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Crystal Finds Stability at Mercy Home
Many of us are struggling with feelings of confinement as we shelter to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Staying home takes us away from our familiar routines.
Yet for some children, staying in one home has never been part of their routine. The instability of fluid living situations and changing caregivers at a young age can lead to emotional trauma.
When I found out how many times Crystal had moved by the age of just 12, it broke my heart. I could only imagine how difficult it must have been for a young child to adapt to so many new environments. By the time she came to our door, it was clear that this instability had an impact. She was painfully shy and had a hard time building relationships with anyone.
Crystal’s parents were still in high school when she was born. By the time she was three, her father was out of the picture, so her mother took care of her. But Crystal’s mother was very young, and her priorities were sometimes mixed up. She often dropped Crystal off at her grandmother’s home and didn’t return for days, or even weeks.
By the time she came to our door, it was clear that this instability had an impact. She was painfully shy and had a hard time building relationships with anyone.
Crystal’s grandmother realized that her mother could not care for her, so eventually, Crystal stayed there all the time. But by the time Crystal was six, her grandmother’s health began to decline. Wanting the best for her Crystal, she sent her to live with an aunt across town.
Crystal’s aunt wanted to help, but as a single parent with three children of her own, she was already struggling to make ends meet. Crystal lived there for two years, but things were just not working. This time, she went to live with another aunt in a different part of town.
In her new environment, Crystal found stability. She had her own bedroom and her aunt had a steady job and was able to take good care of her. But as time went on, Crystal’s aunt grew concerned about her emotional wellbeing. She was very quiet and never seemed to open up to anybody. Her teachers had the same concerns at school and noticed that Crystal had a hard time making friends.
Crystal’s aunt arranged for her to see a therapist, yet she continued to struggle with building relationships. In exploring different options for Crystal, her aunt came across the website for Mercy Home. She was impressed with the therapeutic services, and the fact that Crystal would be living with lots of other girls. Yet she was hesitant. Crystal had already moved so many times in her short life, and she worried that moving yet again would compound the problems she was already having.
But after meeting with our admissions clinicians, Crystal’s aunt felt Mercy Home was the environment that her niece needed to grow.
When Crystal first arrived, her self-esteem was very low, and she completely avoided socializing. When she walked throughout the Home, her head always hung low and she never made eye contact with anyone. And though she finished the remainder of the academic year at her same school, the following autumn, she started classes at a new school.
That’s when things started to change for Crystal. Some of the girls at the Home already attended her new school and they helped introduce Crystal around. They were involved in extracurricular activities and encouraged Crystal to get involved, as well. When she joined the student council, Crystal discovered she had a real passion for event planning. She loves helping to organize the school dances and fundraisers.
Now, Crystal is much more social than she was when she arrived. Through family therapy, she has improved her relationship with her aunt and feels much more comfortable when she visits on the weekends.
At Mercy Home, she has found the sense of stability and support that was missing from her life. And though she is still unsure what she wants to do after she graduates high school, she has the confidence to accomplish anything she sets her mind to.