This is one of a series of stories about the nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking Fund campaign that runs through the holidays.
A year ago, Katie's 11-year-old son found out he was adopted when he was five days old.
"His reaction to finding out he was adopted was very traumatic," the widowed mother of four said. "It turns out this is quite common."
He was acting out to Katie, his siblings who weren't adopted and in his classroom. He shoplifted, accused his mother of kidnapping him, would run away from his mother and started getting physical as well. Katie, whose real name is not being used to protect her privacy, said it got to point where the police had to be called.
"He had been in crisis since then," Katie said. "Things just kind of came to a head."
Katie was referred to Tri-Lakes Cares on Halloween, when she was at her wits end.
"They created a game plan to keep my family together," Katie said. "It was very validating to know that I wasn't the only one in this situation."
Tri-Lakes Cares is a community based, volunteer supported resource center whose purpose is to improve people's lives through emergency, self-sufficiency and relief programs.
Christine Bucher,Tri-Lakes Cares Development Manager, said the organization is so important because it is the only one serving northern El Paso County, which has no public transportation or taxi service. It also work with agencies in Colorado Springs to support the community.
Katie said she had no idea what was available to her, and that she was exhausted and devastated.
"Tri-Lakes Cares has phenomenal knowledge of what's available in the community," Katie said.
They supported her by paying a utility bill that she hadn't remembered to pay and in finding resources to support her and her family. She was directed to parenting and childcare resources. They also referred her to The Resource Exchange to help her adopted son.
"We're a nonprofit organization that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,: said Garry Butcher, Marketing Specialist at The Resource Exchange. "We serve people throughout their entire lifespan from birth through end of life."
Butcher said that they work with individuals in El Paso, Park and Teller counties and serve as an entry point for organizations for individuals and their families who need services.
"We help these individuals and families to create a service plan for them based on their needs and their disabilities," Butcher said. "The Resource Exchange doesn't provide all the direct services but we coordinate and work with other agencies and providers to actually find the programs and services they need."
Katie said that The Resource Exchange was phenomenal for her son.
"He has completely settled down," Katie said. "It has just been night and day.
"For Christmas what I got was my family staying together."