Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-04-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lesbian nurse part of pediatric care facility
by Erica Demarest, Windy City Times
2012-11-07

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Almost Home Kids, according to its website, is "a pediatric, short-term care home that services children who are medically fragile." The Naperville-based business is poised to double its operation size through a Chicago expansion.

One of the employees there is openly lesbian case manager Layenie Anderson.

The Scottish-born nurse has been with the Naperville nonprofit since 2007—working to connect families with medically fragile children to suitable care. On a sunny Sunday morning in early September, Anderson bustled about the short-term care facility, making sure prescriptions were filled, patients' siblings were entertained, and trainee employees were comfortable with procedures.

For Anderson, caring for others has always come naturally—although it was not her first career choice.

The would-be performer studied dance in college before taking time off in 1996 for a one-year nanny position in the United States. Anderson had briefly worked as a nanny in Australia when she accompanied her mother there on a teacher exchange program; Anderson adored the experience.

"I've always loved kids, ever since I was a child myself," she said. "I've always been the mothering type."

She found similar joy as a nanny in the United States.

"I thought, 'Well, I'm not very good at dancing and acting, so maybe I won't do that after all,'" Anderson said with a laugh.

When she returned to Edinburgh, Scotland, she studied nursing with a focus on neurology and pediatrics. After three years in Edinburgh hospitals, Anderson returned to the States eager for a change.

"I hadn't planned on staying here [in America] for more than a few years, but then I met my partner," she said with a smile.

She and Elizabeth "Ibby" Grace, an education professor at National Louis University, were introduced in 2007 through Grace's sister. The pair began dating long-distance (Grace lived in California at the time) and, after a 2008 move, decided to enter into a civil union.

"When it was briefly legal in California, we set it all up and organized it," Anderson said. "We had a big ceremony planned. My family came from Scotland, and her family came from Chicago. People came from all over, and then the whole Prop 8 thing happened, and it wasn't legal [anymore]. We went ahead and did it anyway. Everyone had tickets booked."

The pair opted for a holy union in San Francisco in 2009. In February 2012, they held a civil union in Chicago. And while neither the holy nor civil union has any federal sway in the United States, the United Kingdom recognizes the couple's Illinois civil union.

"If we were ever to move [to the United Kingdom], the [country] would recognize [Grace] as my partner, and she would be able to come in without a job because she's my partner," Anderson said. "Whereas, I would never be able to live in the U.S. without a job. I have to have work sponsorship from Almost Home Kids [or someone else]."

Anderson said the legal complexities surrounding her union and visa status can often be frustrating, but "we're pretty cheerful people, so we just do what we need to do."

That cheer was augmented in January of this year, when Anderson delivered twin sons Benjamin and Joseph, who were conceived through the in vitro fertilization. Anderson grins when talking about her boys, who recently experienced their first trip to Scotland—kilts and all.

"[My partner and I] keep joking that because Scotland has now announced that they're going to make same-sex marriage legal in the U.K., that we're going to go back over and do another ceremony so [my family] can come. I mean, three unions? Why not?"

When Anderson switches topics from her sons to her Almost Home Kids clients, she continues to beam with the same sense of pride.

"The families with kids with special needs are just really special," Anderson said. "There's just something about them, where they've got that extra something."

In her role as case manager, Anderson trains families to use the medical equipment (e.g., breathing apparatuses, wheelchairs) that their children rely on for survival. During hospital stays—which can come after surgery, illness, or freak accidents—children are connected to complex gear that parents often find intimidating.

"[Families] are so overwhelmed in the hospital that, a lot of the time, they don't take it in, "Anderson said. "After training them on the same equipment they'll use at home, the parents know exactly what they're doing. Their confidence level just soars. There's a much lower rate of readmission to hospitals after they've been trained, and the stress level goes down as well."

Anderson helps families figure out logistics and troubleshoot.

Almost Home Kids also offers much-needed respite stays, during which parents who need to take an older child to college, travel for a funeral, or simply take a break, can leave their special needs children at the facility for a few days.

"We find that families in our respite are able to manage at home for longer," Anderson said. "If they know they've got a break coming up, they can keep going… [and not] burn out. For the overall mental health of families, it's just a wonderful thing. And when some kids come here, they say they're coming to camp."

Tucked into a quiet residential community, the Naperville facility is outfitted with a large playground, wheelchair-equipped swings and picnic tables, and flower and vegetable gardens. Children get excited when deer graze from the site's feeders—a site Anderson notes the kids would never get in a hospital.

"The kids have so many visual and tactile experience here," she said. "It's part of what makes this facility so special."

For more information on Almost Home Kids, visit www.almosthomekids.org .

Also please see related feature at the link: http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Almost-Home-Kids-unveils-Chicago-site/40283.html


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Chicagoan involved in PETA contest 2015-04-23
Center on Halsted, Northwestern U launch LGBT Health Research Center 2015-04-23
CDPH reopens Austin-area STI clinic 2015-04-23
Michfest to close doors after 40 Years, community responds 2015-04-22
Chicagoan loses 225 pounds, needs financial help for surgeries 2015-04-22
Entertainment: Andrew Rannells; Cher; Hugh Jackman; 'Orange Is the New Black' 2015-04-22
MUSIC Lesbian fronts band Fit for Rivals 2015-04-22
BOOK REVIEW The Old Deep and Dark 2015-04-21
ADA 25 Chicago holds launch event 2015-04-21
Vogel: This will be last year of MichFest 2015-04-21
Former Baldwin staffer lodges ethics complaint 2015-04-21
Activists look back on George's legacy 2015-04-19
ADA 25 Chicago launches, calls for improved access 2015-04-19
Vicci Martinez releases new EP "I Am" 2015-04-17
Longtime lesbian-feminist activist Sidney Abbott dies 2015-04-17
VIEWS: MOMBIAN New edition enlivens 'Two Mommies' for families today 2015-04-15
Robin Roberts on cover of AARP Magazine 2015-04-14
Becky Kanis: Champion of change 2015-04-14
Exhibit shows history of UChicago LGBTQ life 2015-04-14
Resolution asks states to protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy 2015-04-14
Force wins over West Michigan Mayhem 2015-04-13
Lesbian political action committee endorses Clinton 2015-04-13
Survey seeks input on Chicago African American lesbian history 2015-04-13
#BornPerfect event raises awareness of conversion therapy 2015-04-11
Surgeon General supports protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy 2015-04-09
Married same-sex couples denied health care benefits by employers 2015-04-09
NCLR and Task Force remove names from Michfest petition 2015-04-09
Rabbinical group gets first-ever lesbian president 2015-04-08
Study: Changes to more same-sex identity leads to depression, stability in LGB identity is protective 2015-04-07
Center hosts #BornPerfect rally to ban conversion therapy in IL 2015-04-07
Nationally known comics to celebrate progressive comedians 2015-04-07
CDC targets LGBTs with Tips From Former Smokers Campaign 2015-04-07
Louisiana school to allow lesbian student to wear tux to prom 2015-04-07
PASSAGES "Ninure" Dawn Saunders 2015-04-03
Filmmaker Michelle Citron looks at pre-Stonewall lesbians 2015-04-01
MUSIC Joan Armatrading on touring, inspiration 2015-04-01
BOOKS: Dying to Play; Ndegeocello; authors Sullivan, Conner 2015-04-01
DeGeneres show to air to Chicago 2015-03-31
'Excellence in Care' recipients announced 2015-03-31
AFC forum at Center to deal with Rauner budget 2015-03-31
 



Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.