For the love of Marshall & Elijah

My heart is hurting.
Our almost 2 year old son, who we adopted through foster care, was recently diagnosed with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder), ADHD, SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and other mood and behavior issues. Being foster/adoptive parents we knew the chances of getting a child with drug exposure and FASD was a possibility. We learned about it in our training and knew what we were signing up for, but nothing prepares you until you actually live it.

The more research I’ve done, the more emotional I become. My son has a brain disorder. A disorder that he will never grow out of. For the rest of his life Elijah will most likely deal with Hyperactive behavior, Difficulty with attention, Poor memory, Difficulty in school, Learning disabilities, Speech and language delays, Intellectual disability, low IQ, Poor reasoning and judgment skills, sleep issues, anger and sensory processing disorder.

There is no cure for FASD but research shows that early intervention treatment services can improve a child’s development. We are lucky and blessed that he was diagnosed so young, but we have a long ways to go. He has started Early Intervention and is on waiting lists for a therapist, therapeutic preschool, Early Head Start, etc. 

Because Elijah cannot process things properly, he resorts to banging his head on the ground or any other hard surface. Due to his SPD, Elijah has zero fears. Doors must remain locked or he will run into the street, chairs must be on their sides or will will run on the table and countertops, and many other precautions have been made. Elijah screams, cries, throws himself on the floor and hits , pinches and bites others in order to make himself feel better.

I’m tired. Exhausted. Worn out. Overwhelmed. And so dang busy. I’m not sure how to balance life right now. Elijah takes SO MUCH work, but it’s not only him. Our other 2 kiddos with ADHD are also a lot of work, plus our 1 year old Great Pyrenees, and my photography business. I have the desire to reduce added stress, but it’s hard to know where to cut back stress factors.

Marshall, our Great Pyrenees mix, has added to my stress and frustration just by being a dog in his “teenage” years and doing things behaviorally that we haven’t had the time to train and correct. We have considered taking him to a home with a lot of land and farm animals, where he’d live the life a Pyrenees was bred for... but we are really struggling with that decision. Marshall and Elijah have a close bond. A strong enough bond, that I’m worried it will set Elijah back if we rehome Marshall. If properly trained, he would be a great companion and safety net for Elijah. Especially as he gets older.

We don’t have the thousands of dollars it takes in order to train Marshall to be a therapy or service dog for Elijah. Although, even proper obedience training would be a HUGE help right now to relieve some of that added stress. Then down the road, we will do what we need to in order to get him trained further and certified to help Elijah. There are a lot of tiny stressors that have put me over the edge, which is why I’m now reaching out for help.

With $2495 would could have Marshall go to Elite Training Camp for 2 weeks through

For an additional $2,195 Marshall could be trained as a Therapy Dog to not only help Elijah but other people/children in our home!

Any extra funds would go towards future training for Marshall. If you’d prefer to pay through Venmo my user name is @WendyGAtkins

Thank you for your love and support!

To understand how a service dog benefits a child with FASD, please read about it on this link:

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Wendy Atkins 
West Jordan, UT
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