I still think this whole thing is a dream. It seems to me like there are other people that are so much more deserving than I am. I feel like me and the girls have been given everything we need. We have been so blessed by the people around us. I have worked at Chick-fil-A in Euless for 12 years and the owners of my store, Ernie and Christina, have helped me so much. I don’t know where I would be without them.
A lot changed for me about 4 years ago. I was living with my son and his wife Angela and their 4 girls when they had some issues. A social worker asked me if I could take the girls. If I didn’t, they would be put in foster care. The two youngest are my son’s daughters. The two oldest aren’t, they are his wife Angela’s from a previous marriage, but I couldn’t see splitting them up. They are sisters.
So I had all four of the girls. Maddie, Piper, Emmy and Katie. They were 2, 4, 6 and 8 at the time. Their parents lost the house we were all at, so I had to take the girls to a motel and we lived there. My car broke down so I had to take a hiatus from work. But Christina and my manager Colleen, would come down to Fort Worth and take me to look for an apartment . Finally I found a one bedroom apartment I could afford. We only had to live at the motel for two months.
We were so blessed because everyone I work with and customers would just give me things I needed. They gave me good clothes for the girls so I didn’t have to buy any. Emmy and Piper were sharing a big bed, but they weren’t sleeping very well. So I mentioned to a customer and friend that I was looking for a couple of twin beds and he found some on craigslist and two people bought them for me. Dishes, furniture, everything. It seemed like all I would have to do is say I needed something and it would be there. God has really blessed us.
The girls have always struggled financially and it has really affected them. Their parents had a hard time keeping the bills paid and the electricity on. So I have always made sure that no matter what happens, we pay our bills because I don’t want to put them through any more stress. One time a truck hit a generator by our apartment and the electricity went out. The girls were so scared that I hadn’t paid the bill.
They also had not ever attended school. I got them in school the same week I got them. It was hardest for Katie. She was 8 and having a hard time keeping up in second grade. She didn’t know how to read or even write her name. None of the girls did. It has been a real struggle, but all of the girls are doing good in school. They are still a little older for their grade, but they are making all A’s and B’s.
It was my bosses, Ernie and Christina, that encouraged me and helped me fill out the Habitat application online. I just didn’t think this would happen because I know there are so many other people more deserving and who have less than we do. The girls are so excited to have a house, but I am not sure it is all sinking in for me yet.
I just can’t believe the girls are going to have a yard. I have met some of the other Habitat homeowners that are going to be our neighbors, and I am so thankful I can feel safe with the girls playing outside. Maddie keeps talking about wanting a swing set and Piper really wants a basketball hoop. I am most excited about feeling safe where we live. Everything will change. Right now, I make just enough at the end of the month to cover our bills. Now we will be able to save for emergencies and feel just a little more stable.
I get so overwhelmed knowing that this is really happening. The girls and I are really going to have a house forever. I feel so blessed and happy that God has put the right people in my life.