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Here is the Story of Marie’s Garden

A love story has led me to Marie’s Garden and a Go Fund Me Campaign. I need your help so I can make Marie’s Garden a reality. It is said, if you can see it, you can achieve it. I not only see it, I dream about it, I have a business plan for it and I will devote my life to it.

I have a personal stake in Marie’s Garden because I am the Mother of a 13 year of daughter with Asperger’s, ADHD and OCD and a nearly 5 year old Autistic girl who also has several sensory issues. This is my story.

I was a single Mother of a 7 year old daughter. I met and fell in love with a charming man from Australia. In 2009, we were married and shortly thereafter, we discovered that we were pregnant. We continued to live in the US and were a happy family.

We endured the immigration process and my husband became a permanent resident able to be by my side during the delivery of our beautiful baby girl. My new husband adopted my daughter from my previous marriage and we were a real family, legally as well as emotionally.

I had not met my in-laws so in 2011 we planned a 5 week visit to Australia. It was a magical time and I got to meet my husband’s entire family. I was touched by the warmth and love in Australia but most especially by the love shown to me by my new mother and father-in-law. They were instantly in love with their new granddaughters and all was right with the world

We were home only 3 weeks when we got a call from Australia that my mother-in-law was sick. She had been losing a lot of weight and went to the doctor when she began having stomach pain. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and given only 3 weeks to live. Our perfect world began crashing down around us. My husband got back on a plane with our baby for this emergency visit and to help care for his mother. He brought the baby who was only 16 months old so she could spend time with her granddaughter, her 1st natural grandchild.

My mother-in-law was put on an aggressive treatment plan as they thought this would buy her a few more months and it did. We had to finalize the adoption in America so after a 2 month stay, my husband and daughter flew back to America. We decided to move to Australia to spend the remaining time on this earth with her.

Knowing how much my mother-in-law meant to my husband, I put my house on the market and started packing. While we were in transit my sweet mother-in-law passed away. We arrived in time to help finalize funeral arrangements.

Relocation was very hard on my first born as she was 10 years old now and had left behind her American grandparents who adored her and helped with her upbringing since birth. Ashlee had always been hyper active and she was diagnosed with ADHD and OCD early on so this move was especially hard on her.
With the passing of Chad’s (my husband’s) mother, we were now the main caregivers to Chad’s ailing grandmother and the family pets. Everyone including the dogs were grieving and it was a very sad time.

In 2012, I became very ill and went to the doctor. It was discovered that I was pregnant with twins. That joy would be short lived as I miscarried in the beginning of my 2nd trimester. Our hearts broke as we had to tell our daughters that there baby siblings would not be coming.

In 2013 we moved into a new house and things were better until my husband’s grandmother started exhibiting signs of dementia. At the same time we noticed that our younger daughter was not reaching the usual milestones socially or academically for a child her age. She had always seemed to have sensory issues but like most parents, you just think, it’s a stage she’s going through and you get on with living your life. Holly’s day-care teacher noticed the same issues we were noticing so we scheduled an appointment to see a specialist. After tons of research and doctors appointments, our now 4 1/2 year old was diagnosed with Autism coupled with several sensory issues.

I began to worry constantly about how my daughters but most especially our youngest Holly would navigate through life and how would the world treat her while growing up? Between the diagnosis of Autism for Holly who now needed extra time and care and my husband’s grandmother’s frailty and dementia advancing, we were forced to make the heart wrenching decision to place her in a nursing home. Her physical and medical needs had become more than we could handle on a daily basis at home. She has transitioned nicely and we visit regularly.

This brings up the reason for this GO FUND ME page and ‘MARIE’S GARDEN.’

I am trying to raise enough funds to make Marie’s Garden a reality. When my first born daughter Ashlee was diagnosed with ADHD and OCD at age 7, I had looked into places to take her for both social interaction with her piers and activities that would hold her attention and interest.  None were to be found.  Through methods I discovered through my own research, I was able to provide a safe engaging environment for her that held her interest and attention. As children age and grow their interests change and as parents we have to adapt and change with them especially when you have a child who has a condition.

We had Ashlee re-evaluated by several specialist’s in Australia at the same time Holly was being evaluated and we were told that Ashlee has Asperger’s. As the parent of children with these conditions, I am very aware of the daily struggles other parents like us go through. These conditions can make the simplest routine tasks impossible.

Everyday situations, noises and places can overwhelm our children which will result in them melting or shutting down. I know your pain and the daily stress you endure. Going shopping with a child with autism can sometimes be a nightmare for us parents. Sometimes a parent just needs a break and with that, a nurturing safe haven where their child can spend some enjoyable time. That is Marie’s Garden.

Marie’s Garden will be that safe place.

When you have a child with Autism, your everyday life is affected. Marie’s Garden will be a place where children with ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s and Autism can come. We will provide an environment for children that combine predictability and routine with fun and stimulation.

Marie’s Garden Mission Statement:
To provide a safe haven and nurturing place for children to visit that have been diagnosed with conditions within the Autism Spectrum Disorder, OCD and ADHD.

Marie’s Garden Schedule:

Weekdays
· Daytime Programs for children such as dance, sports, arts and crafts and music.
· After school programs for children such as dance, sports, arts and crafts and music.
· Yoga and Zumba for the parents.

Weekends
· Dance, sports, arts and crafts and music.
· Planting and gardening area.

As the parent of two children on the ASD, I know how important connections and relationships can be to our little ones. It is with this in mind that Marie’s Garden with also have an area in the building that will provide information regarding therapy animal companions as well as rescue groups local to the area.

We plan to partner with the local rescue groups to be able to refer a family looking for a pet for their child to a pet professional so a perfect fit can be achieved. This will benefit both the special needs child their family and the animal in need. We have seen first hand how good it has been for our daughters to have their pets. This part of the project will be named, ‘Sandra’s Second Chance,’ for rescued animals in honor of my mother-in-law who loved all animal’s including her beloved dogs Duke and Duchess.

Marie’s Garden will offer parents and caregivers the opportunity to network and connect with other parents and caregivers who are going through the same type of things.

Marie’s Garden will give parents and caregivers the option of having a few hours off with the peace of mind that trusted and experienced people are looking after their precious children.

Marie’s Garden will provide a safe and nurturing place for their children while the parents re-charge and take care of themselves. Being your “Best You” gives your child the best of everything.

Marie’s Garden will be a place where the children can develop and sustain friendships with kids like themselves while exploring, imagining, creating and thriving.

Where will the funds raised here go?

All the funds raised on this Go Fund Me Page will go towards the creation of Marie’s Garden into an actual place. It will cover everything that is needed to get it up, running, operational and ready to have kids come and enjoy time at Marie’s Garden.

It will also go towards fully staffing Marie’s Garden with properly educated and trained personnel. In addition it will also help cover the expenses that Marie’s Garden will have the first few month’s until it is able to be self sustaining.

What you can expect from Marie’s Garden:
Numerous different play based group classes for the children
Weekday care
Weekend day and evening care
Holiday Care
An array of products for sale that are specifically made for children with Autism, Asperger’s and sensory issues
Yoga classes for parents and caregivers
Zumba classes for Parents and caregivers
Fun activities for the entire family

Bee a Buddy Program

A large amount of information and resources about ASD and ADD/ADHD that will all be free
There will also be a support group created for parents and caregivers, you are not alone.

By offering so many things and having the flexibility that parents need we will be able to offer competitive pricing that will be well within a families budget.

My hope is that Marie’s Garden will grow and become a household name. After some thorough research and looking at the cost’s for the start up of Marie’s Garden it has been decided that our first location if the Go Fund Me Campaign is successful will be in the South East of America. I’d love to see it grow around the world and have location’s in all 50 of the United States as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England, Ireland, South America and so many more places.  Each location will all have the same focus ‘The Children and the Families’.

I have had several people ask me why I have chosen the name Marie’s Garden and how it came about. The name Marie is the middle name that my maternal Grandmother Barbara gave to her 3 daughter’s my Aunt and God Mother Deborah, my mother Donna and my Aunt Christine. Those three daughter’s in turn passed down the middle name to their daughter’s including myself. When I had my two daughter’s I continued this family tradition and my girls share Marie as their middle name. It is something that is very special to me, my Grandmother started this tradition and I chose to go with Marie as a way to honor her. I picked the word Garden because to me a garden is where things grow and blossom and that’s what children will do who are a part of Marie’s Garden.

I am in the process of getting a logo created that will have the name Marie’s Garden along with children playing in a yard of daisies with Lady Bug’s (Lady Bird’s) flying around. This has a special meaning and is my way of honoring my Aunt Debbie. Once it’s completed I will put it up on this page.

There is an old saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. Please help Support Marie’s Garden so it can start being a part of the village. Every dollar counts, no amount is too small.

So many people have told us what a great program Marie’s Garden sounds like and that it will provide crucial help with early intervention for the younger children that have been diagnosed with condition’s on the spectrum as well as ADD, ADHD, OCD and a variety of different sensory issues. The children will be able to be themselves,  there will never be a fear of ridicule or teasing like my children have felt at some center’s and even at school. Marie’s Garden will be a happy and safe zone free of bullying or ridicule.

All donation’s no matter how big or small are greatly appreciated and are the difference between us being able to help these children and their families or not. You can donate to the Marie’s Garden Go Fund Me Page by clicking the ‘Donate’ button below.

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