I am CPS involved, and have completed all the requirements to regain custody of my son. Right now my son is with an amazing foster family, but due to circumstances they are no longer able to keep him (as of July 5th). We are down to the wire.
I am looking to raise enough to secure rent for two months (including move in expenses) in order to provide stable housing for my little boy. Once he is back in my custody I will have access to other funding sources allowing me to focus on his needs, as well as pursuing my Bachelor's degree.
I was awarded custody back, as soon as I have my own place. Since then, I have spent at least six hours, every day with my son, and when I'm not with him I have been exhausting every possible resource I could find. And still have not been able to provide a place to live that is suitable for my son to come live with me.
Cash is going to be 6 years old in August. He is severely developmentally disabled, and possibly Autistic. It was extremely traumatic for to experience being moved from my home and into the system. Luckily, he has made great strides while living with the family who has had him this last year. But for him to have to endure another move into a home that he is not familiar with, would set him back, and very possibly cause him much damage. He has had to go through too much already, due to my mistakes. I am not willing to let this happen again.
So this is my story:
Two years ago my best friend was moving to Texas, and we went out for one last night out. Well I've learned that for me, after a couple drinks, everything sounds like a good idea, and that's how this all started.
Then a year later CPS took my son. Unfortunately it took me a year after that to stop doing drugs.
That's not because I didn't want to. For me, it was circumstantial. I was in an extremely toxic relationship.
It began almost six years ago, right after my son was born. I got post-partem depression, and was in total denial of it. I'm not the kind of person who gets depressed. Sad yes, but I've never been so down that I couldn't get out of it.
That, accompanied with mental and emotional abuse, continued for four years before I started doing drugs. This resulted in me just shutting down. I literally felt like I couldn't get out . . . I had been wanting to for so long already.
When CPS came into my life, at first it just pushed me down further. Which is why it took me so long to get my court ordered services done. It was a vicious circle of abuse and denial that I ignored using drugs, which led to more depression.
Everyday I cried, just praying for help to get out.
Out of everything: That house, my relationship, the drugs, the people, and the life of unhappiness that was completely out of character for me.
I just wanted to be me again.
So when I went in to get my drug and alcohol assessment, the counselor asked me how I felt about in-patient. I replied "It's not my favorite idea". But she suggested that the odds were not in my favor to stay in my current situation to get clean and stay clean. I couldn't argue with that. So I agreed to in-patient treatment.
It only took two weeks for me to get a bed date. And by that time, I was completely sold on the idea. It had occured to me that this was my opportunity to get out. So I packed all my stuff and put it in storage. My mind was made up. I would leave for treatment and never look back.
Right before I left for treatment, we had court and the department was recommending adoption. That was it. No more would I let my circumstances control my life.
The day came for me to leave and I was running for the bus. I don't think anyone has ever been so excited to go to treatment. The moment I stepped onto that greyhound bus, my life changed.
I felt like a huge weight was lifted. I went to Sundown Ranch for treatment and loved it. Their whole process is well thought out and I benefitted greatly from it.
The clearer I got, the stronger in my mission I became. And minute by minute, I was coming back to being me. The person I hadn't seen in so many years.
That is where my ambition comes from. The determinedness not to lose who I am, for anyone or anything, ever again.
I am an extremely strong individual, who isn't swayed by what others do or think. I make my own path, and I am using this opportunity to start fresh. To create a life for myself, and offer my son access to every resource available. To ensure he has every opportunity to succeed in life. This is my mission.
I left for treatment on April 1st, 2017. With a serious possibility of losing my parental rights. I returned on April 20th, 2017, having completed in-patient.
I came back and had no place to live, there was no funding anywhere. So I had no choice but to return to my ex's house.
On April 21st, I called everyone and set up all my appointments. I started IOP that next Wednesday.
I spent every minute getting stuff done, researching resources, going to appointments, and attending meetings. The only time I was there was to sleep.
But even that ended up being too much for me to deal with.
I wasn't the same person I was when I left, and that life was now unacceptable to me, and his manipulations no longer worked. It only took about a week and half before I'd had it, and I decided I would rather live in my car, then be in that situation.
So into my car I went. A week and a half after that I was connected to a man who ran a clean and sober house, who told me to get my stuff out of my car, that I no longer needed to live that way.
Since moving in there, I got set up to go to college. I plan on starting this fall and I will be pursuing my degree in Psychology.
On June 14th, 2017, I graduated IOP, a month and a half early.
June 15th, 2017 was my last court date. On that day the judge ordered my son to return home to me, as soon as I get my own place. My attorney said he'd never seen a case have such a complete turn around, in such a short time.
Due to the chaos of communal living, I am once again living in my car. I moved out of the clean and sober house on June 23rd. After management, on the spur of the moment, moved all the girls into a much smaller house.
There was just too much unnecessary chaos, and I have too much real life stuff to manage. I need calm and sleep in my life and this was not happening. And I am not willing to risk my son or my sobriety, just for a place to stay.
Over and over again, since I've been back from treatment. I should've relapsed (At least according to statistics). But I didn't! Because I want a life, and one with my child in it.
I have no desire to get high. My new drug is getting stuff done. Because the feeling of success is a far better feeling than any drug could ever produce!!!
Today, I am a better, stronger version of myself, and I owe this to CPS. They saved my life. If they hadn't come into my life, I would probably still be stuck in that toxic relationship, and my son would still only be getting the "surface" me. They gave me the "out" I had been praying for.
I don't take this opportunity for granted. I see all the wonderful things that happen when you are on the right track.
Today I have 93 days clean. I have been doing everything in my power to get my son back. This is the end, but yet it feels like the hardest part of all.
This opportunity would give us a chance for reunification and provide both of us the stability we need to succeed.
This is MY chance to make things right for my little man. I can't let him down again. There are no words to express what this means to both of us.
I live to be "right".
To do the "right" things.
For the "right" reasons.
Because I can.
To lead by example.
To show it CAN BE DONE!!!
- Perry Frantzman
- Pat Strayer
- Liberty Aldrich
- Kelli W
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