I just registered for the last of my college classes. I just have to do one class, and then I’m finished.
My oldest daughter, who is now in college, asked me just last week, “Mom, are you going to do the nursing program again?” I started and then I stopped when she was younger. I think I’m going to do that too, the nursing. When your kids are asking you to do something, I think you need to step up to the plate, and go ahead and do it.
I had been in a domestic violence relationship for years. I just let it go on and go on until it got to a point where my kids got older, and they started seeing it. It was going to end with me being killed or hurt, or my kids hurting their father because they had seen what was going on. I have a daughter, she’s 14, that said she was going to do something to him because she was tired of it.
The last time he put his hands on me, my youngest son saw it. I realized I can’t keep doing this. It got worse because he felt like I was bettering myself for me, and not for my family. He got scared that once I got into the real world, I was going to up and leave. He wanted me to be a stay-at-home mom, cater to him, and not have a life.
“It felt like their door was always open.”
When I came to the Safe Families Office, the whole staff was just outstanding. I felt fear of what was coming next, because I had never been through the process before. Once I got there, they explained everything, gave me whatever I needed, and if they could be there for me, they were. They were there, and they were so supportive. I had somebody there for me that was not my family. The Safe Families Office, now I consider them my family.
It felt like their door was always open. You can go in and talk to them about anything. I had to go to court four or five times through the whole process of the Temporary Protective Order because he didn’t want to pay child support. My attorney went out of her way so many times for me. She was always there to go above and beyond the call of her duty.
I was at work one day, and she called and left a message. She said, “It’s not anything to do with the TPO, but give me a call when you can.” When I called her, she let me know that Safe Families wanted to adopt my family for Christmas. Not knowing that I was crying on the phone because I didn’t know how I was going to get Christmas for my kids. When they showed up at my home a week before Christmas, it was great – pretty much everything that was on the list the kids got. I didn’t have to buy anything. I thank them for that, too, because I didn’t know how I was going to have Christmas for the kids.
“I am trying to do better for myself first
to make it better for them. It’s something I’m learning. At 43, I’m learning, and I’m going to keep on learning, both for my kids
It’s different having to learn how to fend for yourself. Before, I was pretty much a stay-at-home mom. But now I’m trying to be independent, even though I still go through things. But it’s up to me to make sure that my family is safe. It’s up to me to make sure my family has a roof over their head, and to make sure food is on the table.
I am trying to do better for myself first to make it better for them. I have a life now. It’s something I’m learning. At 43, I’m learning, and I’m going to keep on learning, both for my kids and myself.
I have a co-worker who is going through the same thing, and I’ve been telling her the process of how to do it. I said, “If you need anything, just go down to Fulton County Safe Families Office, and they will assist you further.” I don’t know if she went or not, but I always say that if someone comes to me – and I don’t know why people think I’m the person they’re comfortable talking to – I tell them what I’ve been through. A lot of people are ashamed or afraid. I let her know what I’ve been through.
I told her, if you need help, help is out there.
In 2017, Fulton County cut funding entirely to legal services for survivors of domestic violence. The county’s decision created a $100,000 gap in critical funding for AVLF. We ask that you consider helping us to close that gap so that we can continue to provide these critical services.