Since adopted 9-year-old Niko from Serbia five years ago, Nicole Desmarais has been torn between protecting her other children and keeping her son. Niko’s early years of instability and trauma included severe neglect, and he is now a danger to all in his household. “I don’t have a choice; it’s not a decision. We have not been given an option,” Desmarais told the Toronto Sun.

Desmarais reported to the Sudbury Star that Niko hides dangerous items, including knives and is physical with friends and family, including throwing punches, scratching and kicking, and has even cut the face of one of his sisters. The government has required that his mother either relinquish her rights, or that she bear the entire financial burden for getting him the help he desperately needs. Her real desire would be to receive help from the province so Niko could receive treatment with a long-term care plan. She believes he needs at least two years of specialized treatment to break past his violent tendencies.

She has told Northern Life that she is still hoping for a last-minute miracle that will allow for her to keep her child and help him to get the treatment he needs.