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Sorell Family

Meet Sorell Family

“Our family is originally from Kansas, but the Army moved us to the greater Washington DC area almost 11 years ago. The military has allowed us to stabilize in DC because of our son Jacob. With all the medical and academic services available we passionately believe God sovereignly led us here!” 

“Jacob is a sweet, joyful nine-year-old little boy who is nonverbal and non-ambulatory. As an infant, it was not until he started missing milestones such as rolling over or sitting up that we realized something was not right developmentally and our family began to have lot of concerns. At approximately 14 months old, Jacob began having infantile spasms which causes catastrophic brain damage and developmental regression. By God’s grace the seizures cease. Jacob continues to thrive though he is intellectually and physically disabled with no confirmed genetic diagnosis.”

“Our family initially heard about Jill’s House around the time Jacob was going into kindergarten. He was placed on a brief waiting list until there was an opening. The first time we left Jacob at the Jill’s House, I was quite anxious to leave him because we had never left him overnight with anyone before. As an overprotective mom, I felt guilty and overly responsible wondering how other people would understand Jacob’s nonverbal cues or methods of communication. Now every time he goes to Jill’s House, Jacob’s body language and huge smiles show us he is so happy! Jacob proudly uses his gait trainer to walk inside the entrance while holding his head up grinning ear to ear like he owns the place!

Jacob has 2 older sisters who love and adore him. Both Leah and Lily are amazing sisters with friends who are inclusive of Jacob. Both of our girls have been wonderful helpers, and huge advocates for their beautiful brother. At times it has been stressful on each one of us because disability impacts the whole family.”

“One of our first experiences at Jill’s House was a family retreat at a calm outdoor venue. We will never forget that weekend the spring of 2019. Our girls were encouraged meeting other typical siblings and were able to converse and interact during their free time. Our whole family was so blessed to spend time with other special needs parents and have a caretaker assigned to help us with Jacob. One of the biggest highlights was being able to eat a meal uninterrupted as a family. Mealtimes are one of the hardest times during a typical day with a special needs child who continues to chronologically grow but needs to be fed in a comparable way an infant is.

While Jacob is at Jill’s House, we try to be intentional with our girls and do at least one thing we might not be able to do as easily with Jacob. For example, we go on a bike ride or go out to eat at our favorite Korean restaurant. Jacob’s time at Jill’s House is not just a respite for us, it also gives him an opportunity to be around others to stimulate his mind. We always receive notes from his time at Jill’s House saying that he either enjoyed playing instruments in the music room, exploring the sensory room, or throwing balls in the gym.”

“When you have a child with special needs, a caretaker or family member remains on high alert during the day or night. Circumstances keep your adrenaline up as thoughts preoccupy your mind constantly such as, “will my child have a seizure?” “Will my child fall out of bed?” “Will they need a diaper change?” The first night Jacob is at Jill’s House is always the hardest to fall sleep as we contemplate if we will get an emergency call to come get him. But when we do not hear the phone ring, our minds and bodies are finally able to relax… the second night we usually fall into a deeper sleep. Chronic exhaustion and burn out is a common theme among special needs families.

Before COVID we would attend Worship Night at Jill’s House as a family. These nights were so special. Kids would get banners or flags to wave during the music and we never had to worry about how much noise they were making. Watching and listening to all the children make a joyful noise until the Lord was so beautiful.”

“We are so grateful for Jacob. His heart is so pure! When we are playing worship music at home, often he will lift up his hands or tap on our chest as a gesture that he wants us to lift our hands in worship too!! Although he is intellectually 4–10-month-old mentally and even though his body is disabled, he is such a beautiful representation of purity. Jacob physically cannot feel pain or cry we discovered after neurologically testing. In a way, all these attributes combine remind us of what it will be like in heaven when there will be no pain, no crying, just pure JOY! Due to Jacob’s limited intellectual ability, it makes us think of the verse where it says, ‘the pure in heart shall see GOD.”

“This winter, we were able to enjoy a marriage retreat with a few Jill’s House couples. What a refreshing blessing. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary and with a special needs child it is so hard to get away to honor our vows. In addition to periodic retreats, having a small women’s Bible study on zoom has been a huge source of strength and encouragement especially during the pandemic when most of us were isolated at home not even able to go into a church building with our children.

We are so grateful for the way the Jill’s House not only cares for our special needs kids, this community abundantly blesses and nurtures the whole family throughout our journey.”

Thank you for making stories like Sorell Family possible.

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 © 2018 Jill’s House

Enjoy this story? Share it with your friends or read more like it!

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 © 2018 Jill’s House