Can you imagine having 5 children and being homeless?
That was me three years ago.
I was in a marriage where I had been abused--- emotionally, physically, and sexually. I lived everyday in fear. Fear made me try to leave. Fear made me stay. How could I leave all I knew behind and be able to take care of my children and myself?
I got up the courage to free us from this nightmare and went to a domestic violence shelter but my abuser tracked us down, and I knew I needed to get further away.
I contacted the YWCA Weaver Domestic Violence Center to get help. I was so scared. It was so very hard to leave my home and the rest of my family but I knew they could not keep me safe. When I arrived at the shelter, they welcomed me with open arms. My children and I were now safe.
It certainly was an adjustment for all of us. We were used to having our own home, our own routine. I worked hard to help my children adjust to this new situation. I was apprehensive and kept second-guessing myself—Had I done the right thing? My children had been traumatized by the abuse. Was I causing them more pain? The counseling my children and I received at the shelter was so important to getting us on the road to recovery. I found out that it is true that children are a lot more resilient than you think.
We settled in. The children went to school and I got a job as a waitress. I had skills to work in the medical field; however I was still fearful that if a background check was done, my abuser would find me.
With the help and support of the YWCA, my life was going in a new direction. I was not going back. All I wanted was a normal, stable life for my kids, and I was willing to work at it to make it happen. My determination was evident to the staff. I met the criteria and qualifed for YWCA Transitional Housing. The program subsidizes rent and utilities for a year, My family and I were able to move out of the shelter into our own home. We were able to be together and to start all over again.
My case manager in transitional housing helped me change my identity. We were given the opportunity for a new life. I have been out of transitional housing for two years now have a full time job in the medical field and a part time job selling Mary Kay cosmetics. The kids are doing well in school. We are building the rest of our lives. The YWCA has supported me in all of this. Most recently, my two oldest children took the GED® practice test at the YWCA and learned that they were ready to take their GED®. My 21 year old son passed the GED® exam and is now working. My daughter is working to sharpen her math skills and will take the exam soon.
I have come so far, I would dare say I am almost normal. Single parenting 5 kids – well, I don’t recommend it but there are signs that I might be doing a good job. It is so nice to see my kids growing up with normal problems not coping with violence in their home.
My family has been served by three different YWCA programs – shelter, transitional housing AND the GED® program!!
There will always be fear and memories of the past. But now, thanks to the YWCA I am free – free to watch my children grow up in a peaceful home with hopes and plans for a bright future. What more could a mother ask for?