When Mindi turned 21 she no longer qualified to go to school. We had worked on a job program for her when she was in school but since Mindi had no self help skills it didn't really work out to well. She always had to have an aid with her and they were not easy to come by.After school is over for the disabled the system kind of falls apart for them and there is nothing for them to do. I had worked for food services for the school district for 5 years but had to stop after Mindi was out of school because it cost me 60 dollars to have someone come and take care of Mindi while I went to work to make 40 dollars. That was when Mindi and I came up with the idea of taking in a handicapped little girl. Here is a picture of Mindi and Brett in the front yard.
So, I started checking into it and it didn't look like it was going to work out. In order to get a foster care license the house had to be up to code, our well would have to pass, I would have to take classes and the pay was very little. Meanwhile, while I am trying to figure out if this will work,(to take in a foster child) I have a caregiver that comes in to help me that works for Brett's Mom whom is looking for another place for Brett. The caregiver, Davida, gets Brett's Mom and I together.
The beauty of the thing is Brett's Mom (Her name is Mary. I'll start calling her that) is private pay. That would mean I wouldn't have to get a license and the pay was good. Mary and I talked on the phone and it sounded like it was going to work right away.I had everything that was needed for the care of Brett We scheduled a meeting and I called the school right away because I wanted to set it up before school ended that year so it would be ready for when it started in September. We met and I knew it was going to work. I moved Mindi into the big bedroom so they could share a room. Here is a picture of them when we took a trip to the ocean one time.
That was July 1st, 1995. Brett was 13 years old at the time and Mindi loved having her for a sister. They both had feeding tubes and wore diapers. Mary purchased her supplies from the same place so once a month they call and I order supplies. We purchased a metal shed to put everything in. After all, when you go through 300 cans of formula, 60 feeding pump bags, extension tubes, syringes, underpads, diaper liners and I don't know how many diapers, you have to put them somewhere!
Three years went by. In fact, it was three years to the day. On the morning of July 1st, 1998 I put Brett on the school bus to go to summer school. I had been up late the night before because that is when Mindi went into the hospital. I went back to bed to get a little more sleep. Mary was going to pick Brett up after school and I was going to go to the hospital to see Mindi. That was when they called and told me Mindi had stopped breathing and she was on a machine now. I called Mary and told her she better pack a lot of stuff because I didn't know what was going to be happening. The first month I didn't think to much what I was going to do.Then the second month I knew I was going to have to decide what I was going to do. The main reason being is if she was going to come back here it was best if she did when school started. Otherwise Mary would have to get her enrolled in another school. I needed the money. Other people said I should go out and get a job.Why? Where else could I work, get paid what I get paid, do what I know how to do, am good at and enjoy? My social worker really didn't think it was such a good idea to take her back so soon. She tried to stall me. Mary and I figured either it would be good for me or bad for me. Two months after Mindi died Brett came back to live with me.Brett seemed surprised at first when Mindi's bed was gone but I don't think she even remembers her now.
So, that is how I found my foster daughter.
Also, through a former speech therapist of Mindi's, I have met a woman, Dana, at an institution, who has Cerebral Palsy. She needed someone to be her Personal Guardian. On March 2nd, 1999 I went to court and became her legal Personal Guardian. It just means that I watch out for her and they contact me if she is sick and I go to a meeting about her once a year. Hubby and I go to partys at her Hall and I take her out shopping and to eat. I met with her folks before I did this and told them all I wanted to do was to be her friend and theirs. I try to go and visit her once a month and take her out.Here is a picture of Dana and me