A Family Destroyed..A Family Rebuilt
Among Ezer Mizion’s many programs are its Awareness and Support Groups which empower those dealing with a range of difficulties with understanding of the disorder, practical means of coping and availability of assistance.
Last winter, Sara* and David* began attending a support group to learn how to deal with ADHD. Their six-year-old son had recently been diagnosed and they were anxious for tips.
Sara had sat quietly at the sessions, but the group leader could see from her body language that she was swallowing every word. When there was a break, David called the office every day(!) to ask when the sessions would resume. Something was obviously happening in their home.
At the first session after a summer hiatus, the leader opened the floor for participants to share experiences of vacation time with their children. That’s when Sara exploded with her experiences. “I came to the support group for my six-year old, and he is doing well. But I have a 20 year old son who was such a behavioral problem that we-we-we lost him. When he was fourteen, he began to act violently. We tried everything but it didn’t help. We had to make a choice that no parent should ever have to make. It was either us or him. We sent him away. He was no longer part of the family. It hurt. Oh, how it hurt. It was like cutting off a limb from my body. But we were at loss and there seemed to be no other way out. Since then, he has been living in an apartment and working in a bakery. I would occasionally speak to him on the telephone but my husband would not allow him to cross our threshold. “He has free choice like everyone else,” my husband would say. “Until he learns to make the right choices, he cannot live with us.”
In the course of these sessions, a window opened. Yes, he has free choice but his abilities are not like everyone else’s. Our older son showed almost every symptom of ADHD. He was never a “bad child” – he was miserable and suffering, and we had not had the tools to understand him. Oh, the guilt, the anguish at what could have been had we only known. But with it, the hope. Maybe things could still be repaired. Maybe. For six years that he had not eaten a meal with us or even stepped into our home. We decided to invite him home for the weekend. We would try. With what we had learned at these sessions, we would try to repair six years of damage. We prayed that our efforts would meet success. To our great joy, he agreed, and even asked to sleep at home. We could see clearly now that he desperately had wanted to be accepted by us but, like us, had not had the tools. In the morning, I stood there by the window gazing at his proud figure as he accompanied my husband down the walk after years of rejecting any activities together with the family. Now, only a month later, he joins us for dinner every day and is attending classes regularly. Soon, we will be celebrating a Bar-Mitzvah for another son. We cannot afford to buy new clothes for the whole family but I bought a new suit for my older son-a ‘welcome back’ gift. For six years we cried, and thanks to Ezer Mizion, today we are once again a family. Whole. Complete.”