Lisa’s family motto is: “We don’t know easy.” Originally from California, Lisa married Chris, and they are proud parents of two children, ages 3 and 5.
When Chris’s military unit closed, the family had to relocate. Chris reenlisted with the reserves and they moved to Colorado. They couldn’t sell their house since the population of the base shrunk so significantly and ended up buying a second home in Colorado, leaving them with two mortgages. Despite her comfort with change, Lisa didn’t expect that, once in Colorado, they would need Family Tree.
In December, Lisa got a call from Child Protective Services granting them custody of Lisa’s 10-year old niece and 11- and 13-year old nephews. Lisa flew to California the next day to bring the kids to Colorado.
Lisa and Chris received enormous support from their family and friends but underestimated the costs of their expanded family. Lisa was taking time off work for court visits to complete paperwork when she heard about the Family Tree Kinship Program and was connected to resources to make the family’s transition smooth and successful.
Family Tree helped Lisa and Chris obtain furniture and other home needs, cover additional school costs, and supplement their food. Lisa describes the shock at the amount the pre-teens ate; “They were always hungry. They would eat seven corndogs at a time!”
The children moved from warm California to cold Colorado in January and Family Tree helped with all their warm-clothing needs. Their grocery bills doubled, as well as utilities, water bills, doctor’s bills and birthday costs. Family Tree continued to support and connect them to resources as needed.
Although Lisa courageously accepted support now, she was once the one giving it. Lisa’s sister, Grace raised these three children as a single mom. Years ago, Grace struggled caring for the three young children and Lisa quickly moved in to help.
When the children were older, Grace continued to struggle with a myriad of challenges and sadly passed away. Although Lisa immediately tried to adopt her niece and nephews, there was a legal battle over custody, which prevented the adoption. Despite this, they knew it would be a matter of time before the kids needed a new home. That time came last December and Lisa did not hesitate, reflecting; “The kids don’t get a choice if this is a good time for this transition or not.”
Lisa and Chris embraced growing their family and honored their “We don’t know easy,” motto.
Family Tree was there for Lisa and Chris when no other program could support them, just as Lisa and Chris were there for their family when no one else could support these children.