please help us help them

We are a single income family, I  work for the DOTand am also in the NYS Air National Guard.  I have been serving in the Air Force for 14 years, 10 years active duty and the rest in the guard.  We have the perfect family two kids of our own Bentley (4), Harper (1), and my children are very fortunate that my wonderful wife can stay home to raise them. For the past three years we have had many things go on in our life that we didn’t expect to have to take on at our age and during our short time being married with two small children.  My sister in law has been battling a terrible addiction to heroin that has landed her in jail.  She is a single mother to four children, Makenzie (age 14), Hailey (age 12), Sadie (age 9) and Nolan (age 8).   My wife and I are all they have.  Three years ago, Michelles sister went to jail for doing heroin.  When she was in jail for 6 months and we took the children because the judge asked use too while she was being detained.  During that time, we tried to get assistance for the children and were told that we make too much money and didn’t qualify.  We at that time drained our savings account and picked and choose which bills to pay to make sure we could keep the power on, mortgage paid and food on the table.  These were very tough times for such a young family. We couldn’t find it in our hearts to let the children go into the system and into foster care when this was not any of their faults, and because this is what you do for family!  When my sister in law got out of jail she moved into our house because her house was foreclosed on while in jail. This lasted for another year, 9 people in one house with one bathroom!  We made it happen, through many long trips for the military, working and going to school, Michelle kept the family together and made everyone stronger.  During this time, we had two vehicles, an SUV and a car that we leased and could manage to get everyone around with these two vehicles.  After they moved out we tried to catch up on our bills and give our children the life that they deserve and that we owed them because you are only a child once.  We had to get rid of the car and I bought a truck (2001 ford ranger) so we didn’t have two car payments.  Fast forward 7 months to this September when my wife received a phone call from CPS (Child Protective Services here in Monroe County).  The CPS worker stated that my sister in law was back on heroin and the children were not safe in her custody because of her drug use and their living conditions.   The CPS worker stated that we could take them or they would be going into foster care that day and she could not guarantee that they would be kept together.  So of course, again we said we would take the children in to keep them out of the system and try and give them a better life.  A life that innocent children we believe deserve. When the children arrived at our house, they didn’t have any clothes due to them being sold or just so dirty that they could not be cleaned or worn to school.  Children should not have to worry about where they can get clean clothes or food and that is what these children have been doing for years upon years.  My wife and I took out a loan against my Ford Ranger so we could get the children clothes and shoes and so we could pay bills because yet again our family grew by 4.  My sister in law had to sign over temporary custody to us and we became their legal guardian yet again.  We have gone through every avenue to try to figure out how to get assistance for the children and our family but we are always told that we make too much money.   We would in the past have my mother in law help us get everyone to places that we needed to get to but my father in law has been battling stage four cancer  and it is getting worse so it is hard for my mother in law to leave the house for extended amounts of time. We have looked into getting a minivan or an SUV that has three rows that would transport everyone around but we cannot afford one at this time and are just scraping by to keep the essentials on the table.   
Any help would be greatly appreciated and would help more than you would know.
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Michelle Baker 
Rochester, NY
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