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“If You Love Me” – Maureen Cavanagh – Quotes

“…and I have learned that I am powerless, and always have been, to help my own daughter. The only person I am able to truly help is myself. The irony of that is staggering. How often have I offered the sage Al-Anon advice (you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it) to distraught parents and then fought against the tide to battle the disease harder than Katie was. The sorrow of grieving for a child still alive, every day for years, has made me realize that I am not in control. I speak to her about throwing away the gift of her life, but I am doing the same. On a constant alert for her…I had forgotten to live my own life. No amount of my giving up my own happiness will help her. It doesn’t work that way.”

I have been reading more than I ever have before—it’s one of my coping strategies. The book I quoted above is a heavy hitter for anyone living with a loved one who has a lurking, insidious disease—addiction, mental illness, or the like. Our daughter, Madie, has now been in wilderness or residential treatment for 7 LONG months. She has been home, on her second home visit, for about 6 days…6 days I wish I could say have been fun and refreshing, but they have been anything but. We find ourselves “midstream” in treatment, as Madie’s therapist has put it. Madie has reached a “therapy threshold” of sorts, where she wants to be done, be home, have more freedoms, and live independently; however, she is not at that point yet, even though she’d love to have us believe she is. She still needs to experience a mind shift and interior change. She has been “midstream” many times in her life, at various points, and she has wanted to quit or push it away when the work/therapy becomes too intense or difficult. That’s where we find ourselves once again. The only way out is through! She has to wade into the deep of the “midstream” and keep pushing through to the other side. 

Jeff and I are holding on to our Faith in a God who loves our complex daughter more than we do—a God who will go to the deepest depths to help us in our hard times. We are holding on to hope that we will get some financial compensation (any amount) from our appeal to our medical insurance company or in trying to fight our school district to pay for some portion of her residential treatment. 

I will close this update with news that we learned the day Madie got home this past Friday. We learned that an acquaintance of hers died about a week ago, in Boulder, CO, from taking fentanyl-laced street drugs. He took them and never woke up. We do not take for granted that it could have been our daughter’s obituary that we were reading, instead of Jack’s. God has her in a safe environment where she is practicing sobriety and learning the skills necessary to live a life that is healthy and independent. We want her to have a future full of hope.

I am sitting at my kitchen table, looking at the gently falling snow and thinking about how, in 9 days, my daughter will be back in Colorado for a short Christmas visit (God-willing and no exposure to Covid-19). It will be the first time she has been in Colorado since July 2 nd . I’ll never forget watching her drive away, with a professional transport team, at 1:45 am. I watched that white car for as long as I could, not knowing when I’d see her again. It was a sinking feeling—one of the worst pains I’ve ever felt. I feel a similar feeling every time I have gotten on a plane, after visiting her. I can’t help crying
when the plane takes off, because I realize she is remaining behind—she is in someone else’s daily care. The biggest sinking feeling, lately, came this morning as I read an email from our insurance company, saying that their “insurance doctors” have determined that Madie does not meet the medical necessity criteria for the level of care she is receiving. I cannot think of a statement further from the truth. It is truly a tragedy, driven by economics and greed. We have tapped into every resource we have, and my husband has
spent countless hours doing all kinds of “financial gymnastics”, trying to come up with the funds to continue her care. She is in such a great place right now in her treatment! There is momentum, accepting of responsibility, epiphany, and motivation. As any intelligent human knows, meaningful change takes a long time to accomplish. Wading through the quagmire of addiction and mental health issues is messy. We have tried, for years and years, to help her and support change at home, with much lower levels of care. It did not work. 17 years into her beautiful, complicated life, she is not done. Statistics will also tell you that kids who leave programs before the “end” will be FAR MORE LIKELY to fall back into the same destructive ways. We know there is no guarantee of ultimate, forever healing, but we have to believe there can be. We have heard miracle stories, and we believe in a mighty God who is THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.

We have seen Divine intervention in every step of this family journey. SO MANY of you have already helped us financially and emotionally, and for that we are forever grateful. We will continue to trust in God–that He will provide ways for Madie to see this tough work of residential treatment to the end.

We appreciate those of you reading this. Spread the word! Again, Adoptive Families Coalition, where we have our fundraising page, charges NO FEES—100% of money donated here goes DIRECTLY to her treatment facility. No donation is too small.

Merry Christmas!

11/1/2020-Here is a brief update on our Madie: She has been at her therapeutic boarding school for almost 7 weeks now (on November 5th). She has really hit a rough patch the past couple of weeks. She is definitely experiencing a deep and real grief over many things. She is also struggling to lay down firm boundaries with other teens in the program and fighting impulsiveness. She has taken a slide backward and is struggling to climb back up. If you are a praying person, we would love to have you pray for our girl. It would be fantastic if she could start experiencing motivation to move forward. The medical team is also doing some medication adjustments to help her with overwhelming, persistent anxiety (she has experienced this since very early in her life).  Small victories: school is going well (mostly). She is experiencing success in this area of life which is new. She is sleeping better, thanks to some med. adjustments. She is feeling “more regulated” which is so wonderful to hear. We are so grateful for staff that is working, tirelessly, to ensure her success, growth, and healing. There are so many staff members that are our heroes! We continue to fight insurance, weekly, to pay for Madie’s care. Mental health coverage is severely lacking in our country. We know it will be a battle forever. Thanks for taking the time to read our update. We are grateful for those who care for and encourage us.

Well, here we are—almost 16 weeks into treatment. Madie left for wilderness therapy on July 2nd, 2020, and she transferred to residential treatment on September 17th. Never, in my wildest dreams as a hopeful, new mom, did I ever imagine we’d be where we are right now. When you say “yes” to adopting a child, you have no idea what the future holds. There are so many unknowns, so much missing information (unknown genetic roadmap), and so much faith involved in the process. Even after all of the grief/loss we have experienced, I still remain firm in my belief that God chose us to be the parents of Madie, probably before my husband and I were even born. She is our precious daughter, and we will fight for her until our last breath. I am grateful for her life!

We are so grateful for Adoptive Families Coalition! I have spent countless hours on various websites, trying to find a grant, scholarship, or help paying for our daughter’s treatment. Long-term, round-the-clock treatment is often the only thing that will work for kids like our daughter. Unfortunately, it is an ongoing fight to get insurance to cover long-term treatment. We have spent most of her lifetime trying to find help for her in many areas through special schools, therapists (of all kinds), tutors, medications, and activities. If I had to come up with only one word to summarize her life, it would be complexity. She is now 17-years-old, and we desperately needed to find effective help for her before she becomes a legal adult. We have hope for her future, and we have seen the beginning of beautiful change. The specifics of her journey will be for her to tell one day. 

We are trying to find benefactors, donors, organizations, or philanthropists who have access to funds that they are willing to donate to help fund our daughter’s treatment. We will not give up. Thank you for reading this update.

–Kelly (Mom)

Adoptive Families Coalition (AFC) is writing to you on behalf of Madeline’s family. We are assisting them in funding their daughter’s treatment not covered by insurance. There are very few resources for adoptive families who face the challenges of expensive and lengthy care. We need a community of support! Please consider if you can make a one time or monthly donation to offer Madeline a bright future.

100% of your tax-deductible donation goes directly to the treatment provider. Thank you! 


AFC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the holistic support of adoptive families. Families who faced similar challenges firsthand and understand the need for support founded the nonprofit.