We asked our families: “How are you doing?” Here are a some of their stories about challenges and resilience during the national emergency wrought by coronavirus/COVID-19.
Mary Harvey, with school aged kids, took in a child who needed replacement during this time. Jolika Welbourne is waiting patiently to finalize an adoption as courts remain closed. Julie McKelvey is helping a 4-year-old understand why everything has changed.
One family added a new member during the state’s “Stay-Home, Stay-Safe” order issued March 13 by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Mary Harvey took in a child who needed re-placement, the 2-year-old brother of a 3-year-old child already in her care as a foster mother. She also is mom to several other school-aged kids in the home. So far, everyone has stayed inside the house and yard.
“We are doing OK,” Ms. Harvey said. “We go play outside nearly every day unless weather is bad. The kids understand the virus. I wear a mask when I go out.”
The school lent them Chromebook computer tablets. Teachers work with kids online 30-45 minutes every day. The school provides lunches each day. The kids also enjoy reading books for fun.
The national emergency has prevented one of the boys from seeing his biological mother during a visit. However, they do talk by telephone and computer.
“We miss going to the park and outings like skating, and the kids miss their friends and group activities,” Ms. Harvey said. “But while we are isolated, we are playing and enjoying each other.”
Ms. Harvey looks forward to participating in online SFC parent meetings. She said the family is grateful to Spaulding for Children for the hand-made masks which were delivered to them. She also appreciates the help Spaulding provided to arrange for a bed to be delivered to the home when the stores were closed.
One Michigan educator had her hands full as a Kindergarten teacher during normal times.
Today, Jolika Welborne still has her hands full conducting school from home, a house today filled with her own young children.
Yet, somehow, the clock seems to move slowly: Ms. Welbourne is waiting to finalize an adoption.
Presently Ms. Welborne has “adoption supervisor rights” for the 2 and 3 year-old children. (This means that the court is allowing the family to act as parent to the child, but she does not have the “right” until the adoption is finalized.) The paperwork was turned in for processing late in February of this year. Now, it’s likely sitting on a desk somewhere.
“The waiting is not too bad, because the children are young,” Ms. Welborne said. “They don’t know it was supposed to have come through already. We had a celebration trip to Disney planned, which we don’t know if and when that can be rescheduled. Luckily, that was a surprise too.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, they are all at home. The children receive lunches from school, which helps because their days also are filled with more cooking than ever with everyone home.
As a Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Welborne makes certain the children have full days, too. They all enjoy activities planned for each day, from drawing to books.
Ms. Welborne previously adopted the children’s sister. The family looks forward to a very special day.
“I imagine if you are older and awaiting the ‘paperwork,’ as my other child calls the finalized adoption, then it could be stressful,” Ms. Welborne said. “They live for that day.”
What will change, once the adoption comes through, depends, Ms. Welborne said.
“I can change their names at preschool,” Ms. Welborne said. “It’s confusing to them when they call out a last name different from mine. Also, with finalization comes peace of mind and security. It’s good to know that it will be official, and we will be a forever family.”
Julie McKelvey is trying to help a 4-year-old understand why everything has changed.
“We know the rules and the reason for the Stay at Home orders,” Ms. McKelvey said. “But, kids don’t understand why school stopped; why friends can’t come over; why the parks are closed; why they can’t go out with their parents.”
And If you are 4 years old, this frustration is going to come out somehow, Ms. McKelvey shared. Adding she had noted her daughter’s behavior has been more challenging since the Stay at Home order.
“Because of her asthma, I don’t take her anywhere,” Ms. McKelvey said. “These youngsters have been through so much before they came into our homes. We had a weekly therapy session for her before this and she continues it now online. Some days she’s just had enough, and her behavior shows it. She can scream it out and even potty-training skills suffer.”
The days have been quite different for all in the family’s home, compared to the way life was in March. Ms. McKelvey’s husband, who normally works nights, is now at home too. “He’s frustrated and waiting to get called back to work in the coming weeks,” Ms. McKelvey said.
Even though it’s temporary, the family has had to access services to help them – which means lots of forms, filings, and waiting on the phone.
“We are hoping for our August vacation and then getting our daughter back in school,” Ms. McKelvey said. “I tell my husband, ‘This will come to an end and we will get through it.’”