I am a Polynesian woman, wife, mother & grandmother(Tutu) who is now a transplant of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I stopped working at my job of 15 years in 2012 to be a caregiver to my 9 year old grandson, Xavier whom my husband and I adopted in 2009. I have a positive attitude most of the time
Besides “caregiver,” what other identities do you have? (ex. Parent, gardener, manager, dog-lover)
Gardener, dog-lover, cat-lover.
Who had the biggest impact on shaping who you are today?
What’s a personality trait you have that you really value?
I love to laugh.
What’s your mantra?
Just for today, I am happy.
Who are you caring for? What is your caregiving story?
My 9 year old son, Xavier. Xavier was born in 2005, my 17 year old daughter did not tell me she as pregnant until she was 5 months along. She would come home drunk repeatedly. After extensive visits toKennedy Kreiger Institute, and other health care providers, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, therapists, etc. Xavier is currently diagnosed with: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, ADHD Hyper activity combined type & Sensory issues. He started taking medications to regulate his behavior, however his body has a difficult time tolerating the meds therefore causing Xavier to be expelled from School in the first and second grades. Kicked off the bus. The public school system is not equipped to handle Xavier. They would call me everyday while I was at work from 2008 to 2012. I would meet with them, with negative results. I had parent advocates, attorneys and other agencies helping me to no avail. Xavier was placed in a behavior management school with less children, however he would be placed in a locked time out room which caused his behavior to escalate. Started monitoring refined sugar in his diet, as well as dyes and going organic when possible. 2012 Xavier was placed on Home and Hospital by the Judge at mediation. The tutors are required to come to your house and teach child for 2 hours a day however, they would arrive at 3pm when Xavier would be tired so that didn’t work. Bottom line, they wanted Xavier in residential treatment at 6 years old. His Psychiatrist and Therapist both STRONGLY DISAGREED WITH THIS DECISION. So I quit my job and started homeschooling Xavier and took him to therapy 2x a week. 2013 enrolled Xavier in behavior therapy that he attended every 2 weeks which was a 3 hour drive to Baltimore. Changed his meds. Sept 2013, pursuant to Kennedy Kriegers Request, placed him back in Public School….same outcome. by Oct 31, 2013 I was back to homeschooling again. Discontinued our care at Kennedy Krieger and could not find any Psychiatrist to administer medication on the Eastern Shore so I wouldn’t have to travel so far. He was on a waiting list from Oct 2013..so by May of 2014…he had no meds.and he became so aggressive that we had to get him to a residential treatment center in Newark, DE to get him settled on meds..So he stayed there for 6 days for get meds in him…then I finally got a psychiatrist and therapist close
What was your greatest caregiving lesson?
I need to take care of myself.
What do you wish you were told before you became a caregiver?
What advice would you give to other caregivers?
Take care of yourself.
What’s your best piece of advice for life in general?
What’s been the hardest part of caregiving for you?
What’s the most rewarding part of caregiving?
I learned to slow down and recognize what is really important in life.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Tell myself: Just for today I am happy.
What’s the last thing you do at night?
Listen to meditation music to charge my battery.
What keeps you up at night?
Undone Housework and bills.
What motivates you?
What’s the best tool or strategy you’ve found to help you with caregiving?
Forgive myself if I don’t get everything done.
In ten words or less, what has caregiving taught you?
Life is short, live, love, laugh!
What’s your best habit?
What do you do when you have 15 minutes of free time?
Sing or meditate.
What do you think makes a life well lived?
Spending time with family.
What question do you hope an interviewer would ask?
I dont like interviews.