We adopted our son, Marshall, when he was only seven years old. His life up to that point was sad and lacking opportunity. Not only did Marshall have special needs, but so did his mother and soon to be step-father. He had very little parenting, was not toilet trained, spoke only a few words and rarely made it to school. His mother sought help by letting her case manager know that she felt Marshall would be better cared for with other parents.
We were the lucky family to have adopted this amazing person. We quickly had him diagnosed and tested. He was given opportunities for therapy and we were given training on how to help Marshall excel despite his challenges. He was diagnosed with mild MR, ADHD, language disorder and a form of Autism. The diagnoses were crucial in order to get Marshall the help he needed to live up to his potential.
Marshall has had many opportunities throughout his 21 years. He has his adopted family that loves and supports him and his biological family that continue to love him and stay in touch with him. He’s had wonderful case managers, brilliant and caring teachers and many other people that truly care for him and encourage him along the way.
Even though Marshall had a wonderful high school experience, we dreaded the day he graduated because we felt that he would be unable to get and keep a job. While Marshall is a truly amazing human being, a hard worker and a constant source of light and positivity, we knew his opportunities after high school would be quite limited. It would take a very special job, under just the right circumstances, with just the right amount of support for Marshall to excel as an employee.
We agonized over the thought of leaving Marshall at home by himself while went to our jobs and his brother went to school. Marshall, like most people, thrives when he is included, needed and appreciated. He was only 19 years old and facing a life without opportunity until he found BCI. Marshall and his friends from school had job shadowed at BCI during high school. They shadowed a lot of places, but BCI was the place Marshall loved and where he thrived.
When Marshall was hired at BCI, we figured it would take a while for him to acclimate to his new reality. We expected melt downs, frustration and sad days. There were none of those things. From day one as an employee at BCI, Marshall has been happy, involved, hardworking, committed, engaged and celebrated. He loves his job. He loves getting a pay check for his hard work. He loves his coworkers, his van driver, his bosses and most of all…his work.
We are so proud of our son. He is a hard working contributing member of society. He is proud of the product that he helps to package and he is not shy about letting us know what products on the store shelves are “his products.” Marshall is proud of the work that he and his coworkers do. He often comes home to tell us of the quotas that were met and when he had to “help out another line.”
This opportunity for true and meaningful employment would not be possible without a place like BCI. BCI is not for everyone, but it is EVERYTHING those individuals lucky enough to call BCI their workplace. Marshall is lucky in many ways, but none more so than this opportunity to work hard, get paid and feel pride of employment. He works almost 40 hours a week. He gets himself out of bed, makes his own lunch and eagerly waits for his van driver to pick him up for his job Monday through Friday. While our home is filled with moaning and groaning each and every Monday morning about work and school…none of it is coming from Marshall. He is the most eager among us to get to work in the morning and fulfill the quota for the day.
Marshall is proud of himself. We are proud of him to be sure, but most importantly HE IS PROUD. We are so thankful to BCI and the Sheltered Workshop model for all that they do for very special people…like Marshall.