LIMA — When Ashley’s sister, Amber, was sentenced to two years in jail after an abusive relationship reached its breaking point in November 2017, there was never a doubt what would happen to Amber’s two children while their mom did her time.
Ashley opened her arms and her home without hesitation.
“My mom raised me and my sisters to be really close. There was no question I was going to take my nephews into my home. I wasn’t going to let them go to Children Services,” Ashley recalled recently. “I love those kids like they’re my own.”
But with two more mouths to feed in addition to her own two boys, Ashley had found it difficult to make ends meet.
She said one of her nephews, now 7, shows signs of having autism, and the daily calls from his school due to this or that disturbance or incident of his acting out have made it impossible for Ashley to work her regular job as an in-home care-giver for a Lima company during the week. She has had to resort to taking weekend shifts or picking up extra hours whenever possible while her grandmother watches the kids.
It’s placed a financial strain on the family that has been exaggerated with the holidays approaching.
Ashley said her own two boys, ages 13 and 4, would appreciated “clothes or anything” this Christmas. The older boy wears size 33/32 pants and shirts in size large, and size 10 1/2 shoes. The 4-year-old is in size 6 pants and shirt and a size 12 boy’s shoe.
Amber’s boys, age 7 and 6, wear clothing in sizes 14 and 10, and shoes in 5Y and boy’s 1, respectively.
“They’re all really into costumes — ‘Batman,’ ‘The Avengers,’ that kind of thing,” Ashley laughed, “and they love to play video games like ‘Mario Crash’ and things like that. We have a PlayStation game system. And the boys all like riding bikes; they could use some new bikes.”
Ashley’s nephews are sleeping in the same bed, “and I could really use another bed,” she said.
Ashley’s sister was recently released from jail and is now at a halfway house in Lima to complete her sentence. As the court-appointed temporary guardian of her sister’s children, Ashley has arranged family meetings “a couple of times a week” to let the children get reacquainted with their mother.
“We’re just trying to get the kids transitioned into being with their mom,” said Ashley. “They’ve had their own routine here for the last two years.”
She said any assistance the public could provide would be greatly appreciated.
“It’s been a struggle with four boys and just me,” Ashley said. “It would mean a lot to see smiles on their faces this holiday season.”