Our hard times started in 2016, and by April, I was living in a van with five young children. I was 27 then, and I’d experienced a lot of family dysfunction. I knew it would take a big change to put my kids on a different track.
That June, we moved to a city with more opportunity and more affordable housing. I needed to do something to get my kids out of the homeless cycle, and continuing my education seemed like the best chance for long-term stability. I enrolled in a program to earn my licensed practical nurse (LPN) degree.
Our lives were hectic, but I was working hard. In my nursing program, I could only miss one day per semester. When my van broke down one day, I was forced to miss my “one day.” I was terrified that if I had to drop out of school now, I’d never be able to create a stable future for my family.
I thought the best thing I could do for my children was to put them into foster care – so someone could keep them safe.
Then I remembered seeing something about Safe Families for Children when I did a Google search. I had my doubts and was fully prepared to call Children’s Protective Services. However, I took a chance and called Safe Families.
When I met with Katie, the Safe Families coordinator, she understood my situation and found volunteer Host Families to care for my children.
I packed a small bag of clothes for each child, met each Host Family, hugged my children good-bye, and watched them leave with their Host Families. This was so hard, but I knew it needed to be done so I could end the cycle of chaos we were in.
While I continued my education, and worked on getting my life back on track, I knew my children were safe and loved. I talked to my children on a regular basis through visits, text messages, phone calls, and Skype. The Host Families also communicated with me on a regular basis, sending encouraging messages at the right moment, whenever I was feeling down.
On the day of my nursing school graduation, the Host Families came to my ceremony and brought me flowers. As I walked into the auditorium with all the people cheering for the graduates, I felt like I was walking into a whole new world.
Today I have my nursing degree and a stable job. My children are reunited with me in a home that can accommodate our whole family.
Thanks to the support of Safe Families, we are living in a whole new world.
If you find yourself in crisis, simply trying to do what's best for your children, know that we're here to help. Host Famililes are willing and ready to support you.