Friday, August 5, 2011

Our Van - A True Blessing from God

Ever since finding out Faith was going to be needing some sort of wheelchair for mobility, my husband and I knew that one day we would need an accessible van. Until that time, though, we knew we would have to make-do without one. After Faith outgrew her regular car seat and needed more support, we were able to acquire an adaptive car seat called the Special Tomato using funds from GABR.

Faith's first wheelchair was a pediatric wheelchair called a Kid Cart - which came apart and easily fit into the trunk of our car. But after outgrowing that, her chair became much bigger and much heavier as well. Thankfully, we were able to take the seating system off of the base and then put the seating system in the passenger seat of our car with the base in the trunk. All of this required lots of lifting.

Here's how that process went:

I knew after her chair was upgraded with a new back and seat, not to mention the fact that Faith just wouldn't stop getting taller, we were getting close to really needing something else.

Faith in her adaptive car seat - her legs and feet are kind of squished

Since Faith's Kid Cart days, we had prayed for an accessible van. But this winter, we prayed harder than ever for a van to transport Faith. It was all just getting to be too much lifting. I had looked online for accessible vans but became disheartened upon finding out the cost. A brand new van with a lift could easily cost $50,000. Used ones seemed to be around the $15,000-$30,000 range, depending on the age and number of miles and most of them were located out of state. We had found a few located in North Dakota but they were much older and bigger than we wanted.

Then one day at the beginning of the summer, Faith's disability case manager e-mailed us the specs for an accessible van for sale. It sounded perfect and it was located in north Bismarck, not far from where we live!

When we first went to see it, we were a little concerned because it seemed to have some door issues. Also, the automatic ramp wasn't completely reliable but there was a manual crank which was a good option. We thought about it for quite a while and prayed too - we wondered if this was the van God had for us.

The second time we went to see it, we got Faith inside of it and took it for a test drive. We were impressed and we learned there was a little trick to the door so that it worked better. We really felt this was it, this was our van! The owner even went down on the price for us. It had been his dad's van who was in a power chair. His dad passed away so they no longer needed it.

After going through NDAD to acquire a low-interest loan and getting all of the paper work taken care of, we finally purchased our van! And thanks to GABR, we will be able to pay off part of that loan in the immediate future. We truly believe this is a blessing to us from God - and provided to us in His perfect timing.

Faith loves the van - she says it is soooo big!

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