In November 2010, Kelly’s dream was realized when she welcomed three-year-old, Brianna, into her home.
Kelly had no idea that a short stay would develop into so much more. Due to unfortunate circumstances, Brianna was unable to return to her biological parents, giving Kelly the opportunity to make Brianna a permanent part of her family.
Just over one year after becoming a foster parent, adoption proceedings were finalized, and Brianna officially became Kelly’s daughter.
Because Brianna had been diagnosed with both Reactive Detachment Disorder (RAD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Kelly knew that life with Brianna would be both rewarding and challenging.
According to mayoclinic.org, Reactive Detachment Disorder (RAD) is a rare but serious condition in which an infant or young child doesn't establish healthy attachments with parents or caregivers. Reactive attachment disorder may develop if the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met and loving, caring, stable attachments with others are not established. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event(s)—either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
As a single, full-time mom, Kelly has had many challenges balancing work, self-care, and parenting a child with disabilities. Finding experienced, qualified individuals to provide childcare for Brianna when Kelly has to leave the house has also been extremely challenging.
“I can’t hire just anyone to watch Brianna. I have to pay at least $10 an hour for childcare. I have to have someone that understands the behaviors of a child that has been affected by trauma.”
The respite funding Kelly receives from Independent Disability Services’ Respite Program helps cover some costs, but with her annual allocation dropping $200 due to funding cuts, Kelly has struggled to find time for herself and pay for Brianna to socialize through special camps and programs.
For Kelly, getting respite, a break from the challenges of caring for Brianna, has been a blessing.
“There are many times that I have not taken care of myself because I couldn’t afford to. There have been times when I wasn’t even able to attend church, and Brianna couldn’t attend school.”
“The respite funding from IDS has been wonderful! Of course, it would be great if the amount was higher, especially since we will waiting up to two years for long-term support through the County. But of course, I’m thankful for every dollar that I can use to help Brianna and myself.”
IDS currently serves 43 children that are waiting for County resources. On average, each family will receive $500 from IDS in 2016. At $10 per hour for childcare that gives parents roughly 1 hour of respite per week.
Is that enough?