LIMA — Joan, a 26-year-old mother of four from Lima, has seen her children go through hell and back. Now, she is simply trying to pick up the pieces and put her family back together again.
Joan and her four children were constantly on the move between Ohio, Georgia and Kentucky and life was often chaotic, sometimes violent with her boyfriend, who was the father of the children. While in Kentucky, the violence took an extra step with allegations of death threats from the father toward Joan, she said. Soon after, she said she learned of abuse against the two oldest children, 6-year old Mallory and 4-year-old Lisa. Joan finally gathered enough courage to gather up her children and bring them back to Lima.
“The kids were very scared that he would kill Mommy,” Joan said.
Joan packed up the two oldest girls and her other two children, 3-year-old Jerry and 1-year-old Barbara, and moved back to Lima with her parents. However, after only three weeks, it was easy to see the situation wasn’t working out.
“There was an altercation between me and my parents, and we had to get out,” Joan said.
To make matters worse, Joan is pregnant with the couple’s fifth child. She was able to move in with a friend and her family temporarily, but she said she would like to find housing for her family as a first order of business. Joan was able to find a job for a while. However, she said she lost her job after having to miss some work due to complications with her pregnancy. She is currently getting food stamps and medical coverage for her children, but she would like to eventually get in a position where she can financially take care of her children herself.
“I had documentation from my doctor, but it wasn’t good enough,” Joan said.
Joan said it can be hectic with so many people living under the same roof. Her 4-year-old has seizures and is seeing a doctor, and the 6-year-old and 3-year-old have been diagnosed with ADHD. The oldest child also is bipolar and sees a psychiatrist. The father has since moved back to Lima, but is under court order to not have contact with Joan or the children, she said.
Joan said for Christmas she would like to see her children receive blessings from those who can help. The children need shoes, socks and undergarments. Clothes are needed in size 3-4T for the boy, 18-24 month size clothes for a girl, and 5-6 and 7-8 slim sized clothing for the two oldest girls. She also said appropriate toys, especially learning toys, would be helpful.
“We are just taking things day by day,” Joan said.
The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies, Bradfield Community Center, Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center and the Salvation Army. Money can be donated by sending it to The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima OH 45807, or by dropping it off at any Superior Federal Credit Union branch. Donations of new toys and nonperishable food items will be accepted at The Lima News office. These stories use assumed names to protect the participants’ privacy.