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My Stomach was in Knots but it is Okay

by

Written on Tuesday…

For the first time EVER in my life, I had to meet with someone and tell them I could not take care of my family.  I had to go to the same building that I visited so many times as a foster parent and later adoptive parent full of pride that I was doing something to give back, something good and right, and admit that I was a failure.  I had to look at a woman in the eye and in essence say “I’ve failed to prepare for this situation by not saving and by using my money un-wisely.”  It was the worst feeling EVER.

And what a lesson.  I hate this situation.  I hate that my decisions brought me here.  I cringe at admitting what a failure I am.  But if the last year and then have taught me anything, it’s that I AM going to do better.

In no way shape form or fashion am I making excuses, but the one thing that helped me get through this morning while I was turning in shot records, leases, bank statements to what turned out to a extremely compassionate worker was that this is temporary.  I will get another job.  I will choose more wisely where my career path takes me.  I will make better money choices, even better than the ones I have started to make.  And more importantly, I WILL give back.

I do not deserve the support my community has given me and yet people have reached out offering Thanksgiving meals, help with Christmas and just words of encouragement.  But I do know that when I am back on my feet, the first thing I am going to do is find someone who has entered a dark time and reach out to them as so many have to me.

I will find out in a few days if/what assistance we qualify for, and I’ve been told that I have 10 days after I get my first paycheck to report a change in status.  I continue to seek the next step in this transition.

(And just a side note: I just completed my first of two phone interviews scheduled for today…and the second interview is scheduled for Friday.  I am counting on God to steer me as I step out in faith to follow what He has for me next rather than what I would choose.  Use me, send me…that is my prayer.)


14 Comments

  • Reply Jodi |

    Impressed by your courage! You are doing what you need to and that’s the way it should be. I hope you keep writing here, your story is very relevant to many people/families. Your end game is still to be debt free, but you are facing real obstacles and I appreciate your honesty. I hope things improve financially for your family soon!! Best of luck!

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you, Jodi. I know you are right, I see the plights of other families every day on Facebook and in the news. You just don’t think it will ever get that bad for you. I didn’t think it would ever get this bad for me.
      But there is a silver lining and many, many life lessons yet for me to learn as my eyes are opened every day, especially now that I have time to really pay attention to what is going on around me rather than rushing from one obligation to another.
      I will continue to share, just because I know that knowing I am not alone makes all the difference in the world as I encounter struggles that frankly, just make me want to give up. I imagine there are others that need to know that others are going through the same struggles and more importantly overcoming those struggles. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other.

  • Reply Shauna |

    Hope you are not a failure, I know it may feel that way. You are working very hard to not only work through many financial issues of the past, but to make a great loving life for your children. Plus you’re doing it as a single mother, you don’t have the benefit of another adult there on your team to let you know you are doing a great job. This struggle you are going through will only bring your family closer, and make things that much more wonderful when the tides do change. I wish you luck on getting the best job for you and your family.

    • Reply Jen From Boston |

      Absolutely! And, as I told a friend who felt too proud to collect unemployment during the Dot Bomb, this situation is WHY we have unemployment and welfare! It is there to help you through the rough patches.

      You and your family will get through this. I faith in that.

      • Reply Hope |

        Thank you, Jen. You are very right…we have paid into the system, I have paid in the system. This is a temporary measure. And will make me that much more compassionate to others in the future!

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you, Shauna. You are right about he lack of another adult and the positive support they could provide in this type of situation. I’ve been hearing alot lately about the plight of the single parent in America, a population that is growing exponentially. The largest struggle these studies show for single parents…loneliness and isolation. That is SO true!
      This community, both the good and the bad, have been a lifeline for me in some truly dark days. I am SO grateful for that.

  • Reply Katie |

    Hope! He has called you by name 😉 May you have hope in this dark space. There are so many people who have lost tenderness toward people in need and genuinely struggling. As we all journey toward financial freedom (and make successful steps toward that goal) it is so easy to get arrogant and prideful about our accomplishments. This is such a growing experience because you are choosing to view it as such. I am SO glad you shared this!!

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you, Katie. I am ashamed that it has taken me such a tragedy to let my heart light shine. I think this community saw my heart early on for foster kids, but I definitely cowed to their wisdom in that aspect due to finances, which was the right move. But even in my financial plight then and now there were things I could be doing to show His grace and love. Things I didn’t take the time to do, I got so caught up in my pride, my to do lists…Now i have the time and my heart light will not be dimmed again, no matter what the next job situation might be.
      Habukkuk 3:17-19
      Though the fig tree does not bud
      and there are no grapes on the vines,
      though the olive crop fails
      and the fields produce no food,
      though there are no sheep in the pen
      and no cattle in the stalls,
      18
      yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
      I will be joyful in God my Savior.

      19
      The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
      he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
      he enables me to tread on the heights.

  • Reply Joe |

    Hope, I wish you all the best and I’m sure that your resourcefulness and efforts will pull through in the end. Your willingness to consider a corporate job marks at least the third major lifestyle change (housing and car situations being the others) in this debt payoff journey so I applaud you for that.
    My only advice is the same as I’ve given in the past: I think you need to make more conservative financial decisions to consolidate your gains from the three lifestyle changes above. In practice, this comes down to saving a substantial “pile of cash”, for lack of a better term, of at least $20,000 and preferably twice that given that you have four children in your care. From that point, you will be in a true position of strength to make more substantial long-term decisions such as purchasing a house, etc. (Note that I still likely would not advocate for that but at least it would not seem as nearly a risky decision).

  • Reply Connie |

    I second all the above sentiments. Hope, if you have a food bank in your area, you can frequently get free food for a small donation of time. I also used to participate in a program called Shares run by Catholic Charities whereby I paid $13/share and received at least twice that much in groceries, including some meat items (mostly kielbasas or polish, chicken and hot dogs) but meat is meat. This isn’t really the season to be planting stuff, and I know your yard is pretty small, but gleaning is another source. It’s basically finding people who have an over-abundance of something – think citrus, nuts, apples – at this time of year and are willing to give it away if you pick it. You could make it an outing for the kids as well. Try Craigslist. Even do a Wanted ad of your own. Bakery stores are another great source. My local Rainbow outlet sells great bread 4/$5. Even Thomas’s English muffins are that price although at the store they’re more like $4.95. And it’s not day old either. They get deliveries of all the overstock that the local stores can’t fit on the shelves. Check it out. Make the food stamps work hard!

  • Reply Kate |

    Hope I would not beat yourself up saying you didn’t prepare! All this time you have been blogging, you have been preparing for the unexpected and building a stronger foundation for your family. You’re on the right track.

  • Reply Tomorrowsomewherenew |

    It sounds like you have this situation under control (although it may not seem like it). You’re actively looking for work, you’ve checked out what benefits you are eligible for, and you’re getting through the day. We all know it will take a while to get a new position lined up. I think you need to relax a bit and ease up on yourself.

    I’m also glad you’ve given these kids a stable family. It might not be perfect, but I would bet they are glad to be where they are.

  • Reply Cathy D |

    Not sure if you have considered signing up with a temp agency or not, but they could provide you with a temp to perm position. You have lots of skills and the pay is pretty good. The temp agency I work for offers health benefits, so just a suggestion. Keep up the good work and don’t give up! You’re such a great example to your children at how to handle adversity. They will remember your strength when they go through tough times as adults. You’re all in this together and it will be a great learning experience.

  • Reply Katie |

    I’ll echo and say please don’t beat yourself up. Look at where you were when you started this journey. If you’d experienced this job loss then, you would have been in a much worse position. You’ve made a lot of difficult decisions and put yourself on a path that leads to security. I’m hopeful that this is just a very short blip.

So, what do you think ?