The day I'll have to put my son in a group home

February 2, 2015

This guest post is by Sarah, a mom blogger who writes at You can read this original post on her blog here.

I just read a blog post where the author was asked to list the hardest thing about autism, and she said, people.  For me, the hardest thing changes as time and life change.  A long time ago, it was other people not being kind, instead very very judgmental. Later it was hitting and pinching.  Later still it was loneliness and so on.  Today, it is fear…pain. Fear of giving up, pain of letting go.

Many people have heard the song “Say Something” by a Great Big World and a cover by Pentatonix.  Most see it as a romantic or familial toned song.  I ask that you close your eyes and listen to it again, trying to imagine yourself as a mom who has to give up her young teen child (or any age, for that matter) to a group home…to live away from his/her family.  Imagine this is the first day of that chapter of their lives. 

Imagine the feelings of failure, the guilt that overwhelms.  Think of the sadness, the loss, the dashed hope, the feeling of giving up. Think of them in the new room of their child. Imagine the car ride home with an empty seat in the back…

This isn’t an ‘if’, it’s a when.  It isn’t today, nor tomorrow, the next day, or the next.  I hope it’s later, not sooner, but it will happen.  This happens everyday.  Parents have to give up their kids to a group home.  Before people say something, I do know I didn’t fail.  I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, like a failure, or that I am giving up.  I know I’m not giving up.  I know it will be the best for him.  I also know it isn’t goodbye.  But it is goodbye to life as we know it now, and that feels like enough of a goodbye to me.  I know we can visit; I know we can bring him home to stay with us as much as we would like, but tell that to a mom who is giving up her baby, placed in her charge by God himself.  No matter what I know in my head, I know my heart will wait until that time comes to start working to reconcile itself to believe what the head says.

On that day, when we are standing in the doorway of his new room, tears will flow freely.  Guilt will overwhelm.  My heart will be pleading with my non-verbal son “Say something!  Please!  Tell me you love me.  Tell me you know I love you.  Tell me we don’t have to do this.  Tell me you forgive me.  Tell me I didn’t fail.  Tell me you understand.”

I know it will be okay.  I know I will be okay.  I have faith in Jesus that he’s going to have it in his hands, have Taylor in his hands…have me in his hands.

But if you ask me today what is the hardest part?…. knowing this is my future.

Need resources for housing and community living? Check out our Housing and Residential Supports Tool Kit here.

Autism Speaks does not provide medical or legal advice or services. Rather, Autism Speaks provides general information about autism as a service to the community. The information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. Autism Speaks has not validated and is not responsible for any information, events, or services provided by third parties.

We're Here to Help Chat with Us
Autism Response Team Chat
There are no available agents at the moment.

You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or