I praise God for your call today. I felt like I was at the end of my rope trying to figure out something for the holiday and especially food for my family.
As I stated before in my earlier email, I am a single parent/grandparent. My oldest daughter who lives with me has autism. I am also raising my 12 year old twin grandsons and their baby brother who will be a year old on Christmas. Their mother is currently in prison. She is bi-polar and therefore has inflicted abuse on her two oldest children. The baby was born in prison. I found your information on the United Way 211 website and noticed that you help victims of domestic violence. Then I received your email reply that your help extends beyond domestic violence.
Here is my story. I will try to be brief...
My name is SO and I am a domestic violence survivor. I was sexually abused by my father and physically abused by my husband. After living in shelters and getting counseling, I left my abusive husband with my own three little girls and my step daughter. I eventually obtained permanent custody of my step daughter and gave her my name. I worked as a case manager for a domestic violence agency in Illinois for a few years before I moved home to Georgia.
My oldest daughter (step-daughter) is Fanta. She is living on her own, about to be married and has a baby boy. My oldest daughter is Becky who has Autism; she lives with me. My middle daughter is Rhoda, self-employed beautician and has four children. They live with me. My youngest daughter Centhia is in prison, she has three children. Her children live with me.
My youngest daughter Centhia is bi-polar. I tried everything within the law and medical resources to get help for her. Unfortunately, it seemed that nothing helped. Events in her early life has led her to the state she is in now. When she was only 13 years old, she was a victim of child pornography.
The scars led her into a reckless life of promiscuity that I could not, as a mother control. I failed in that area. Somehow, through all the supervision I thought I was enforcing, she became pregnant. But the emotional chaos that occurred from the sexual abuse of the child pornography and the early pregnancy somehow made her mind snap. Throughout her pregnancy, she tried to harm herself. We prayed and by the grace of God, the twins were born healthy (with the exception of Asthma). Their names are Abraham and Aaron.
However, because of Centhia's fragile mind, she was succumbed to violent behavior against herself, me and more drastically, her children. I obtained guardianship of Abraham and Aaron and sought help for her. Throughout the years, she has been in and out of jail.
Due to her violence, my home was damaged beyond what I could repair, my finances suffered and we lost our home. The last move we made was due to the incident that led my daughter Centhia into being arrested and sent to prison. In a fit of rage, she attacked and injured my disabled daughter, Becky.
My middle daughter Rhoda removed the children from the room. It was the efforts of one of the twins, Aaron that helped us when he called 911. The result was her prison sentence. The drastic thing about that was her pregnancy. She is not due to be released until next June 2014. Hopefully with some mental health treatment.
Damage to the rental unit, embarrassment from the violence, all of which led us to move again. This move was unfortunately into non-livable situation. It was during this time, in December of 2012 that things got worse. The condo we lived in flooded and we were displaced. Then, I got a call from the hospital that the Centhia had her baby. His name is Elijah, he was born on Christmas day. We moved in with my mother and sister for a couple of weeks, until my middle daughter Rhoda got an apartment. We lived for a month or two with her until a homeless agency helped me to obtain a house for rent not far from my job.
Later, Rhoda had a baby and due to mistakes from her delivery, she almost died. God's Grace allowed her to live. She now has four children, all boys. She recuperated at my house and therefore lost her apartment. So now, there are 7 children and 3 adults living in my home.
The story sounds possibly exaggerated however it is true. I don't know why things have been this way. I only believe that one day, my experience will help someone who needs us.
I am a paraprofessional at Columbia High School. Although my salary is not much, I appreciate my job. I truly know that things are going to get better. But in the meantime, I need help. As an adult, it seems unbearable at times, but for children, its just too much for them. I need help for them. Aaron and Abraham have not seen their mother Centhia since last December, before she had baby Elijah. Elijah only saw his mother for two days after his birth.
I didn't know what we were going to do for Thanksgiving. My sister invited us over, expecting us to bring food with us. I don't have anything to bring. Even more so, we have been eating from day to day. Most times, I don't even eat. Last night, at Aaron and Abraham's conference at school, the custodian gave them a box of pizza. It had 5 slices in it. They each ate one and split one, saving 2 slices for me. I knew they were still hungry but they refused to eat and said to share with Jan for dinner. Aaron and Abraham go around the neighborhood raking leaves to get money to help at home. They usually play basketball but this year I did not have the money to pay for their fees. They seem ok with that. They have learned to survive and be grateful with whatever we have to accept.
My God daughter took Rhoda's kids to a friend's house to eat. So, I shared the pizza with Rhoda and Jan. I had no idea what we were going to eat today but God moved the teacher that I work with to give me $40 this morning when I arrived to school for work and told me where to go buy a turkey really cheap. Now I have money for food and gas money to get to the store. Then.. out of nowhere it seemed, I got a call from you. I am overwhelmed at God's Grace. He sees my needs and sends me help when I least expect it.
Thank you for reading my story. May God bless you in all that you do to help others. I pray to do the same someday soon.