Hi everyone. My name is Michelle. Iím single. I graduated from nursing school in 1994. At this time I home school my youngest son and have since he was 11. Iím not even sure where to begin. First, I guess I could say that my family story is much like everyone elseís. When I first read through some of the comments from others, after reading several, I actually found myself with tears rolling down my cheeks. It was because I understood exactly what the others were saying because I feel the same way and have for way too long. I have 3 children ages 20,17 and 15. They all three have disabilities. My husband and I didnít realize that we both had genetic disabilities in our family tree that we could pass on to our children. My 20 year old is Bipolar. My 17 year old has high function Autism, Touretteís Syndrome, ADHD, OCD, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Bipolar, General Anxiety/Panic Disorder, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My 15 year old has Aspbergers, OCD, Touretteís Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, General Anxiety/Panic Disorder, ADHD, Asthma. It wasnít until after my children were born and they started having delays that it was all put together. My oldest didnít exhibit symptoms until she was 16, when she had her first really big manic episode. It has been a very long struggle over the years. I lost friends first. Then my entire family, even my mother canít deal with it. Then my husband in 2008. So I do my best to keep it all together by myself.
I am tired of being alone and doing this all by myself. I want more for my children and myself than to just exist. There should be more people in our lives that we can share and count on. I worry about what will happen to my children after I am gone. There is no one for them to count on. I have taught my children through the years to be open and caring and accepting of others. I taught them that family is what is in someoneís heart, not who they are born to. If that was the case then adoption wouldnít work. I have been thinking for a long time about what I can do to create a family of support for myself and my children. Talking online, talking on the phone and going to local support groups isnít the same. It does relieve a little of the need to talk with someone but it does nothing for the other support people need in their lives.
I would like to find other people who would benefit from creating an extended family that can help each other in all the ways we need help. I have 420 acres of land in New Mexico that is surrounded on two sides by Bureau of Land Management land and on the other two sides by thousands of acres of grazing land. The property is only 12 miles from schools. I would like to find others who would like to share living on this land. I will provide the land to share and provide the same as everyone else that decides this is what they are looking for. I am not looking to create a commune/cult. I believe the more different everyone is the better because I think we learn more and life is more interesting. This doesnít have to just be for other families who have children with disabilities. I believe Seniors, single parents, or individuals would all make great parts of this type of family. The only difference between the way the rest of society lives and the way I would like to share is that we share some things like a family to make our lives easier. Buying things in bulk is cheaper and spreading out the work load is easier. I will enclose a few examples and anyone who is interested can email me and we can share phone numbers to talk to see if this sounds like something they would like to do to increase the quality of their families life. We would each have our own homes. We would have each other close at hand to talk to, care for each others children so we can each have breaks. After the initial getting to know each other time, we could even take vacations for a week or two while others watch our children if that is something that you need. Some peoples children take more care than others and going on a vacation is frequently more work than staying home.
The homes will be self sufficient green homes with wind and solar power. Iím not some kind of recycling freak that wants to totally get off the grid although that would be great for the environment. Iím just looking at ways to increase my families quality of life. One of those ways is to be more self sufficient. No one would be required to recycle or anything like that unless they want to. We do recycle some and probably will more when we have the space. Everyone remains independent and chooses how much they want to participate in the community family. This is not some free ride though, itís a way to help each other so everyone would be expected to contribute in some way. Everyone has different interest though so each person can decide how they can contribute. Some might always want to cook for their own family only. Others might like to be part of a group where each person or a few families prepare food for everyone and they can either eat together or take their food to their own house to eat. I like the idea of being able to do both. Sometimes I might want to fix a meal for just my family and other times it might be nice to eat with others or have the food ready and just have to eat it.
Some might like to work outside the home while others would like to start up their own business. There is plenty of land for animals. Goats are a good source of meat, cheese, and milk for self use or selling for income. Basically the only requirements are that you want to be a part of a family of people who strive for a common goal of giving their family a quality life. Tolerance and acceptance would be important for everyone since we are all different and need to interact together. Since we are all so different and canít be expected to love everyoneís personality then having those qualities are important to allow for this type of community. Since there is so much space there is plenty of room to have space to yourself. Homeschooling is easy in New Mexico if you choose that option. There are very few requirements.
This goal is not for someone who wants everything handed to them. All these years of doing it myself I have learned that nothing is given to you. If I donít do it myself then in another 20 years nothing will have changed and my family will be exactly where it is now except I will be 20 years closer to my children being left alone after I am gone. I am willing to put my comfort aside and do things a little different for a year in order to make things better. There are no houses on the property right now, we would be building them. There is a group that promotes this type of green building in New Mexico and they will come help/ teach how to build the home. After 2-3 weeks the home is done. As long as we have the required number of people and supplies then they will do this as many times as we want. Lots of people make these types of homes without doing it this way but the more people you have the quicker it gets done. Until all the homes are built we will either have to live in campers, tents or share the homes that are done. Depending on how many families are interested would depend on what we need to do. This is just an example because the exact details would have to be decided by everyone who wants to be a part and not just me but if we had 10 families and we all put $500 in each month instead of paying rent and utilities then we would have $5,000 a month as a group to put towards building. These homes are inexpensive to make because we pay no labor and we use mostly free and recycled materials. After the homes are built then we only would need to pay a small amount to upkeep the property. There wouldnít be anymore rent or utility bills so the money usually spent on those could be used for other things or saved by each family for their own use. Instead of living in an apartment and paying rent/utilities for the rest of our lives with nothing to show for it I want to be able to use that money for other things that enrich the family.
For some this would be a permanent life change. I am looking to do this. I want to create a family for my children to be part of even after Iím gone. My youngest is the only one that will always need someone to take care of him. My oldest graduated from College at 18 and is living on her own in another state. My 17 year old went to College at 16, completed a year and then during his second year had a big manic episode and is now home. Heís still deciding what he wants to do but since heís still getting used to his Bipolar, Iím sure it will take a while. They can still live in the home that is built and have a live in assistant plus their extended family that live around them. Some of us will have children that leave. Some will have children that stay but are self sufficient. Some will have children that need care givers. It is my hope that whatever the level of care, each child will be able to stay or go depending on their own or their families decision, not forced to live in a government facility because there is no place else for them. We can expand if more people are interested and we feel it would be better or we can let it get smaller if some choose to leave and we decide we want to leave things the way they are.
If this sounds like something you would like to be part of then email me and we can talk more so I can answer any questions you might have. [email protected] ↓