My mother married a man when I was 4. That same year he started sexually molesting me. I remember telling my mom “he touches me in ways I don’t like”, “he makes me uncomfortable”, and even started taking showers are 5 years old to avoid bath time. I have memories telling her this from ages 4-9. She always told me the same thing, “you don’t have to do anything you’re uncomfortable with ever.” And I would always ask, “how do I tell dad no?” and he response was always the same, “you don’t, he’s the adult”.. well by 9 years old I stopped complaining and just did everything in my power to avoid those situations. I also started walking to the church down the street every Sunday even though I hadn’t been raised with religion. Fast forward to 11 years old and my mom comes home early from night classes to find dad “putting me to sleep” except he was exposed trying to get me to service him. She immediately kicked him out and told me everything was going to be ok and I’d never have to do that again. I also have an sister three years older than me who was also being abused but she had learned to capitalize on it. He gave her money, cigarettes, and alcohol. So when he left she had nothing to fill her anymore. My brother who was only a year younger had no idea what was going on or why dad had been forced to move. My mom cried every day, but I felt safe for the first time ever. I felt justified, I was right the whole time! But after only 2 weeks everyone started complaining and wondering when things would “go back to normal”. I was the only reason he wasn’t allowed back. I was uncomfortable, I said no. I was 11 years old and after 3 months of guilt trips from my brother, my sister, and yes even my mother (she was so lonely and “I was breaking her heart”), I caved.. the first year they fought a lot, and we all started going to therapy. Then my mom attacked my sister and me telling us we were sluts and trying to steal her husband. Both my parents basically spent the rest of my teenage years drunk. Both my brother and sister dropped out freshman year in high school. I applied to a Technical school and graduated. Got my first job sophomore year, worked 2 jobs the end of junior year through mid senior year (needed to focus on finals and SATs). I had honors in English and History the whole time, a few As in science and I completely failed Pre-Cal. Not that I didn’t get out unscathed, my dad, who is great at chess btw, would do things, say things, and it would trigger me. I actually wanted what he was offering.. but I wasn’t going down that road. I slept around, a lot. I never had a boyfriend for more than a month. Didn’t believe in love. Still I was looking at a bright future. Got another job out of high school, went to a local community college, and moved out of my parents house, had my first 3 month relationship (we are still friends today). A year of struggle and I lost my financial aid because I had to move to a part-time student in order to pay my bills. Couldn’t’ afford it so dropped out after 2 semesters and only 12 credits to my name. At the time I worked for a mom and pop limo service with my mom. Her and my dad were having trouble paying the bills (my dads sister was getting a divorce and as the ‘head of household’ it was his responsibility to support her and her kids, while supporting my drug addict sister and her 2 kids, and my nana, plus sending money to my brother in the military every week.) I was pressured into quitting my job, moving back in with my folks (those issues were years ago and we can all move on right?) It wasn’t bad, I never saw them. My brother visited over the holiday and his best friend and I hooked up. I got pregnant, boyfriend left me, and brother blamed me for being a slut. Joseph was born 8 months later, and I began my plans to leave. Took my until Joey was a year and a half, and my mother stealing over $1000 from me to try to stop me, but I got on a plane and moved to the other side of the country. Lived peacefully for a couple months before I got my first real boyfriend. He gave me all the things I thought I wanted. He manipulated and used me but I was blind because someone understood me and loved me anyways, or so I thought. Couple months in he’s living with me and I discovered hes a heroin addict. I kicked him out but then it became a 5 year struggle or him being clean, relapsing, becoming an alcoholic, and eventually hitting me. In that time I had a daughter, Evelyn, and both my boyfriend at the time and I had moved to my parents house to save for a house of our own. Being in that house with my daughter triggered so many problems. I finally saw that I was an in an abusive relationship, that it was affecting my son (daughter was only a year at the time while son was 6). I couldn’t stay in that relationship or that house, but bomb shell, I was pregnant again. Broke up with boyfriend, kicked him out, got an abortion (which I’ve always been strongly against). They told me at the clinic to expect depression for about 3 months and to call a number if I needed help. They were right! I died inside, I stopped everything. One day I was contemplating ending my life and realized what a horrible thought it was when I was so blessed to have 2 children that needed me, and if I died they would be stuck with my parents.. I needed space to think and decided the 24 hours should be safe to leave my kids with my mom so I could think clearly. Told my mom, left at 9am and called at 7am to check on my kids and tell my mom my plans to leave for a shelter tonight and file against her husband for the abuse I suffered as a means of recovery, especially considering family has by all accounts completely forgotten that he is a predator. They leave him alone with my nieces constantly and everyone who isn’t related can see that my niece has been abused but my family ignores it. He pays all their bills and is soft spoken, and friendly, runs a business, and goes out of his way to help people. Well at 10am my mother filed for emergency guardianship due to abandonment. When I got there there was an ambulance waiting to take me for 72 hour observation or I could go to jail. WTF right? I called Child Services and begged them to get my children. They agreed but only my dad’s sister was available to take them.. fine just get them to a safe place. I was released Monday morning, homeless, jobless, and no way to get to my kids. In swoops my ex to save the day and give me a place to stay. We agree to work on things and get the kids back. 3 months later I’m pregnant again, hes drinking again, and I’m no closer to my kids. He attacked me while I was driving for throwing his open container out my window. I pressed charges, kept the baby, and lived in my car. Creepy homeless people harassing me so I get a dog. Aunt stops accepting daily calls and files for custody. Now I have to go to court every 3 months. Trying to get a job or housing without an address is extremely difficult. A friend 1 state over by the boarder offered to help so I zip over there to live in her camper. Well her husband didn’t agree and sent me packing but I had no gas so I lived in my car at the Stop and Ride closest to her house at 4 months pregnant. It eventually broke in November. Her brother started helping me out when he could and now we have been together for over a year. We sublease an apartment together only to find out subleasing is illegal and got kicked out. But not before I had Nikolas. When we got kicked out I had a job but no car to get my son to his sitter. My sister, who has been clean for 2 years offered to watch him mon-fri and my mom would drive him back on the weekends. Perfect! Except they never brought him back.. I talked to my sister daily for 3 weeks as my mom gave excuses as to why she couldn’t bring him back. Then one Saturday my sister stopped answering. I called everyone frantically for days. Thursday the next week I got a text from my aunt of a document telling me I needed to be in court Friday morning to dispute the emergency guardianship she filed for Nikolas on Monday.. devastated can’t begin to describe how I felt. I kept working at the dog daycare for a month but quit because the dogs were abused and neglected and I got reprimanded for doing things to make it better. My boyfriend didn’t mind, we were living with his mother and she hated me. Eventually kicked us out., and we bought a camper off a friend and made an agreement with his sisters husband to put it on their property, and use their stove and bathroom. Well that was a nightmare. The brother-in-law was an asshole, first his wife couldn’t work or leave the house because she was a “house-wife” then he couldn’t afford the bills so she had to get a job but still wasn’t allowed out and had zero say in anything. They fight a lot. My boyfriend and I don’t, we are very respectful to eachother and support one another. We have agreed to a classic relationship where I care for everything except making money, and trash, those are his jobs. They got jealous, tried breaking us up multiple times, and went back on their word about the rental situation. It became a legal matter that went in our favor but that was that, we moved to a campground. Now it has been 3 months since I have seen my children because my aunt is ignoring court order knowing I don’t have the means to file contempt with the final hearing for custody coming up at the end of the month. She’s fighting to keep them so my parents can be in their loves as I currently have a restraining order against them. During this whole time my family has slandered me talking about my mental health and how I have problems I need to figure out, duh! But I’m in no way incompetent or a danger to anyone or myself. Just recently I have been receiving messages from distant relatives asking about my drug or alcohol addiction.. I have never once been a drug addict, yes I have tried some BEFORE I was a parent and I smoke weed and cigarettes but nothing else even recreationally. I do drink, but never more than 3x a week and that includes a beer or wine with a meal..and that’s not to say I haven’t gotten drunk in my depression these last few months but again it’s often.. I’m at a complete lose. We save, we are forced to move and are left with nothing. We have had enough to move in to places but because I have a 70lb dog we keep getting denied. I am here to beg for financial assistance in getting a place to live so I can get my children back. So I can keep them safe from my abusive severely diluted family. Please, I am not perfect, I make mistakes as you can see, but I am a good mother, and I love my children more than air. They are my reason for existing. My Savior Joey who gave me direction in life, my light Evelyn, who reminds me of joy in the darkest times, and my gift Nikolas, who was God’s way of reminding me that every day is the present.