My parents were not in the best shape to parent me and to care for a child. I was frequently hospitalized because I had seizures and my parents were nowhere to be found. My Grandma saw that my parents were not able to care for me and knew she had to be the one to step up. I was placed with her at 2 months of age. She had to fight to get me with court hearing after court hearing, lawyer after lawyer and multiple DCFS visits, but after all that, she was finally able to adopt me.

It was a blessing when my Grandmother adopted me because she had just retired and in the middle of living her best life. She had bought a motor home and went camping all over the United States. At 63 years of age, she was not prepared for a newborn, but took me in anyway. She rearranged her entire life to accommodate me as the new addition to her home. So my Grandma used her retirement to raise another child. At first we lived in her motor home in the back yard and then moved into the house.

I’ve always had anxiety about life. While my parents would check in on me, I knew I couldn’t count on them to be my emotional support. My ADHD affected me throughout school. I had a hard time sitting still, not talking out of turn and didn’t follow directions. In junior high school, I tended to turn to teenage girl drama. Then in 9th grade, Grandma had enough. She felt that I had way more potential than I was showing. My grades were slipping, the drama was increasing and I wasn’t able to function well in a school with so many kids. Grandma got an educational attorney to help find me a better place to thrive. I started The Help Group’s Westview in the 10th grade.

I was only there for a year and a half when Covid shut everything down. During the pandemic, I was faced the many challenges with distance learning and issues at home. There were three of us at home and everyone was trying to cope with all the pandemic was dishing out. Can you imagine having ADHD and been stuck in a house? It was extremely hard to do work on the computer for hours at a time, staying inside the house for multiple days, which turned into weeks and then into months. This affected my mental health as well as well as my family’s.

Westview continued providing me with school counseling every week, but I needed more and got another therapist who I was able to zoom with. During the pandemic, I was able to get the help I needed with my Westview counselors who helped me with mindfulness and talk through the anxiety I was feeling.

I am glad to be back in the classroom. Since I have been at Westview, I am able to take advantage of learning in a small classroom. Because I struggle with ADHD and anxiety, Westview makes it easier for me to learn because they understand how to help me manage my concerns and challenges. I want to acknowledge Michelle, Estie, Marc, Mitchell and Elin who helped me and who made Westview a great place to learn. After I graduate in June, I plan to go to Southwest Community College for my undergraduate work and to figure out next steps.

Westview school and the Westview staff sooooooo much! You have changed the course of our daughter’s life and our family’s. My husband was able to return to work after over 6 years of being home so that he could be here when the kids were having issues at school. My son has been settled for a couple years now, but when he was settled in his new placement, the troubles with our daughter started to show. But now that she is settled, we are all getting back on track. Life changing for us to go back to a two-income family! So, thank you, thank you, thank you for accepting her into your program!