Please know all of your love, prayers, kind words, hugs, late night texts, and generous support got us through the last two years. Thank you for being my village.
My name is Jocelyn. I have four fantastic children. GJ, 12 years old, is the wise Big Kid. LJ, 4 years old, is the sunny Little Big Girl. EJ, newly 2 years old, is the sweet Little One and AJ, also newly 2 years old is the spirited Little One- together they are the Super Twinners.
I was married to the Littles' father; a man I thought was my best friend. Sadly, he started to physically and emotionally abuse me around the time I was pregnant with LJ. I became very ill after LJ's birth with a prolonged uterine infection and recurrent pelvic adhesions that were likely compounded by my ex-husband's severe physical abuse of me. Unfortunately, I suspect that my ex-husband started abusing my prescription pain medication around this time.
We separated in January 2011 when I was pregnant with the twins, and spent the next two years in a highly contentious, litigated divorce. Much of our legal fight was centered around making sure the children were safe. For the their protection, my ex-husband was supervised during his visits with the children until roughly Thanksgiving of 2012. Our divorce was final in December of 2012.
Our divorce took all the savings my family and I had, but I had a new job, was getting fair support, and things looked bright. I was hopeful and light about the future and began picking up the pieces.
However, like so many others who must send their children with caregivers they believe are not ideal, I held my breath every time dad had the three Littles. I breathed their scent and covered them in kisses with a sense of urgency when they departed, and I hugged them with the strong arms of a joyful and relieved mother when they returned. I hoped that my fears about the safety of the Littles with their father were exaggerated, but, horrifyingly, my fears turned into reality.
On February 21st, 2013, while the children were with their father, I got the phone call I had been holding my breath for. It was the Unified Police telling me "there's been an accident". My ears rung and my world spiraled, just like they make it seem in the movies. But for the grace of God and the beauty of the Universe, my children are safe and alive.
Based on information from the police and the official police reports, with the three Littles in the car, driving up a steep hill, he veered his car into the oncoming traffic lane, drove over a front yard, hedges, a huge snowpile, and ultimately, a cinder block retaining wall, high-centering the vehicle in place.
He then left the scene of the accident and began walking home with the children in the cold. They children were in their pajamas. LJ was in a sleeveless nightgown.
A Good Samaritan took the Littles home and alerted the police. According to the police and the reports, when the police arrived, my ex-husband proceeded to assault the officers, including taking their Taser and attempting to use it one of officers. After he was in custody, the officer searched him and found drug paraphernalia, including a significant amount of methamphetamine in his pockets.
The police reported that when they went to look for the Littles, they found LJ and EJ in the middle of what was allegedly their father's kitchen meth lab. AJ could not be found right away. After clearing the house for a search, they eventually found AJ hiding under the stairs- likely directly under where the altercation between his father and the police had taken place.
The Littles were decontaminated by the Haz Mat team, and were seen in the ER. Thankfully, they appear to be physically healthy, although many doctors have warned me that we do not know the effect of meth exposure on kids in the long term.
Click here for a news article about the incident.
My ex-husband was booked and jailed under multiple felony offenses. He is currently out of jail pending formal criminal charges. He has not been formally charged, and remains innocent until proven guilty. I have been told by the DA and the police that formal charges will be filed soon.
He stopped paying his court ordered child support and alimony in January. I receive a very small amount of money from his unemployment benefits. He comes from a financially privileged family. Although his family is aware of how dire things are for the children, they have refused them any help.
I work full time as a Nurse Educator at a local hospital, and our household income is just barely over the level to qualify for State Aid or Legal Aid. I believe I have exhausted every possible resource for us, but if you have suggestions, I would love them.
My ex-husband's court ordered financial support provided more than a third of my monthly budget. Without this, my immediate struggle is trying to provide for the children's most basic needs- food, shelter, power and heat. Because of the shortfall in my budget, I am not able to pay all of my vital bills.
Additionally, I have a very urgent need for help with ongoing and accumulating legal fees. The Littles were granted a Protective Order against their father. DCFS investigated and supported the child endangerment charge against him. Recently, the Court ordered us to negotiate the safest way for the Littles to have some contact with their father. I fear, that without adequate legal representation, it is likely that the Littles will again be put in a situation that is potentially dangerous. We also have a pending hearing regarding dad's non-payment of support, but at this time I cannot afford to go forward with it, which will leave the Littles' father without rebuke for financially abandoning our children.
Under the Wish-List, I have listed some items that are non-monetary (although the site made me put a monetary value- which is why they say 6 dollars). We get non-perishable items from a local food bank, but have immediate needs for perishable food (produce, milk, bread, cheese), household supplies (paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies) and diapers. The Littles need some clothing and shoes- please hand-me-downs only- we love hand-me-downs! (UPDATE: we have enough donations of clothing, but could still use shoes) I also have a plumbing issue that is preventing the use of half the bathrooms in the house, so if you are handy, I would love you to take a look. (update: I have a plumber!)
I was recently notified by the Littles' pediatrician's office that they will not continue to see us without me paying the balance due. The Littles have a good relationship with their doctor, and I very much would like to keep a consistent caregiver for them.
I have been selling a lot of our things on KSL and Craigslist. If you have anything sitting around that you think has decent resale value that you would like to donate to me so that I can sell it, I would certainly be grateful.
Clearly, living on the kindness of my community is not a viable long-term plan. I am in the process of revamping my life plan, my career, and our living arrangements to be able to support and raise my children in a manner they deserve without the support of their father or his family. But we need to survive the short term to be able to move on.
Thank you for reading. I know money is tight for so many people, and if what you can afford to give is simply a hug, a text, a prayer, or kind thought towards my Littles, I will be sincerely grateful.
Please note, that while I would love to be able to thank each of you publicly, you have the option of donating anonymously. If you would prefer to donate directly either to my attorney, or to my bills, please let me know and I will send contact information.
*photo credit for our beautiful portraits goes to the lovely, kind, and talented Jen Fauset of www.fausetphotography.com If you are in Utah or Arizona, you need her to do your photos for sure :-)
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