“With all my worldly goods, I thee endow.” When those old fashioned words were spoken at our wedding ceremony, our combined possessions pretty much fit into my husband’s little Mazda truck and my ’65 Mustang coupe.
Last month, just weeks before our 26th anniversary, two moving trucks arrived at our house. Looking at the many crates about to be unloaded, I said to my husband, “There are those worldly goods we were talking about.”
This week’s Spouse Calls in print included excerpts from reader comments from the blog and email regarding their experiences with the Exceptional Family Member Program. The blog comments are available in their entirety by clicking here. Read on to see more of the emails I received:
Perhaps our situation is an exception (irony, anyone?), although I have to wonder how many families in the EFMP think as much about their own situation given the erratic way EFMP policies and whatnot are applied from base to base and service to service.
When Heather Hebdon began her journey as a parent of a special needs child some 30 years ago, there was no road map for military families like hers.
“When my son was born, they didn’t have an Exceptional Family Member Program,” said Heather, whose son has Down Syndrome. “Every time we PCSed, we had to reinvent the wheel. I had to find the resources, I had to retell his story. I had to build credibility, learn terminology that was different at each place.”
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines use the Exceptional Family Member Program to identify military family members with special needs. Identification is required for families to access certain services and also so that special needs and available services can be taken into account for military assignments.
However, not everyone thinks EFMP is a great idea, I discovered when researching for a recent series on special needs military families.
Caring for a special needs child in a military lifestyle sometimes feels like a step back for every step forward, said Janelle Hill, mother of an 8-year-old daughter with special needs, and the author of “Special Needs Families in the Military: A Resource Guide.”
Janelle found that she spent the first half of any three-year assignment reconstructing her daughter’s educational and medical support system.
Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three living in Virginia. Her
column for military spouses, "Spouse Calls," appears here and in Stars and
Stripes print editions each week. Leave comments on the blog or write to her at