Supporting families on all levels
A year ago our dear Anna left a relationship with her two children and the departure was far from an easy one. I won’t go into detail because this is not my story to tell even though Anna is happy for me to share. However, my family and I welcomed her along with her beautiful children that I am now blessed to call my niece and nephew (family is more than blood) into our home while she sought out accommodation for her family. We together went to a number of services seeking out help and support for them and many long nights up worrying alongside Anna as we walked her journey hand in hand. Sadly, it was incredibly difficult – almost impossible!
Over time our full house of 6 children (2 on the autism spectrum and 1 with ADHD) and 3 adults in a 3 bedroom house became too difficult to continue. This was not because we as the adults could not get along well and manage life together (in fact, we got on very well and worked wonderfully together); instead, it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage children with such high needs without space to separate and of course, our children are our priority. So my husband’s parents who had basically adopted Anna and her children (their new grandchildren) invited them to move in with them. This was still less than ideal with just 1 spare bedroom which required Anna and her children to share a room (better than at our place or moving into a women’s shelter with her children which she was advised was her other option while we continued the search for accommodation for them). This is not a desirable situation for any family to be in and life became more difficult when Anna’s new adopted Mother (my Mother in Law) had a stroke which resulted in hospitalisation and life support.
Everyone at that time was incredibly worried about the well-being of our family member (my MIL, my husband’s Mum, and Annas’ new Mum) and this stress did not help Anna’s accommodation worries. While we knew that Anna would not be thrown out simply because of this emergency, we also knew that there was no set time frame on when Anna would be able to acquire accommodation. The time frame was between weeks to years, and we knew at this point based on the health updates on our family member many changes would need to occur in the house to accommodate a wheelchair and other health needs when she finally returned home. Anna, of course, did not want to be this burden and was fretful about finding accommodation where we lived at the time. Thankfully for Anna, she had a friend in a state 12 hours drive away who was able to provide both support and accommodation for her and the children. So we helped pack them all up and sent them on their way to the support and accommodation that was so desperately needed for Anna to make a wonderful new life for herself.
This journey as a whole took a few months and while it was a difficult one Anna was very lucky to have had a friend in another state place up their hand to offer the accommodation they desperately needed and a network to help them get to there so that she could start her life fresh. Unfortunately, it is not always that easy or quick for many to find accommodation and support, and not everyone has a network around them to help them get there. For some, the journey can lead to living life on the street, in cars, or shelters with there children for weeks-years as they seek out accommodation which for some can become more difficult to acquire with each passing day.
As Anna began building a new life for herself and her family (including supporting families as a Gold Coast Neuro-linguistic Kinesiologist) she met a very inspirational woman whose name is Willo Ford the founder of Share Abode. Share Abode is a service that helps get single parents off the streets, out of cars, out of shelters, and cease couch serving by setting them up with options to live with other single parents. The wonderful Wilhemina Ford will be writing a blog post for us this month to tell you more about this amazing support for single-parent families needing accommodation to start their lives fresh with their children.