Marlena -Dup15q Family Story

June 12, 2020
 How Time Flies….


I remember writing my first article about Marlena and the problems we were encountering. Marlena is now 21 and in a residential group home on a school campus in Oconomowoc, Wisc.  She is smiling and developing her independence even during these uncertain and trying Covid-19 times.


Let’s take a step back in time and start with her first few months of placement.  Once the honeymoon phase was over, Marlena struggled to adjust to living away from home.  As Marlena was in the school residential, her visits took place in a visitation room.  Sometimes the visits were long, sometimes 5 minutes.  She could get aggressive as she missed family life. The supervisor would always tell me that is normal and to just give it time.  Marlena had a counselor who would work with her on understanding her emotions. Eventually she adjusted and visits became more pleasant.  The school is very strict about protecting everyone’s privacy, so I was hardly ever allowed on her unit.  A stranger on the unit would also disrupt the other kid’s routines.  That was a big adjustment for me.  Every now and then they would let me up to check Marlena’s belongings and clothes and swap out her belongings. I was allowed to go off campus with her and even take her home.


During the first year, she became a resident on all 3 girl units.  Her first unit was too high functioning, the second unit, too low functioning and the third unit, she functioned her best.  Last July, I was told they would not have a bed for Marlena in their group home and that the school building residential ages out at age 21.  They would need to send her home April 2020.  Magically, in October, a room opened up in the campus group home and she moved into the group home in December 2019.  She can stay there and attend