I moved to Athens Georgia. I figured that since I had to start over anyway, at least I could do it without people’s opinions, judgments and lack of support. I didn’t need anyone watching me struggle to get back on my feet.
I did what I knew how to do, I went to Georgia and found shelter. I had bought a car after the court case since I now was not paying for anything, there was nothing left to save. I told the kids we were going on an adventure and we were searching for a better and more perfect home. I wanted to believe that so badly. It had been exactly ten years since I had lived in a shelter and things had changed since then. On top of that, I was in a whole new different environment and out of my element.
I had never lived outside of Ohio and became homesick pretty quickly. I tried to look at the bright side, but it was dark on that side too. After a couple of months, I wanted to come back to Ohio, but I had nowhere to go. Pearl and Pa were worried about us. I was worried too. I called my family and they said we could come and stay with them temporarily; it would be tight but that we would work it out. I had not lived with my family since I was 18 years old.
I was now 32 years old. I came back to Ohio determined to get back on my feet and stabilize my children’s surroundings. I was grateful I had a place to stay but I knew it was an unsafe and unhealthy place for adults, let alone kids.
I immediately got busy with a new goal and action steps to get there. I was getting older and so were the kids. They deserved more than what I was offering them. I needed a job asap. Then I needed to stack some cash, and get a house.
I had a stable work history, so I was able to get employed with the county. It was Monday through Friday, so the kids were in school and daycare. After I would get off work and pick them up, we would do our regular, attending libraries, parks, museums, McDonald’s playhouse or wherever I could go to stay out from my family’s home until it was time for the kid’s bedtime routine.
My kids slept on the couch and I had a bed in a walk-through room with the baby. I worked fervently to get back up to where I fell from. As a worker for the county, I would do home visits for families dealing with abuse or neglect. I would transport my clients to and from appointments and visits.
I had one family on my caseload who lived at the bottom of my old street where my home had been foreclosed on. I would ride past my house and see how it was all boarded up, weeds high and the house abandoned and uncared for, dam near dilapidated. This went on for months. I started investigating why my house was in that condition and who was responsible for it.
My job was paying well, and I saved enough money to rent a house in West Park. I tried to forget about my house. It was my past. I had lost it to the foreclosure. It was over. At my new rental, I was making it work with what I had. I now had a bankruptcy on my credit history, so I was basically lucky the landlord let me rent from him. Despite the fact I had a “good” job, I had experienced a foreclosure, basically I was a loser on paper. He wasn’t a great landlord but at least he wasn’t bothering me, and it was important to get the kids back in a healthy environment that I was in control of…