I began corresponding with Bec, mother to Bella, a year ago. During one of my late nights studying everything I could find on RPM, I watched a video of Bec and Bella doing RPM. At the beginning of the video they appeared to be struggling a lot – and that is just what I needed to see because Rhema and I were struggling so much! The video showed Bella’s remarkable progress over time and that was also encouraging.
Bec wrote to me, “Can’t wait till Bella and Rhema write to each other.” At the time I could not, dare not imagine such a thing ever occurring. But Bec seemed so confident, and it gave me hope.
Fast forward a year and I found myself typing the words, “Bec, I can hardly believe it. But I think Rhema’s ready.” Ready for the girls to have a chin wag, as Bec calls it. (They live in Australia.)
When Bella’s letter arrived in my Inbox, my tears immediately started flowing. I forwarded it to Brandon and he cried, too. (We are total crybabies now.)
My name is Bella and you are wonderfully made as am I. Are you enjoying being heard? Can you believe how awesome God with parents helped us? I very much like eating sweet treats and when I can I like to go swimming. Are you a sweets fan? My favourite new treat is white chocolate. Do you like school? I am so working hard to stay at school. Never thought I would be included. Have a good day.
Your friend Bella.
As I read Bella’s letter to Rhema, she hummed and scribbled on paper. She never looked up. Without even seeing her face, I just knew it was a moment we’d always treasure. I knew that she was experiencing a special connection of friendship in a way she had never known before.
As soon as I finished reading Rhema pointed her pencil at the stencil board. I spoke aloud the letters and words she spelled, and I bawled.
So good to meet you
So much to tell you
I have my voice now
I have so long wanted a friend
I have love for you even though I have never met you
I love being heard
I cant believe how God ansered my prayer
I like my good mom my sister Hope and my dad
I miss you
Your friend Rhema
Hope begged me to let her write to Bella, too. Upon reading her letter, I bawled again.
Bella, I’m Rhema’s little sister, Hope. I am so happy for both of you! I’m happy you found your voices! I know God will do great things in, for and through you. I am 9 years old. My birthday is December 5. When is yours? I like sweets too. Rhema LOVES popsicles. I also like to swim. I like traveling, playing piano, playing soccer, drawing and writing. I have written books and am working on another one. Do you like to write?
My sister said that autism makes it hard to do life so when you get frustrated when you can’t make clear what you want (or just in general) remember this bible verse: “consider it pure joy my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds.” Sincerely, Hope
God is giving answers to prayers I never even dared to pray. My girl is not alone. She is beginning to connect with people who get her and communicate like her and share the same challenges, same joys.
A friend. My Rhema has a friend.
You can read more of Bella’s words on her Facebook page: Bella’s Walk