This scenario, daunting as it is, does not end there.
Mary and her four children were in danger in 2004. The father of Forest, Autumn, Sierra, and Leif was abusing drugs and alcohol and was becoming increasingly violent. Mary separated from him, and obtained a restraining order.
Unfortunately, two years after the collapse of the relationship, he broke into her house and brutally beat her. All four children witnessed the event. Four days later their father’s body was found in a tree stand. He had committed suicide.
It’s hard to believe that this account is being presented as an IDS Respite @ Risk success story, but sometimes, success is merely averting disaster, preventing further tragedy, and saving someone’s sanity.
The aftermath on the children has been staggering. All four kids suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ADHD, Anxiety, Impulse Control, and Chronic Depression. They all display various levels of aggressive/violent behavior and experience a variety of learning difficulties.
Mary was able to receive intensive in-home psychotherapy for emotionally disturbed children through Shorehaven Behavioral Health and began receiving respite funding from IDS in 2009 to help ease the incredible burden of sustaining a healthy family environment.
Today, the kids, now ages 10-16, continue to struggle with their emotional trauma making school an enormous challenge. Forest and Leif are both unable to attend school due to extreme anxiety and attention deficit. They are receiving their education through a tutor provided through the Janesville School District. Autumn, also suffering from extreme anxiety and dyslexia, has missed a great deal of school—missing an entire year at one point. Sierra has also been plagued by problems in school due to her serious anxiety and depression. All the kids struggle to learn at the same pace as other students their age.
When I interviewed Mary for this story, I could see the stress written on her face. I asked her to describe the current family situation and home life. She replied, “Not very good.”
The family lost their favorite in-home therapist, and it’s been a constant struggle to get Individual Educational Programs for the girls in their schools.
The help from IDS’ Respite program has really helped us,” Mary stated. “I have been able to hire respite support to separate the kids when emergency situations arise.”
The assistance from IDS has also given Mary some time for herself. She was ecstatic about a weekend conference she recently attended.
“I really don’t know what I would have done without help from IDS,” revealed Mary. “It’s helped keep the kids in our home and given me some time to get away. I can honestly say IDS has saved our family.”
So, in the end, you may wonder if this is a story of success. Though we would like to measure success by date nights, shopping trips, and weekend get-aways,
I don’t think anyone can debate that there is no greater success than “saving a family.”