Back in May, one of KLINK’s staffers, Joanne, shared how KLINK has made a difference in her family’s lives. (That post can be found here.) This turned out to be one of our most popular posts, and by request, Joanne has provided us with an update.
Thank you to all who read my family’s story posted on this blog in May, 2015. As requested, I am here to give an update of where we are now.
I am still employed by KLINK Coffee in Sales. I enjoy my job very much and I am not looking forward to October when my contract is up. I will miss the people here and spreading the word about KLINK and the work we do. I have had so many positive reactions from people on my sales calls, people who get excited about what we do and their support buying coffee in this summer heat! When you get to go to work, knowing you make a difference in people’s lives? It feels good.
Our family has come a long, long way. On July 27th we got the news that my husband was able to come home!! We picked him up at the half-way house that night. I don’t know who was more excited, the kids, me or him! It has been great, having him home. Very quickly we realized that adjustments were going to take place and family roles were going to change. My eldest son, who just turned 18, had declared himself “The Man of the Family” while my husband was away. He told us the other day that he was happy he stepped up into the role, but realized how much responsibility he felt and that he was relieved to hand the title back to Dad. Our youngest is quickly getting used to having two parents around and is learning that when one says “no”, you can’t ask the other to get the “yes” that he wants. Our daughter is having the easiest time so far; however, she is getting used to having a protective Dad who is getting used to having a teenage daughter. When Dad went away, the children were 5 ½, 10 and 13, they are now almost 12 (yes, 11 but he says “almost 12” and I respect his wishes), 16 and 18, very different ages and stages of development. As much as they are getting used to having Dad back, he is getting used to teenagers!
We discovered immediately that life would change is some significant ways. When one person living under a roof has Parole conditions, those conditions affect every member of the household. Whether that is no alcohol, drug abstinence, conditions regarding contact with certain people or travel restrictions, it has a profound influence on every family member. Telling our children that the police can knock at the door at any time to check and see what my husband is doing and whether he is following his conditions was an interesting conversation. We were asked lots of questions, “Should we let them in?”, “Do they have a right to just come in?” and declarations about how they felt about the situation, and we did not know the answers. We did have a meeting with the Parole Officer as a family (also a huge change, we had never met a PO as a family before) and she answered our questions (if you are curious, the answers are, Yes we should let them in and No, they don’t have a right to enter without a warrant but it’s a good idea to cooperate). Like I said, it’s an adjustment.
When we got the news he could come home, the first person I called was our former Family Visit supervisor here at John Howard’s (formerly St. Leonards’). He had been with us every baby step of the way and knew how hard we have all worked to get our family back together. He had shared our frustrations, had counselled us, and had helped us so much, it only felt right that he should be the first to get to share our happiness.
I know we could not have got to where we are without the help of KLINK and St. Leonard’s (John Howard’s). Every success we have, every tiny step we take to get us to where we need to be, every huge step too, is because we got the help we did. Without that support, we would not be where we are. You cannot build a strong house on a shaky foundation and our foundation is solid, thanks to KLINK, the help we received from St. Leonard’s and John Howard Societies, and a whole lot of hard work, patience and love.