It was discovered that three children of an extended family member were in desperate need of care. These beautiful children have been witnessed and suffered extreme violence and abuse, they've been starved and dragged around from place to place including being homeless at times. They were regularly left for up to weeks on end with complete strangers... We can't begin to imagine what these kids have been through over the years.
Melissa and Marty couldn’t stand to watch the kids go into the foster system, so they opened their hearts and began a very difficult custody battle for the children.
They spent over $20,000 in legal fees to fight for the kids and found themselves the legal guardians of Jasper (11 y/o), Ella (5 y/o) and eventually (though DCP) Jackson (2 y/o). They used their savings and they receive no financial support for the kids.
People often say they are amazed at what Melissa and Marty are doing.
The truth is, it wasn't an easy or instant decision. Over the last few years there have been many ups and downs and Melissa has been the rock for her family throughout this. She was emotionally drained and really looking forward to a few quieter years after all her kids moved out of home. When she discovered the situation, she spent weeks awake every night, in tears about the decision she was faced with. Ultimatley, she realised it would cause her even more pain to let the kids fall into governement care or the foster system.
But, their home is not equipped to house three new young children, and this is where they need our help. This is our chance to give and give back. Melissa and Marty do not receive any financial assistance through the government for the kids and right now they need a few simple changes to the house
· The house needs a security gate, fencing and some grass/ play area out the front for the little ones to play outside. There are a number of undesirable people in the area and they frequently walk up to the house or approach the family on the driveway. The kids are full of energy and need somewhere they can play without fearing for their safety. The security gate alone was quoted at $7,000
· The house needs a security system. The house has been burgaled once with the family sleeping inside. They woke up to find the intruders in their room.
· The house needs a bathtub in the bathroom because Jackson is getting too big to sit in the sink! It seems trivial, but they are trying to give the kids the fun childhood and memories they have missed out on so far.
· They need a pool fence. With only teenager and adult children in the house previously this wasn't an issue. Although the doors have been bolted to prevent the kids going out the back without supervision, this is now a constant stress to Melissa and Marty.
· They need extra tutoring for the kids, because Jasper and Ella have missed so much school they are extremely behind in their learning. They try very hard and want to learn, Jasper even got his first merit award recently!
· The kids need ongoing counselling. They are all settling in well, but their suffering has and will continue to effect them. This needs to be addressed, now.
Melissa and Marty have selflessly given up their home. They've made a huge emotional and financial sacrifice, for a completely unexpected lifestyle of parenting babies again...which will continue well into their 70's. They work so hard to provide a secure and happy home for these children. On top of that, Melissa and Marty have fought to keep all three siblings together and to raise them with family, rather than having them split up and potentially fostered out separately or living in government care.
They have the kindest hearts and are a real inspiration, but this time they have had to be brave enough to ask for help. The kids call them mummy and daddy and they wouldn’t change it for the world.....But at the moment they are feeling the pressure and stress of such a lifelong commitment that their house was not fully prepared for.
If everyone can pull together to make a contibution, it will enable Melissa and Marty to make these simple changes to the house which they could not do alone. So if you are able to, please dig deep and click on the link below to donate. Every dollar counts! Also, please share this with everyone you know.
Our family thanks you.
- Alexis Bennett
- Jodi Fotios
- Rebecca Peers
- Amy Hilliard
- Nick Marino
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