IT'S KIND OF LIKE A DAILY "SOPHIE'S CHOICE" by Gwendolyn Bartley

Happy to report that Mike and Kristy handled the wedding and after parties with great success. My parents accompanied me in taking Mike back to his group home yesterday and, unfortunately, they witnessed our reality there. The group home is run down and dingy which is the typical group home. We have been able to make Mike's bedroom nice as we have the freedom to decorate, clean, and make it his space. My parents also saw first-hand how quickly violence escalates among the young men living there. One beat the snot out of another on the floor as we entered the living room. For all those who say mentally ill people are not violent, come spend a day here. 

This is not where or how I want Mike to live but I have no other options in order to protect my other children at home. I struggle with this every day of my life and battle that I'm sacrificing his quality of life to protect Eric, Kristy and Shannon. It's kind of like a daily "Sophie's choice."

It is deplorable living for the children. The caregivers are mediocre at best. There are only a handful of these group homes available in the state and all are equally as terrible. Beds are limited and I'm fortunate to have this home only 30 minutes away. I pray daily for another option to become available for Mike. Meanwhile, I walk a tightrope advocating for his living conditions and care. I don't want him kicked out or treated poorly because his mom complains too much.

No one wants a group home in their community but people are shocked when they learn that I can't find another location for Mike. Please be open minded to allowing more group homes in your community. I will go my grave fighting for the improvement and quality of these facilities for children and adults who have already suffered enough.

 Mike

Mike