OLD TOWN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – The strain of the drug crisis in Maine is felt in ways that are not always obvious—like children torn from their addicted parents and placed in the care of the state.
Bette Hoxie, who has fostered more than 150 children over the years, said it is something that is becoming more and more common.
RELATED STORY: Sanford couple opening new recovery center
The mounting strain on the system prompted 71-year-old to do something she has never done before and take in an entire family.
"I do it because I believe families belong together and this family was struggling,” Hoxie said.
She opened her home in Old Town to Robert Seeley, his wife Bonnie, and their 10-month-old baby Landyn. Hoxie even had to convert her den into a bedroom for the family to fit, just to keep them together.
"If she hadn't have stepped up I don't know what would have happened as a family. I don't where would Landyn would be right now,” Seeley said. "Losing my son would have been horrific.”
The couple was caught in the grip of addiction for years. Robert Seeley said he used countless drugs for more than a decade before going to jail for the first few months of Landon’s life.
RELATED STORY: How to talk to your kids about opioids
The threat of the baby being taken into state custody was imminent until Hoxie was able to find a solution.
They were able to arrange a safety plan with the Department of Health and Human Services that required 24-hour supervision of the family. It allowed them to stay together in Hoxie’s home while still ensuring the couple stayed clean.
"If we weren't all here together as a family I think that one of us would have ended up relapsing and we would lose our son,” Bonnie Seeley said.
Now just weeks after that supervision was lifted, the family is grateful that Hoxie gave them a second chance.
"Her not being there for me. I'd probably be dead right now,” Robert said.
"I definitely don't think I'm an angel or saint but I feel like I was put on this earth to do something like this. Otherwise this wouldn't be happening,” Hoxie said.
The Seeleys said they are even now able to look for a place of their own and expecting another baby—something they said who have been impossible if they had lost baby Landyn.
"You take a child away from someone trying to get clean they really have nothing to get clean for,” Robert Seeley said.