Even as a teenager I loved to work. I got my first job when I was only fourteen working for the YMCA as a lifeguard, and later as a swim instructor. I especially loved working with the children, and knew I loved taking care of people. While in high school I took a nurse's assistant class, and became a nurses aid. When I was only twenty-one years old I became very ill, and lost my right leg. I had always been someone who enjoyed staying busy, and suddenly I was sick. It took time but soon I was able to walk again. It was very hard for me to keep a job. I would work for a couple of weeks or a month, and get sick and have to stay home for a week. My illness seemed to be holding me back. Back then money was tight because we lived only on my husband's income. Soon our family increased when we adopted two children. I longed to find a way to stay home with my children and still be able to work. I wanted the best of both worlds, and luckily stumbled onto a way to do both. I became an adult foster home. At first it was hard to get clients. I was young and didn't know who to talk to or how to find information. I tried many different kinds of adults and finally found my personal notch taking care of mentally challenged. I can look back over the last twelve years and feel good that I have been home to raise my children myself, and I like to think I have helped them to have good values and know people are good even if they have disabilities or other challenges. I have two men now, who live with me. One has been with us for 7 years. He has Down Syndrome and is a very sweet man who now seems like part of our family. The other man is mentally challenged, but still manages to have a job. He is picked up daily at the end of our driveway and taken to work. He also gets a small paycheck and has lots of friends there. He has lived with us almost three years. These men live in our home. I do their laundry, cook their meals, and take care of them the same way I care for my children. I take them to the doctor when they need it, and even give them their medicine. I am licensed in my city, and we even have Christmas parties, and training sessions. Many clients even have bonus monetary grants and respite funds given to you for their care.
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