Being a parent many times means that you have to make the biggest, most heartbreaking, challenging and complicated decisions about your children. It comes with the territory. You have to learn to navigate the good with the bad and take on everything that comes your way the bravest way possible. This family has learned that lesson in full force and have made a gut-wrenching decision that is actually more common than we think.
Parents Jim and Toni Hoy adopted their son Daniel and whenever the now, twelve-year-old boy started to exhibit signs of severe mental illness, they were, of course, willing to do anything to help him. In their case, their only option was to relinquish the custody they have of him so that he could receive the treatment that they were unable to afford.
Over the years, Daniel started experiencing violent outbursts (he even threw one of his brothers down the stairs). Because of this, doctors determined that he needed residential services to protect himself and the rest of the Hoy family. However, both the Hoy’s private health insurance and Medicaid wouldn’t cover the extremely expensive price this would cost the family.
After lots of consideration, they turned to the only option that they had left, something called custody relinquishment. This would mean that they would be giving up their son, and the state of Illinois would be required to pay for any medical treatment he needed, including his very specific specialized care.
As mentioned before, this isn't an uncommon as one would think. According to a study by the Government Accountability Office, over 12,000 families in 19 states have done the same thing. This definitely makes you think more about the high cost of healthcare in the United States as a whole.
Daniels dad, Jim, says “To this day, it’s the most gut-wrenching thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. I was crying terribly. But it was the only way we figured we could keep the family safe.”
Their story ends a little differently than you might imagine though. Whenever Daniel turned fifteen, the Hoyt family was able to sue the state and regain custody of him. In addition, they were also awarded the funds to pay for his continuing mental health services.
Now, Daniel is 24 and a thriving adult. He has been out of treatment for six years and lives near his parents with his girlfriend and their daughter. Thankfully, their story has a happy ending and he was able to receive the help that he needed.