Joyce and her one year old daughter Anna were living with her father Keith, great aunt Claudia, and other family when things started to unravel. Joyce was having a rough time keeping up with her responsibilities and would run away from home, sometimes for days at a time just to get away. She would run to her friends and boyfriend, leaving Anna with family in the meantime. The final straw occurred when Joyce ran to Milwaukee without telling her family where she was going. She left Anna with her boyfriend’s family and upon her return she was upset to find that the baby was not there. When she arrived back at her familial home, she was reunited with Anna, but got into an altercation with Keith and Claudia about her recent disappearance. Joyce was forced to move out and live with another family member some miles away.
On the day of the mediation, the mediator checked in with the family and it initially seemed that things were getting better. Joyce had recently moved back into the home with her family. However, after further reality testing, it became apparent that Keith and Claudia were still upset about the incident and Joyce’s whereabouts overall. They believed that Joyce wasn’t concerned about Anna’s safety or her care. They felt taken advantage of. In caucus, Joyce was able to explain to the mediator that she felt like she was in the way because she moved around so much and that she had not felt wanted since her mother died tragically when Joyce was five years old.
The mediator was able to bring them back together to discuss possible solutions and Joyce made her case to the family about how she was feeling. They exchanged possible solutions. Keith and Claudia were able to explain how much they cared about both Joyce and Anna. They explained that they wanted Joyce to limit her travels in order to make sure Anna was taken care of. Joyce agreed and they worked out an agreement around daily child care and overall family schedule. The family also agreed to look into counseling for Joyce in the future.
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