A story of autism, faith, and determined parenting
Karla Akins’ sons, her pair of miracles,
are proof of what is possible through God
Karla is a multi-published author I met a few years ago at a writing conference through our mutual agent, Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency. While Karla is a mom of five, A Pair of Miracles addresses the challenges and blessings she and her husband have experienced raising their two autistic sons.
Autism is a neurological developmental disability that appears early in life and covers a wide spectrum of potential abilities and handicaps. It’s different for everyone.
Karla, please share a bit of your own educational background and how Isaiah and Isaac joined your family.
Thanks for hosting me, Janet!
My educational background: I have a doctorate degree in Christian Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education. I’m pursuing a Master’s in Education & Technology.
I have a step-daughter and two biological sons, all grown, and seven grandchildren.
Isaiah and Isaac came to us through the foster care system. We had applied to adopt another foster child but the social services agency we were with only allowed adoptions to childless couples. After a heartbreaking separation from a baby we had from birth to eleven months, we very much desired to adopt. God blessed us with the twins and we were thrilled.
Being the parent of special needs children can be an isolating and overwhelming experience. What are some of the issues you faced and how did you deal with them?
Oh wow. Yes, it’s very hard not to get bitter and to feel forgotten. People have no idea what you go through. The stress is through the roof. Did you know that studies have shown that mothers of children with autism have the same stress levels as combat soldiers? There are too many of us out there feeling alone. Friends fall away, not knowing how to help. And honestly, we don’t know how to have them help us. Not just anyone can care for our kids with autism because the behavior is so challenging. We also had a difficult time getting our church to understand what we were dealing with. In the book, I share how I worked through these issues with the Lord’s help.
You are a multi-published author of a variety of genres, what motivated you to write A Pair of Miracles?
I was at a writer’s conference where we could display one–sheets for book proposals. Right before I left for that conference, I had a strong unction to create a one-sheet for a book about the twins. An editor saw it and asked for a proposal. One thing led to another and here we are! But really, I wanted to tell the twins’ story because it’s about love and overcoming. It’s about hope. I want people living with autism or any disability to be encouraged and to know that God hasn’t forgotten them. He is up to something good. He really is.
Isaac and Isaiah seem to be thriving. What are their abilities and what activities fill their days?
Isaiah has a part-time job at a convenience store/gas station. Isaac does odd jobs such as yard work and mowing. They both help take care of their grandmother who lives with us and has dementia. They are so good with her. I love watching them and listening to them instruct her on how to walk to the car or what to eat. They have a golf cart that they tool around town in and use to get to work and church. They require supervision because they’re easily taken advantage of, but they also do much more than doctors told me they would. We are grateful. The last couple of days they’ve enjoyed swimming with friends. They’re very good swimmers!
I was appreciative and impressed by the many tools and resources you included for parents raising special needs children. There is a lot of practical wisdom in A Pair of Miracles that’s helpful for raising ALL children.
Thanks, Janet! I wanted to include practical help. I know I relied a lot on practical help when my boys were little.
Do you have a current work in progress?
I do. I have several projects I’m working on, including a book for middle grades, a suspense and a nonfiction. They only have working titles at this point. I’m also working on my Master’s Degree so a lot of my writing time is taken up writing papers. I am looking forward to getting back to having more writing time!
I also have a YouTube channel where I am producing some videos about how to work with children with autism. My YouTube channel is called Sparrow Song Radio. I have other videos there, too, as I interview authors, too. I hope your readers will check it out!
And I love meeting readers, too.
Where can people find out more about you and your books, Karla?
My online home is www.KarlaAkins.com, and I am also on Facebook (KarlaKAkins) and Twitter (@KarlaAkins).
Akins is the author of four other books. Her first novel, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots.
Karla has graciously offered to give away a book to one commenter. A winner will be selected July 31st.