Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Speaking of Group Homes
Almost every weekend, during outings with my family, I am asked if I run a group home. I guess it's understandable. My kids are almost all adults now - ages 21, 21,19, 17 and 16 - and other than Chip, my birth child, none of them look like me. In fact, none of them look like each other. Corey is Native American, Jessica is Latino, Ronnie is African American, and Ashley is of Italian heritage. Chip and I sport a blond, German look.
The first time I heard it, it bothered me, though I couldn't say why. Then I started thinking that if folks thought treating young soon-to-be adults with respect, love and caring was what group homes did, I shouldn't disavow them of that notion.
Of course, my years of experience with group homes is anything but what I just described. See Monday's post. But I want people to expect and believe that group homes can provide a positive, loving environment for people with disabilities. I want neighbors not to worry when a group home is planned for their neighborhood. I want families to feel peace when their loved one makes the decision to move into a group home. And most importantly, I want people with disabilities to be happy living in a group home, ensured of their safety, in a warm caring environment that is bright and sunny and clean. And I intend to make that happen.
I'm only a few years away from retirement from my career government job. When I do retire, I plan to transform my current, handicapped accessible home into a group home and prove that it can be done the way I described. I don't think it will be easy, but I think it will be worth the effort.
What do you think?