Since 2006, Jim has been a big part of Jenny and Evan's lives, but he says it wasn't always easy. When he first came into the picture, Evan wasn't speaking, making eye contact or interacting with his environment. He was lost in his own world.
"I'm a guy who's used to getting people's attention when I want it, and I'm pretty good with kids, so it was a little bit difficult and hard not to take it personally, frankly, at times when I tried my best to play with him," Jim says. "He was focused on something else, and I could have been on fire in the room, and he wouldn't have noticed me."
Jim says spending time with Evan made him realize that autistic children are here to teach us all a lesson in love. "These kids [have] come to show us how to go somewhere deeper as far as loving. They show us that we have to take our expectation out of the equation and just be there because we want to be there for them," he says. "What I learned is to kind of sit back and try to connect. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, but just be there for them."
Over time, Evan's exuberant personality slowly resurfaced. These days, Jim says the two of them have a blast together. "It's like Star Wars impressions back and forth all day long," he says.