Sharing stories of recovery and personal journeys through care takes a great deal of courage and self-awareness on the part of the story-teller. They share these very personal words not wanting to elicit pity or sympathy, but, rather, in hopes that those who hear their words will be able to relate; that they will see their own struggles or the struggles of their loved ones reflected back at them through eyes of compassion and understanding. Sharing impact stories like these becomes a powerful dialog between those in our care and those who support that care. And we love igniting these kinds of conversations.
We’d like to introduce you to Ashlee, a local mom of three who has been served through FCNI’s Bringing Families Home program, a program which houses homeless families as the last step in a family’s reunification plan. Below, Ashlee shares her journey in care and the impact of support in her and her children’s lives.
Hi, my name is Ashlee. I am almost 33 years old. I am a single mother of 3. I have a 12 year old son who currently lives in Missouri with his dad, a 5 year old daughter and a 4 year old son who are with me every other week.
After 3 years of what I thought was a perfect relationship, my kids' dad relapsed and introduced me to meth. I was 29 years old. For a while I would do it here and there, but after he went to prison, I was on my own with a 15 month old and a newborn and I was drowning. Using was the only thing that kept me from breaking but it was slowly ruining my life. A couple months after their dad had gone to prison I met someone who I thought had my best interest in mind. He put a needle in my arm.
After that my life fell apart fast. I lost my job, my car, and then my home of 7 years. My kids and I were staying in shelters and I was trying to get into Bryan's House but due to the house being full I never got in. Eventually I got kicked out of the shelter and was arrested, and my kids were taken from me. I went to a sober living facility and was doing the parenting group at Drug and Alcohol but when my oldest son’s dad was granted custody of him and moved him to Missouri, I relapsed. I was kicked out of sober living and was back on the streets for about 3 months. My counselors at POEG finally forced me to go to rehab. That was May 29th 2019, which is my clean date. I did 90 days in rehab and then moved to Gryphon in Paso. I was there for a little over 8 months.
I remember in POEG them telling us about this program that we could get into called Bringing Families Home. At the time, I just said sure sign me up, not really knowing how much it would change my life. I remember meeting with Holly and her telling me all the things they did; but everything I needed to do and all the paperwork I needed to get was overwhelming and I just thought is this really worth it? The shut down due to Covid had just happened and I went 3 months without being able to see my babies. And right when I started to lose hope, Holly called to let me know that she found me a place and I was moving in in a week!
When I had lost my home, I lost EVERYTHING. Being able to move into a new home was great, but BFH helped me buy everything my kids and I needed and that was the greatest gift. My kids got brand new beds and their own dressers. I got matching pots and pans!
My life before drugs was good, but going through the things I went through and getting to where I am today with the help of Bringing Families Home, my life is way better than I could have ever imagined. I just bought my first new car with my own hard earned money. I am able to buy things for my kids whenever they need them without worrying if I'll be able to make rent or have enough gas. And it’s all because of my hard work and the help of this amazing program.
Thank you for inviting me to come share my journey with you.
For more information on how you can support families like Ashlee’s, please email our CRD team at firstname.lastname@example.org