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My Love for My Daughter by Marie

The day CPS took my daughter from me is the day I felt as though my entire life had entirely crumbled around me. I remember feeling angry and helpless, the one person who meant more than anything in the world to me was taken and gone in a second. I remember blaming anyone or anything I could possibly pin blame on, it all seemed so unfair. It wasn’t until three years later that I not only started taking accountability, but healing from the trauma of losing my daughter and my addiction.

My addiction, though, had nothing to do with substance. I wasn’t addicted to drugs or alcohol; I was addicted to a person. My daughter’s father.  I can’t remember a time in our entire relationship that was good. Or at least okay. We were together several years. I was young, very naïve, and unable to see how manipulative and mentally abusive he was initially. This I think is my biggest regret looking back. Had I have recognized how damaging the mental and emotional abuse truly were earlier, I would’ve spared myself, as well as my daughter from the repercussions of things getting worse. And they did.

It wasn’t until I had brought a child into the world that I felt like something was wrong with my relationship. My mental health was hanging on by threads and I was gradually losing myself every passing day that I spent with him. I wasn’t happy with myself or in general but at the time I thought once my child was born, it was too late to escape. I’d accepted that I had brought a child into the world with a man who, despite my deep love for him, would never love or respect me in return. The more I stayed though, the worse it got. I’d reached a point of being comfortable with many forms of abuse, I’d accepted all of it. I was under the impression things couldn’t possibly get worse. And yet they did.

It wasn’t until the end of our relationship when things had escalated to physical abuse. My daughter’s father had formed an addiction to meth and things went from bad to worse. He was paranoid, delusional and violent. It started gradually, he would hit and choke me occasionally. I would lie and cover up the abuse, of course. One night though, despite me being certain there was no possible way he could hurt me more than he already had, he did. He, in a meth induced psychosis, had convinced himself that I had been unfaithful. It wasn’t true. I was entirely faithful to him, embarrassingly so, but there was nothing I could say or do to reassure him of this. He locked me in our house that night. He tortured and beat me for hours, I almost did not survive that night. Accepting and grieving my own death was one of the most absurd concepts I’ve ever experienced but I am grateful to have lived through that night.

Once I had fled our house and felt safe enough to speak up about my family was quick in notifying authorities and CPS of everything that had happened that night. My daughter was taken from her dad immediately and placed with me. Despite the abuse and nearly losing my life though, I went back to him, temporarily. This led to the single most heart breaking and painful thing I had ever experienced: losing my daughter. She remained in state’s custody for about two years. It was in that time that I truly dwelled on the mother I had been to her and lost myself even more. There are no words that could appropriately describe the amount of guilt I felt for everything she’d gone through. If I had been stronger for her, left the abusive relationship for her, she wouldn’t have gone through everything she had at such a young age. That is something I still am having trouble forgiving myself for. Reminiscing on the mother I had been to her was discouraging and I struggled to fight to get her back because of low self-worth. I had reached, without a doubt, the lowest point in life I have ever been through. And then I came to A Ray of Hope.

I arrived at A Ray of Hope in early May. I had heard about it from my Aunt Nikkia, who manages Peggy’s House, and I was told living there would give me the best chance at getting my daughter back before the state moved forward with termination of my parental rights. I quickly realized how right Nikkia was. A Ray of Hope, the first few weeks I arrived here, was quick to not only provide resources to help me jump through any hoop mandated by the department but advocated for me and the progress I had made since I had been here. It was then that my case started progressing rapidly. I was seeing my daughter more often, supervised visitation had turned into unsupervised and I was allowed to keep her overnight. Not only was I getting closer to getting my daughter back but I could feel myself growing as a person. I was healing from the trauma of my past relationship and not having my daughter home for a few years. I had stopped placing the blame of my problems on others and started taking accountability. Before I knew it, the department began the transition in placing my daughter back with me.

In June, after two long and devastating years without my daughter, she was placed back with me full time. The love and support staff and guests showed for Amaya was instant. I am beyond grateful for the patience and understanding both of us were given. The transition in her coming home, although greatly anticipated and by far one of my greatest achievements, was difficult. However, I never felt alone. Being in such a positive, uplifting environment made a somewhat difficult situation much more bearable. When my daughter was placed with me, I had to essentially relearn how to be a mother to her and build our bond back. I could not be more appreciative for every bit of advice I’d received. The chance at a happy, healthy lifestyle entirely made possible by A Ray of Hope. They’ve helped in holding me accountable and I am doing better more than I could have ever imagined.

It is currently January, and my daughter has been home with me for six months. Our lives are slowly but surely being pieced back together. As of November 4, my CPS case is completely dismissed and out of both of our lives. This is something that, a year ago, hadn’t felt possible. I had almost completely given up hope before I moved into Peggy’s House. They have made me realize just how important a phenomenal support system is, especially through the darkest of time. I could only imagine how differently my CPS case would’ve ended without the guidance of A Ray of Hope. My daughter and I will continue to flourish and this opportunity would have been nearly impossible without them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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