My #BeReal guest today is semi-anonymous.
My heart is heavy after reading this mom’s story. Life is tough. Being a parent is tough. Sometimes we have limited choices and the only thing giving us hope is that people we love are depending on us.
It is difficult to understand how limited and unhelpful social resources can be until you are homeless. Why are people homeless when we pay taxes to support services that are built to prevent homelessness? Well, in my opinion, it’s because each service does ONE thing. But this story isn’t about what I think.
Please leave a comment for her. Well wishes, prayers, advice, compassion and if you are able and in the Oklahoma area it sounds like she really could use two beds and a couch.
I don’t know how many times I have had to rewrite this but I do know the reason why I had to keep rewriting it… because I couldn’t be real. As this is the last time I am going to write this, I guess it is time for me to be real. I am done lying to myself. I am done faking it. I am done lying to the world. Here it goes….
Since the end of June I have been homeless. I didn’t drag my kids completely down with me but I have without a doubt hurt them. This time will forever be in their memories. I can’t take it back no matter how much I want to. I can only hope and pray that at 1:30pm today, I am given back the two children I currently don’t have in my custody.
So how did I end up homeless many may wonder. Well if you are a mom in Oklahoma, with no family support, in an abusive relationship, don’t make the mistakes that I did. First, I called the police. Don’t do that. The police call DHS and if you don’t leave your abuser, they take your kids. Second, no matter how much you trust your friends, don’t tell them either. They too will call DHS and again, DHS will take your kids. If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t have called or told anyone. I would have saved my money and found a better paying job before I left my situation. That isn’t relevant to my reality though.
The reality is, DHS had enough complaints on my abusive home life and if I didn’t leave soon either they were going to take my kids or my oldest son was going to kill my abuser. So I sent my kids to stay with friends on December 11, 2014. On December 22, 2014 we moved into a place I already knew I couldn’t afford. It didn’t matter at the time. DHS wasn’t taking my kids. That was what mattered then. For the first three months, I didn’t pay my utilities. I made $1200 a month. My rent was $775. My car payment was $300. So I had to make a choice. Well in March my electricity was turned off. It was spring break so again I sent my kids off to live with friends. Most would think this was a good idea. Later I will learn it wasn’t. I got the electricity back on by Friday of spring break with assistance from community programs.
So for the next three months I paid the bills but not the rent. Of course that caught up with me too. By the end of June we were evicted. Again, thinking I was looking out for my children’s best interest, I sent them to stay with friends while I lived in my car. While living in my car and with the use of my cell phone, I started my own business, Relax, We Got This, a residential and commercial cleaning company. My business actually did great! I began saving money. Every penny I could. I didn’t eat much which led to many people accusing me of being on drugs. I worked every minute I could which meant I didn’t see my kids a lot. Again, people assumed I was on drugs. I was just focused on saving for a home so I could see my kids everyday.
Well, at the end of July, I landed in jail for an old DUI charge. I had an argument with my abuser and rather than stay and fight, I left and bought a bottle of alcohol. I parked in a shopping center, drank and went to sleep. A concerned citizen called police and because my keys were within reach, I got a DUI. I failed to go to court for it when homeless and it caught up with me. I had no family to bail me out so I sat for a month. In that time, the friends I had left my kids with, went to court and took guardianship from me. Once released, when I went to court, I assumed my friends would give my kids back. One friend gave back my oldest son but the other “friend” did not give back my other two children. Instead she made several untrue allegations to the court and was granted another 90 days guardianship.
So, still homeless, I jumped back into my business in full force and by early September my company was awarded The Best of 2015 in Household Services. I was quite proud of myself and chuckled at the idea no one knew I earned that by being in business less than a year and all while living in my car. So again, I’m saving my money and have a home by the end of September. My rent was $1300. I paid almost $3000 in deposits due to the eviction. By November I was offered a home from one of my clients for two months free rent and then $600 a month. The home was worth $230,000 and came with land. I jumped on it, thus breaking my lease and getting another eviction.
Just two weeks until my December court date regarding the guardianship of my two youngest children and my vehicle is struck by a drunk driver. It engulfed in flames and was declared a total loss. All of my work equipment and supplies were in the vehicle. I only carried liability insurance so I am forced to wait on his insurance to pay out before I can do anything. So, here I am unable to work and now strapped for cash, right before my court hearing.
Along comes the December court date. I go in thinking I will most certainly get my other two children back. I have had the one with no problems. I maintained housing and utilities. I was wrong. Guardianship was extended another month. It didn’t matter that I showed the court that the guardian stole $125 from my children. It didn’t matter that the guardian posted lies on Facebook about the case in an attempt to get Christmas assistance. It didn’t matter that my daughter wrote a letter to judge stating there were drugs in the home and she gave the precise location of the drugs. She also admitted to stealing some of the drugs and using them. It didn’t matter that both of my children had regressed academically. The judge gave her another month but did say he would do an investigation and send us a letter with a final ruling within two weeks.
Well, the very next day, the guardian decided she was done with my kids. She went to the courthouse and relinquished her rights. That was Wednesday. Thursday DHS came to my home to determine if it is safe for my kids to return home. Unfortunately, most of my furniture is in the last house I left and the landlord won’t give it back until December 19th. Court is Friday, the 10th. Without beds for the two children and a couch to sit on, my home isn’t sufficient. That is all it is lacking. If I don’t have these items, my children go to the shelter to be placed in foster homes.
So there you have it. That is me… being real. Loyyok back on the last six months of Facebook and none of this shows. It is what it is. I’ve tried the Bethel Foundation for beds and I’ve tried a few friends. I’m running out of time. I have eight hours. In the final eight hours, I decided to be real and write this in hopes that some other abused mom doesn’t make the same mistakes I did. If you don’t have family to take you and your kids in, keep quiet. The system isn’t designed to get you all out of the situation, just your kids. The resources are out there people will tell you and they are, if you put your kids in a shelter. Since I wanted better than that for my children, assistance wasn’t available to me and my children. Since I trusted friends with my children, I learned friends aren’t all they claim to be. From now on, I trust myself. It will be a long time before I trust anyone else. I pray that at the end of this day, my children and I are once again united as a family. It all lies in one judges hands though and he wants two beds and a couch.