When Covid-19 started in early 2020, Dayna was not even five months into her new life at the Holden home. She was still getting used to the routine and the home itself when suddenly it all changed.

Before the pandemic, Dayna’s day consisted of going to her day program on each weekday. We were able to visit her at her home and spend time in her room, we could take her to dinner or out shopping, and of course bring her back home to Fuquay-Varina for visits. Once the Covid protocols were put into place, everything changed. It was the beginning of the pandemic and there were a ton of unknowns. The group home went into a full lock down. The day program was shut down and the residents had to stay in the house all day, every day. The staff wore full PPE gear including masks, face shields and medical gowns. We were not longer allowed to visit Dayna at Holden, and we were no longer allowed to bring Dayna home to our house. It had only been a few months and Dayna went from a lifetime of being at home with her family to suddenly being locked down in a house all day without her family or any way to see them.

At home we were heart broken. We were confident in the staff at Holden, but we also knew that Dayna did not understand what was happening. She didn’t understand why things had changed, she most likely still didn’t understand why she had to leave our home in the first place, and now she was no longer allowed to see her family. All I could think about was Dayna thinking in her young mindset that her family had abandoned her. I wondered what was going through her mind as each day passed. Even as I write this I feel a sickness in my stomach.

In June of 2020, close to 20 weeks since we had physically seen Dayna, Covid-19 had made its way into the group home. Even worse it was Dayna’s roommate, a sweet older woman who had contracted it, but Dayna had not. While her roommate was being admitted to the hospital, I was on my way to Greensboro within 15 minutes of getting the call to pick Dayna up. We all agreed that Dayna would be safe at home until the group home was medically cleared. To no surprise, Dayna did not mind at all to be forced into staying at home. Work was slow for me during the pandemic and Kiley and Sean weren’t going to school, so dealing with the lack of sleep wasn’t a big issue. We knew eventually it would come to an end and Dayna would have to go back to Holden, but it was a nice break in the middle of a new transition for us.

Since then, not much had changed until just recently. As recently as a couple of months ago the day program Dayna attends was still not fully operating and we were not allowed to even step in the house. Even now we have not seen Dayna’s room in over 2 years, but the day program is now back to five days a week for the residents. We bring Dayna home once a month for 4-5 days which keeps us under the 60 day maximum amount of days home per year she is allowed. Access to the house is becoming easier, and we were able to send food for Dayna’s birthday dinner. Like everyone else, we can’t wait for things to get back to normal, and we seem to be slowly getting there. Now we’ll just hope that this never goes back to the strict lockdowns!

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