It was both exciting and sad for our family on the day that our daughter began her new life as a resident of Treiser Maison Shalom. The elation was bringing to fruition our dream that one day Naama would be able to live a life independent of her family with peers similar to herself – moving on to the next step in life as her siblings had done and the sadness was once again reminding us that our daughter Naama would not have the ability to make major choices in her life. She was not capable of climbing the Alps, visiting Machu Pichu, choosing a career and marrying and having children.
Never would we have imagined how outstandingly her life has fallen into place. Her home is no longer our home. Her home is Maison Shalom. When she visits with us, which she loves to do, she also loves to call her Maison Shalom family on the telephone. There is little that she does not do and her daily life is as busy as most. Frequently upon visiting we would find her either out shopping or at the movies or on an excursion to a museum. We never would have been able to offer her the daily living experiences that she has in Maison Shalom.
What we had not anticipated was how our family expanded once Naama became a member of the Treiser Maison Shalom household. The other residents and staff have become an integral part of our family. Naama now has many additional brothers and sisters. It is incredible to observe how they look out for each other and how much they mean to each other. In the past year Naama, quite unexpectedly, suffered a life threatening illness. Upon her return from the hospital we watched the excitement in the eyes of the other residents. The evening following her return the home had a special dinner in her honor to welcome her back. In Jewish tradition there is a custom of making a special meal of thanks after a person is able to overcome a life-threatening incident. This is how we interpreted this special dinner.
Our family would never have dreamt that our Naama could have thrived and matured to the extent that she has. It is totally through the devotion and outstanding care that she receives each day that this has occurred. We are sad upon meeting families who are reluctant to allow their “special” children to move on and join a group home. They are denying their children their absolute right to be as independent as they are able.
The dream that we had for Naama has been more than fulfilled. There is no adequate way for us to appropriately thank every single person who was originally involved in the formation of the home and every individual who has worked there and shown our daughter the love and devotion which one would expect only from her own family.