Sam Moving Into Her Own House

I got the call just before Christmas. “There is a house available for Sam, if she wants it, but it is ready now” – I was shocked speechless.  We had been meeting with our Support Circle for about 5 years and talking and planning for Sam to live in her own house.......but we weren’t ready.

I hastily rang some women I know who have worked with other families going through this same process and asked them what I should do. One said, “Well, she can always come home if she doesn’t like it”.

So, Sam and I went to look at the house. It was perfect – it was everything we wanted for Sam. A 3 bedroom, brick house, in a quiet street, that overlooked a park. Sam went into the house very cautiously – and chose the main bedroom at the back of the house away from the road.  It didn’t look much at this stage – with concrete floors, no furniture and no curtains.  But we had a great time shopping for things and friends gave us things they did not need. We transformed it into a very pretty young woman’s house. Sam had to have a pink couch – she was not going to live there unless there was a pink couch. She chose lots of pink and fairies and butterflies.

We started out slowly with Sam staying at her house 2 nights a week with me and then back to our house for 2 nights. She was staying at her house full time in about a month. It was a much quicker transition than we had expected.

She really wanted a bath, like she had at home, and would not use the shower for quite a while and we investigated getting a free standing bath. But she surprised us again and started having a shower and liking it.

Sam’s four regular support workers all stayed with her during the transition.  She has support during the week for about 5 hours a day and I stay with Sam for the rest of the time. Ian and I take turns at staying overnight. A lovely woman, Jill, has been volunteering to stay with Sam one night a week.

Sam has had 3 housemates who have lived with her and “kept an eye on her” overnight for some nights - in return for low rent or no rent. We make up a rental agreement and discuss it with the person when they are applying to share Sam’s home.  The first was an Australian student teacher, then a Chinese woman studying Civil Engineering. Sam’s latest housemate is a lovely young woman from Kenya, who is here to study Dentistry.  Sam has enjoyed having these woman stay with her. We are learning about different foods and customs from these countries.

Ian and I have since sold our house at Chapel Hill and moved to Corinda, just across the park from Sam. We are about 3 minutes away now. It makes it much easier to stay overnight, and to keep an eye on everything that is going on. I still do quite a bit of support for Sam.

Sam loves her home - she is quite bossy about how she wants it decorated and what she wants everyone to do. She does not like to go to our house and will often sit in the car until she can go home again.  Sam has got a cat called Max and she loves having him around. He thinks he runs the house as well. He loves the housemates and support workers and tries to charm them into giving him more food. Needless to say he is a very plump cat.  She has had a couple of good parties here and enjoys inviting people over. She had a housewarming party and a birthday party.  Sam and her support worker have made some lovely art works with beads and some paintings and they are hanging on the walls of her home.

I don’t think Sam wants to come back and live with Mum and Dad. She is keen to move us to our town house and be supported by her staff and housemate. But she does like knowing we are very close and she likes to see us every day.

I think Sam would be broken hearted if she had to leave her home. 

Cathie Rogers

9.9.09