Three year old Teresa was born with multiple physical disabilities requiring 24-hour monitoring. After several months in the hospital and three surgeries, she was able to go home with her parents.
To breathe, Teresa had to have a tracheostomy, which needed to be suctioned every ten to fifteen minutes around the clock. In addition, she had to have a gastrostomy tube placed in her stomach to be fed. Teresa also required daily medication to regulate her blood sugar. And as if that wasn't enough for such a small vulnerable body to handle, Teresa had sleep apnea. To overcome this danger, Teresa was monitored with medical equipment that would sound an alarm and startle her infant body so she would take another breath.
Adjusting to a newborn is overwhelming for any parent. Even with all of Teresa's specialized care, her parents were excited for her to be released from the hospital and come home. But they soon found out that caring for a child with special needs takes time, patience, and support from others.
The young parents soon became overwhelmed and stressed at the amount of energy and round-the-clock care Teresa needed.
For a combination of reasons, Teresa's parents could not meet all of her medical needs. At two years of age, Teresa was removed from her home by the Department of Social Services-Child Protection Services and placed in LSS's Specialized Foster Care Program.
After a lot of hard work and turning their lives around, Teresa's parents were able to bring her back into their home after a year and a half in Specialized Foster Care.
LSS director said, "Once a child is in specialized care, it is very unusual for the child to return home to the care of their parents. I knew they had it in them. It was just a matter of time, maturing, and realizing the importance of their daughter's specialized medical care."
Teresa's dad reflected, "Every little thing is important to Teresa's care. LSS encouraged us and helped open our eyes to caring for her."
Teresa receives occupational and physical therapy on a regular basis. She also attends school to develop her gross and fine motor skills. Although it is not mandated, her parents continue to stay in contact with LSS and Teresa's foster parents. They agree, "We are really happy to finally have Teresa with us again. We see ourselves together always."
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