Caring for Kiara

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Raising a child with a mental health illness can be challenging but also very rewarding. Thanks to your support of Highfields, we can give families the tools to provide the best possible care for their children.

   Paula and her husband Brian have provided foster care in their home for many years. They adopted five children and have two biological children of their own. All of their children receive love and affection, but their daughter Kiara, age 9, needs extra care.

   Kiara is 9 years old and suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome. Her birth mother has a severe chromosome disorder, and is unable to take care of her. Paula and Brian have legal guardianship over Kiara. They go above and beyond to make sure Kiara has the support that she needs.

   Kiara also has a genetic chromosome disorder and is diagnosed with ADHD.  She is hyperactive and doesn’t stay focused on activities. Because of this, she has many challenges to overcome.

   “Kiara is unpredictable,” said Paula. “We were referred to Highfields by LifeWays to be in the home-based program to learn how to help her the best way that we can.”

   Highfields’ home-based therapy program is designed for family members coping with a mental health disorder. The goal of the program is to help the individual successfully interact within his or her community and to prevent the need for hospitalization.

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   Kiara and her guardians work with their Highfields’ counselor, Rachel, to learn how to cope with Kiara’s illnesses. Kiara is able to open up to Rachel during their time together.

   “The conversations that Kiara and Rachel have during therapy are very beneficial,” said Paula.

   Kiara and Rachel also play games together and find new activities to do at home or in the Hillsdale community. Paula believes that her family has grown closer since they started working with Highfields.

   “Therapy has helped our family in many ways,” said Paula. “Rachel is very intuitive. She knows what’s going on and brings up the tough issues so that we can work on them and keep moving forward.”

   Paula would recommend Highfields’ home-based therapy program to other families who are dealing with similar issues. She believes Kiara is making great progress with therapy.

   One extraordinary moment for Kiara during the past year was attending the father-daughter dance with Brian. It was a special time for the family, and Paula looks forward to seeing all the experiences that Kiara will have in her life.

   “I would like to see Kiara continue to make progress and live a happy and full life,” said Paula.

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