Dream Big, Big Dream
Five years ago a man I did not know and his wife allowed themselves to think outside the box and dream a big dream.
Their dream was to build a community where their daughter, who happens to have special needs, could live out her life with the extra care and support she needs. Like myself, they wanted something better than the current available options.
After working for five years to make this dream a reality, Luna Azul was born. "Luna Azul is a unique residential neighborhood designed specifically for people with life challenges." It is envisioned as a place where residents can live permanently, while enjoying a sense of security, and making lasting friendships.
I found out about Luna Azul when I opened an email from a friend who has a daughter with special needs. It came as an answer to our questions and prayers. Just a couple of weeks before, my husband and I were revisiting the question of where Kyle would live someday when he doesn't live in our home. As usual, we were coming up blank. We agreed to begin some research.
I never got to the research. Without fully realizing it, I had begun to shine my light on the question. As life tends to work, there was something serendipitous and divine going on behind the scenes. Luna Azul found me.
It was a "yes" from the moment I read about it. "Could this be for Kyle?" was my biggest concern and question. From the agency that provides our state services to the Luna Azul development team to my friend who sent the email, the answer was "yes".
There are so many things to love about this community.
Here a disability won't make a loved one stand out, but rather, fit in. Luna Azul is designed as a community where residents enjoy a rich, full life with friends, and participate in neighborhood and social events.
Independence & Choice.
Dominant themes among adults with disabilities are their desires for permanency, independence and self-determination. Home ownership here offers families and their children the greatest and most reliable degree of choice and freedom, including the ability to choose where, how and with whom they live, while managing the services they need.
I love the way this community was born. From nothing. That's right, nothing.
Mark Roth and his wife did not like the options for their daughter. They allowed themselves to dream. This was the first step in the creation process. From nothing, came something.
Five years later, just ten minutes from my home, the construction of Luna Azul on 4.5 acres across from the Phoenix Mountain Preserve is happening. A year from now, a beautiful community will sit on that piece of land.
The community offers a range of amenities to serve adults with disabilities with indoor and outdoor community gathering spaces, and a Center House. Through the Home Owners' Association, the neighborhood organizes and funds social and recreational activities; provides 24-hour staffing; maintains the common areas; and provides other services meeting the common needs of residents.
I guess you could say "it's official". Sometime in 2019, Kyle will be moving into his own home (owned by his special needs trust).
Kyle's current weekend care provider has agreed to be his roommate and live in caregiver. We are currently exploring which model of state services he will need to fund this care. This arrangement was a huge piece of the puzzle I didn't expect. My own big dream was only a matter of asking a question.
This is all happening much faster and sooner than I had envisioned. But when the opportunity fell into my lap, "yes, let's do it" was the only answer I had.
I imagine the process will not be without obstacles. I trust we will figure it all out as we go along. One step at a time, responding to what's right in front of us. Kyle's adjustment might be easier than mine. When we moved out of our house for two weeks this summer to a nearby rental during a major remodel, it only took Kyle three days to adapt. But who knows? There are surprises and twists and turns that lie on the road ahead.
I am grateful to Mark Roth and his wife for getting their dream out of their heads and into the world. The task might appear daunting. At least it would to me. But one step at a time, and with the help of many many people, Luna Azul is becoming reality.
How often do we, myself included, limit ourselves to what's already known when it comes to finding a solution?
How often do we shut down an idea because it has never been done and/or looks impossible?
How often do we get so frightened by the sea of obstacles in front of us, we turn around or abandon the dream before we allow ourselves to begin?
How often have we been so afraid of not knowing, we innocently block off the unlimited flow of fresh ideas to which we all have access?
The possibilities are infinite if we allow ourselves to soften our focus, sit in the space of the unknown, and listen for what occurs to us. Without blinders, there is much to see.
This is what it takes to do what has not yet been done. To create a place like Luna Azul.
"You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will." ~~ Stephen King
"Imagination is the beginning of creation." ~~George Bernard Shaw