My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD in November last year. A few weeks before that, I had to withdraw her from school for being violent towards teachers and leaving campus and running away because she wanted to keep playing outside.
I had already exhausted most public schools in my area and I couldn’t transfer her to a different school outside of our district because I didn’t have a car and the schools wouldn’t send a bus, so I had no choice but to home school her. I already had to babies at home, and I was attending community college to become a Cardiac Sonographer.
I was also a stay at home mom while my husband worked 8-10 hours a day, 6 days a week, and he was on second shift, so he had to ride his bike home from work, even in the winter. We live in Battle Creek, MI, and winters can get pretty brutal; especially when riding a bike in the middle of the night.
But it was more fiscally smarter for our family because child care would cost me my entire paycheck AND part of my husband’s and we were already living overdraft to overdraft.
Since we didn’t have much money, all I could do was go to the dollar store, buy some school supplies, and print out worksheets for my daughter to do at home. I couldn’t afford full curricula. As I’m sure you can guess; taking care of all three of my kids 24/7, keeping up with my schoolwork, keeping up with housework, cooking, and cleaning, AND homeschooling my 9 year old daughter took its toll on me. I ended up flunking out of school and my daughter’s schooling went nowhere. On February 12, 2018, my daughter had been complaining about wanting to eat some food. We had enough food to get us through the rest of the week, and my husband was supposed to be getting a paycheck that Friday.
Because he always got paid on Fridays, I did all of my shopping for the next two weeks on Saturday. But my daughter didn’t want any of the food that we had in the house, and kept saying she wanted to go shopping. It was cold and snowing, and even though I always kept $60 cash in my wallet in case of those last minute, close to paycheck emergencies, and I could have gone to the store and bought some food, I insisted that I wasn’t going to go out to the store and buy food when we had enough food in the house and that she could wait until Saturday when I went grocery shopping. After that, she threw a temper tantrum (she’s prone to these) and stomped upstairs to her room. I went into the kitchen to make dinner.
About 20 minutes later, my then-3-year-old son came screaming and crying into the kitchen and telling me his sister was gone. I tried to get him to calm down and tell me where she went, but he didn’t know. It was 6pm and dark outside, so I immediately called the police to track her down. When the officers got there, they asked for my ID and I went to my diaper bag, but my entire wallet was missing. My daughter had taken my wallet with her, which had all of my debit cards and my emergency cash. The police found her 10 minutes later when a cashier at the grocery store 0.4 of a mile from my house called the police to report an unaccompanied little girl trying to buy food. The police officer who picked her up bought the food that she was trying to buy, and refused to take the money when I had insisted on paying him back. I had assumed that was the end of her antics, but this continued throughout the year. She would get it into her head when she thought we were low on food to go to the store and try to buy some. A couple of times she had taken the house phone with her, which at the time was my only means of communication aside from my computer, so that I couldn’t call the police again.
Eventually I tried to find her before calling the police, but she had changed her route and I couldn’t get to her before the police were called on her again. It happened so often that the police ended up calling CPS on me because they perceived me as being irresponsible even though my daughter usually waited until I was busy cleaning, cooking, even one time when I was changing her baby brother’s diaper (a one year old) to sneak out. It happened so often that I had begun to message my husband at work, who would then leave work early to come home. My husband, myself, and the police all emphasized multiple times to her that she could get hurt. She even took her 3 year old brother with her at times just so he wouldn’t tell on her. Each time he was usually only wearing a shirt and a diaper. She would never even put clothes on him (this was during the summer months) or shoes on herself or him.
Eventually it came to a point that my husband was half a point from being fired. This was at the beginning of July. He had been given time off due to personal reasons through July 4, but he had to be back at work on July 5. That day, the bus was late, and my husband was given half a point. At the company he was working at, once you got 12 points, you were to stand in front of a committee and they would decide if you should be fired or not. Instead of going through that, he just rode the bus back around and came home. So officially, he quit his job, but he would have been fired anyway. We had our bills paid for July, so we had some time before we were in trouble, and we had both started looking for jobs because he was so close to being fired anyway, and we knew he wouldn’t be able to go a year without being late or having to miss work. Unfortunately since I only have part time work experience, significant gaps in my employment history due to spending most of my adult life as a stay at home mom, and only having a high school diploma, I cannot get a job anywhere in my city that will get us the $5,000/month that we need to pay all of our bills, our house payment, to feed our family, and to start paying off our debt. My husband was able to find another job by the end of July, but it was only half of what he was making at his previous job. He had applied for a management position, interviewed for a management position, then given a part time, minimum wage job. I was forced to apply for food stamps with DHS in order to feed my children, but my application wasn’t approved until October. While CPS was investigating our case, our daughter had enough sense to stay put. But the second week that my husband worked, my daughter decided that she was going to run away again. In Michigan, CPS has an obligation to investigate a case fro 30 days. our 30 day period was up, and the investigator was going to recommend that our case be closed, and then the police were called once again on my daughter before I could get to her; who then proceeded to file a report to CPS. CPS moved my case to a Category 2 and I was put on the state child abuse registry. My husband ended up quitting the job had had gotten because it was too much of an income cut and we knew it couldn’t sustain our family.
He got ANOTHER job at a factory at the end of August, but it was still a significant pay cut to the job he had prior, and he had made several mistakes and caused several defects during the time that he was working there during his 90 day trial period and he ended up getting fired in October. I needed to apply for State Emergency Relief fund with DHS because we were in such dire straits that we couldn’t pay our bills. My husband withdrew from his 401k which had caught us up on our house payments and bills through October, and it was supposed to sustain us through November as well, but many things ended up happening, including having to buy food because my food stamps weren’t enough to feed us through the month, and our furnace was broken and needed to be repaired, among many, many, many other things. We burned through his 401k very quickly as a result. CPS is finally talking about closing our case soon, so that will be one less burden on our shoulders, but that still leaves us with a problem of work. I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs since July, and the applications that didn’t get completely ignored were rejected. My husband is also having a hard time finding a job due to his three recent job issues.
In summer of last year, my husband got an infection in his leg. We’re not sure how it happened, but I insisted he got to the ER. They said there was nothing wrong and sent him home. But when he went to his follow up appointment with his physician two days later, she told him he had developed sepsis from the infection and needed to return to the hospital immediately. He was in the hospital for 9 days and needed surgery to drain the infection, as well as serious rounds of antibiotics. The doctor told him he needed three months to recover, so he was in recovery all summer last year. The labor intensive factory job that he had, and the 8 mile bike riding in the snow 6 days a week, had taken a serious toll on my husband’s physical health. It’s too painful for him to ride that distance now and that only jobs he can get are congregated in the same area of the city. Because of his leg, he’s trying to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, and since my daughter needs constant supervision due to her history of running away, I’m in the process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits for her, as well. I put in an application at the end of July and I couldn’t get an appointment with the Social Security Office until the end of December. So since my husband’s 401k money is gone, and I still haven’t gotten my daughter’s benefits approved, we can’t make our house payment for December or pay any of our bills for November or December.
My family is in a hole right now, and the more we try to climb our way out, the deeper the hole gets. I’m stuck in a dead end because I don’t have the credit for a loan due to student loans and medical bills, I don’t have the skills or education for a real job, I have a husband who can’t work, I’m anchored to a money pit house that I didn’t even want, and I have 3 kids who rely on me for everything. My husband had a dream of of buying a boat and sailing around the world when all of our kids are adults and off to college. But now we’ve done research and found that if we can get both SSD application approved, we would be able to live a better life out on a boat where we can work online and pay off our debt without being scared of losing everything and ending up on the street. Even on such a low monthly income, we would be able to pay off debt because we would own the boat free and clear, and we wouldn’t have as many utilities. We plan on using our boat for traveling, so we would be spending most of our time at sea rather than at a marina, and we can homeschool our kids, but they can also learn about many other cultures. We’ll have enough money left over monthly to invest in stock so that we have a passive income coming in and we can continue building on that passive income until we can live off of it for at least 30 years, along with our side business that we’ve been trying to build for months, but have been having a hard time doing due to financial constraints. On a boat, our food would be primarily what we could catch from fishing along with shelf stable pantry staples, and I plan on starting a small container garden on the boat to provide my family with fresh fruits and vegetables. When we dock to visit other countries, we can stock up on refrigerator staples as well as buying new things for us to try–and possibly to add to our garden.
Now that you’ve heard my story, I want to tell you about the money.
Before we can do anything, we have to pay off our house. It’s a land contract house, and we only got it because the other option was being homeless on the street with 3 kids (one was a newborn when we “bought” the house), two cats, and a bearded dragon. We signed a land contract paying way more on the house than what it’s actually worth (we’re stuck paying $50k for it. It’s only worth about $20k) and the house was a money pit when we bought it but we didn’t know about it because the owner didn’t hire a house inspector and we couldn’t afford one at the time, and he claimed to have never been inside of it, so he couldn’t tell us much about it. But it was a house, and we needed one. We’ve already paid a little over $12k on the house, but we still owe over $37k on it. Since the house is our largest expense, I want to pay it off as soon as possible. The $50k will go to paying that off so we can own it in the clear, paying off back taxes, and going toward major house repairs. Our house is NOT worth $50k, but we want to repair it enough to make it worth at least $50k so we can resell it.
If I can raise $50k through GoFundMe, it will significantly help in our goal to buy our boat and have a real home. But I actually need more than that, so my plan is to break up my fundraising into 5 funding sessions:
1. $50k to pay off our house.
2. $50k to REPAIR our house.
3. $50k to buy all of the things we need to begin our living abroad journey.
4. $50k to buy our boat and to help pay our expenses until we can get our business up and running. We also intend on selling our house to buy the boat which is why we need it fixed up. This number can change depending on how much we can get for the house.
5. I’ve read that you can get internet connection in the ocean by satellite, but the quality of your connection will depend on the quality of your satellite and to get a connection anywhere in the ocean (with the exception of being close to the polls), you need a satellite worth at least $50k.
Our goal is to sell our house and buy our boat within three years. If you can help us do that sooner, we would be so eternally grateful. I know that begging for money isn’t a great thing to do, and we hate to ask for people for help. It’s one of the hardest things for both my husband, and myself to do. But we’re in too deep now. We’re going to be on the street soon if we can’t get this house paid off and finding a job is incredibly difficult. We can’t even afford to move to a place with better job opportunities. We can’t get ourselves out of it, so we need help. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to read our story. We hope it moves you to help us get ourselves out of this hole.