It's been forever and a day since I posted here, and a lot has gone on in my life. Some of it has been good, but unfortunately there have been a lot of things that haven't been so pleasant, either. And I would like to ask for all of your help, if you can.
My son Trace is the light of my life. He’s the best kid I ever could have asked for. He’s smart, he’s kind, he’s funny, he’s polite, he loves his Mom and his Nana and his Aunt Jombi and he’s just really a good person. He’s also been in foster care in the county of San Diego for nine years now. I lost custody in August of 2005 thanks to having undiagnosed post-partum depression and misdiagnosed bipolar disorder that left me unable to care for my son. The first year and a half he was out of my custody I did everything I could do to regain custody, and I was very close. I had sixteen hours a week unsupervised visitation, and I was about to start overnights. And then, because of a CPS worker who didn’t care about her clients and a family who wanted to adopt him, it all got taken away. I dropped down to two hours a week supervised visitation based on lies that my CPS worker never bothered to check, and any chance I’d had for getting him back at the time vanished. The CPS worker eventually left the case and he was pulled out of the foster home for neglect (though I do suspect there was more to it than that) but the damage was done.
Since then my son has been in two group homes and two foster care placements. He has adapted well, and considering he’s autistic that’s saying a lot. He’s learned to channel his anger into positive ways of coping, he’s strengthened his bond with his family, he’s forged new bonds with the workers who help him and the families he’s lived with. If you met him on the street you’d think he was a pretty normal child, and that’s the best thing in the world. He had especially formed a bond with one foster father, but due to things I am not at liberty to talk about he was removed from the foster home and ended up in a psychiatric ward for a week because he was suicidal. After having a worker who didn’t answer her calls we got a new worker who, for the first time in seven years, made it a point to talk to me and my mother. She found out both of us were stable and on our psych meds (my mother is also bipolar). She visited our home, something no social worker had done since my visitation had been cut to supervised and for only two hours. But most importantly, she told us that she thought it would be best if Trace came back to live with us. She has been the first worker in nearly ten years to give us hope. Over the years I’ve fought for unsupervised visitation, then off-site visitation, and then visitation at my home and gotten all of those things. The next step is overnights, and we are so very close to that, which was never even an option before.
At the moment my mother and I share a one bedroom apartment in north San Diego county. My son would be occupying the living room while she and I share the bedroom. It’s not a perfect arrangement, but the CPS worker has approved it as a suitable living situation. However, a problem has arisen. In August 2014 I had gallbladder surgery, and complications have left me with lingering health issues. I had recently left my part time job at an amusement park to work full time at a call center, but due to the complications I ended up missing too much time and lost my job. My mother’s disability checks and my final paycheck are not enough to cover our rent, and if it is not paid in full by the 15th we will be evicted. If we lose the apartment I can pretty much kiss goodbye any chance of reunification because with an eviction on my record no one will rent me an apartment. I have been on the Section 8 Housing waiting list for six years, and was recently told it is now eight to ten years until housing is available (to put this in perspective, when I went on the waiting list I was told three to five years). If I lose this home my family’s dream of being reunited will be dashed permanently. In six years my son will age out of the system and only then will we be able to live together again. My son wants his family back, and my mother and I want that too. Most families give up after two years without reunification; we’ve been working for it for nine and we’re not willing to give up on Trace.
We have a fundraising campaign here to help us come up with the money we need to pay some important bills this month while I continue to find employment elsewhere. We've paid most of them, including the rent, but the other problem is I am having a very tough time finding employment. I keep getting called to interviews and nothing pans out, and health issues are making things hard as well. I need to be able to support my family and get my son back. He’s the light of my life and I miss him every day that he’s not with me. When I do get to see him it’s the best day of the week. So I ask for your help. Please donate. Even $10 will help so much. And if you can’t donate, then please reblog this and spread the word. Share it on social media, on Facebook and Twitter and anywhere you can think of. My son deserves to have his fondest wish and we are so close to making that happen but if we lose this apartment that wish will never be granted. So please, #HelpTraceComeHome. Thank you so much in advance.