Living with Autism - Page: 4 of 12
In May 2002, I did my final preparation. I had a security belt with lock made for the flight. Thank God that the Hamburg, Germany government paid for the trip and the shipping of our belongings to Baltimore, Maryland. I ordered the flight tickets, ordered a wheelchair at every airport Hamburg, London and Washington, D.C. Alex and I boarded our flight on June 14, 2002. With the great help of the staff at British Airways on both flights and the little system we put together, we made it to Washington, D.C. The crew of the airline gave us a very big compliment of successful completing this very complicated task. Then we had to go through Immigration.
Alex was fine with his USA passport, signed by me. But my situation was messed up not being able to deal with matters beforehand due to not having time for anything but Alex. Because I was gone more than a year, my immigrations status expired in the USA. We had sit for an interview, Alex in his wheelchair and his belt around his chest waiting patiently. He knew he had to hang in there with his dad. I was finger printed and interviewed. They kept my passport. What a mess. Suddenly the immigration officers got all furious because Alex got out of the belt and the wheelchair and disappeared. They let me look for him and we found him in the restroom, which he needed to use. After all the procedures, we got through customs and I wheeled him and our belongings to the exit.
Adrienne came to the airport with her Aunt June to pick us up. When Alex got up out his wheelchair she is in total shock because of his huge size. We drove to her tiny apartment in Baltimore, Maryland. Her landlord who wanted to rent her the 2 bedroom apartment did not do so because they discriminated against Alex once they saw him. We had another rocky ride.
First of all, changes for Alex are always very hard to comprehend and to deal with. By the end of July 2002, the Baltimore Police Department (we never had any dealings with any police regarding Alex before) was coming to the tiny apartment three times, the first two times with no problems, the third time was a complete disaster. I tried to explain to the police officer, looking at me with a smirk in his face, how to deal with Alex properly, calm and cool, just relax, please do not charge at him, he would be just fine. No, instead he was calling for reinforcement. Five plain cloth officers charged into the apartment, had me lying on the floor, jumping on Alex, wrestling him to the ground, his mom helplessly just looking on, handcuffed him and tied his feet with plastic strings. They called the fire department ambulance, carried my big boy, who then was almost 250 pounds, down the steps to the ambulance.
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