need just let me know. I will continue to pray for you all. Love you all. And Opal and Lucy are so blessed tochave both You and E as parents. You guys are amazing. Just remember when times are hard. GODS GOT THIS 🙏 🙌 ✨


  2. Rene, you as a mom are in my daily prayers, Jordan my youngest was diagnosed as high functioning Autism or Aspergers never ever got a definite Dx on him, he’s 23 now, it was a very rough road for him and I, no support the names scared my family members and they refused to accept it, so when he acted diffrent to situations he was rejected by family and then I was for trying to fight for him. This still continues sadly.. Thank you for posting this out made me realize that God is there even when it’s so quiet, and you see nothing happening…Fast forward, Jordan now communicates, raising a family, working fulltime, and handling all the finances.. I’m here for y’all, and so glad you have such a supportive family, and a village praying for Miss Opal, she’s a warrior and will succeed in leaps and bounds


    1. I hate when anyone has to struggle! But I’m so glad to see how well Jordan is doing! That is awesome! Thank you so much for the support!


  3. Rene, my oldest child Branch was diagnosed with Aspergers, a neurodevelopmental disorder that is a “cousin” of Autism, at an older age than Opal. Tim and I were much like you and Ethan, we knew something was different. Branch was facing challenges that other children his age didn’t seem to be facing. At home he would play with Brooke and his cousins, and he would engage in conversations. Pre-K was a different story. He would hide away in corners, have outbursts by the slightest touch, almost non-communicative. There wasn’t much known about Autism in the early 2000’s. We were left to find treatment on our own. I’m so happy to see that there are many treatment options today for parents, families and the child. I wish you, Ethan, and Opal great success with the treatment and direction in the up coming future. It’s quite visible what attentive and loving parents you both are. Much love and support 💙


    1. They have come a long way with treatment options for sure! She will have great success, I’m sure of it! And thank you for sharing your story about Branch! ❤


  4. This hits home…on 5/13/21, we were told that my 21 month old granddaughter has autism. It hit me like a ton of bricks, took my breath away. Tears fell and just wouldn’t quit. I knew at 8 months that something wasn’t right. Phoebe was a happy baby, babbling and cooing, then it stopped. Went to her pediatrician, got referral for hearing test, 3 tests later, nothing was wrong with hearing. Began speech and occupational therapy, and it was during the 2nd session, that they asked about autism. Phoebe walked on her heels, constantly moving had blisters on feet from jumping and moving about,arms flapping, aversion to textures (toys, clothing,foods),no eye contact, no words other than e,a,o..
    I began to watch her more closely, taking notes of behavior and reaction..went back to pediatrician, and asked for evaluation referral…the evaluation took place on may 6th, and we got the results a week later…and I’m still processing it. When I look at Phoebe, I see my wonderful perfectly made “Poppet” (that’s what I call her). A part of me wants to ask God “WHY”? but I know we aren’t supposed to question. I tell her that she will climb the highest mountain, dance in the valley and soar with the eagles. I know God created her just the way she is supposed to be, and that she has a purpose. Over these last days, I’ve researched, trying to find out all I can, to be better equipped to help her, as well as her parents.


    1. It is so hard hearing those words! And it may sting for a while, but you are so right when you say she will climb the highest mountain and dance in the valley! Sometimes I think my daughter is so much better at dancing in the valley than me! Our Autism kiddos are SO strong! In more ways than I can express! God will continue to equip all of you to better understand her! She sounds like the sweetest girl and I LOVE her name! Phoebe! ❤ You and your family are in my prayers!


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