You all know that I have been fostering a baby for the last few months. What you don't know is the story behind it. Krystal has given me permission to share her story with you here. It's not a happy story and you may think the worst at first, but trust me when I tell you the ending is gonna be great!
Everyone has a story. Some stories are scary, happy or sad, some are romantic or lonely, others are boring. Many are about adventures and journeys, laughing till you cry or crying til your empty, but most are a mixture. This is one of those stories, a mixture of love, pain, and growing through it all.
Krystal grew up in a bit of a dysfunctional family. Her parents divorced when she was six (6) over issues involving gambling, infidelity, and other personal things on both parents parts. That's their story and I only included it for you to see that there were actual issues affecting Krystal's life. Abuse and neglect ensued for some time against herself and her brother to the extent that the courts got involved. The mother retained custody since the abuse was not happening in her home but by this time her mother was depressed and becoming ill. She spent a lot of her time in bed and Krystal took care of herself and her now two younger brothers. She spent a lot of time with a male relative near her age, they became what she thought was best friends, until he raped her, repeatedly, for over 3 years. She was nine (9) years old when it began. When she finally told a parent, they didn't react the way she felt they should and her relationship with that parent deteriorated even further. A year later the mother picked the family up and moved them to another state to live with a woman she had meet on the Internet. Krystal was 13.
Life for Krystal was a little better in this new place except for the fact that her mothers mental health was getting worse. She wasn't able to hold down a job for long periods and spent much of her time in bed, a common symptom of depression. Krystal was left to do the cleaning and much of the raising of her brothers. She became a loner resorting to time on the Internet. At the age of 15 she met her first love in a chat room. He came down in the summers, took her to prom, and attended her graduation. He gave her life meaning.
Upon graduation he moved with her back to Texas and the two were married. Her grandparents bought them a mobile home, placed it on their property and life began in earnest. During this time she experimented with marijuana. In her mind it was "just weed" so not really a "bad" drug (I completely disagree but this isn't my story). They were together for 2 years in a mostly happy relationship when she caught him cheating with someone on the Internet having virtual sex. The marriage was over. Her life was turned upside down again.
Once again she picked herself up and moved on. She met another man and moved to west Texas to be with him. The marijuana use continued and turned into harder substances and worse addictions. Still she felt happier, probably because drugs numb your senses, and the relationship grew. They spent a year living in that west Texas town before returning to Krystal's home on her grandparents property. Everything seemed to be going well between them but her grandmothers mental state was not good and she was harsh with her words. One evening the grandmother blew up over something trivial and told them to leave. The next day they packed up and went back to west Texas. Drug use picked back up again.
Eleven months later her mother moved back to Texas and moved into the house that the grandparents bought for Krystal and her ex husband. Krystal and her boyfriend came for a visit and, while there, they got caught with a bag of marijuana and her grandmother exploded. Told the boyfriend to get off the property and called Krystal some very ugly things and accused her of selling herself. This was probably the biggest hurt Krystal could imagine coming from the one person who had pretty much always been there for her. She became so angry she punched a steel grill and shattered her hand. It caused a deep and abiding scar on Krystal's soul and it took a long time for her to repair that relationship with her grandmother. So Krystal and her boyfriend left and went to her fathers home but they weren't allowed to stay there either. Because Krystal had to stay for medical care of her hand, her father gave them money for the boyfriend to return to west Texas with the plan to come pick her up when her hand was healed and she was released by the doctor. The day before he was to return he had a friend text her and tell her it was over between them and he wasn't coming to get her. Self esteem plummeted, drug use got worse, and she resorted to being a loner and gaming on the net again.
Gaming was where she met her current husband. They were both struggling to get off drugs and carried on a long distance relationship for quite some time. After a while he moved here to be with her and they stayed drug free for a while. Eventually they went back to smoking pot (after all it was "just weed" and not "bad") but as drug abuse goes, they got started with other things too though pot remained their drug of choice along with drinking. Their relationship was tumultuous at best but they did have happy times and 3 years into the relationship she got pregnant so the decision to get married was made.
The night before the wedding he took off and stated that he didn't know if he could go through with it. Her family, who already didn't like him, went out to find him and bring him back. They did and the next day the wedding went on as planned. Krystal smoked pot a couple of times while pregnant but after an incident where she had to go to the hospital and they found it in her system, she was forced to quit. It was either that or they would take the baby from her when it was born. They both quit and Krystal stayed clean throughout the rest of the pregnancy, her husband did not. Through out the pregnancy she was dealing with the stress of knowing her husband could cause them to lose the baby and at the same time her grandmother was dying. Life was not easy and she nearly fell apart when her grandmother, whom she had become close to again, died one month before Eva was born. Krystal sunk into severe depression.
Eva was born and Krystal worked hard to provide a clean and safe environment among a family that had basically decided now that Grandma was gone they could do whatever they wanted in the house. The uncle and cousin moved in and left messes everywhere. The mother and one brother didn't clean but cooked and left the kitchen a disaster. Plates, cups, cans etc. were left on the floor along with dog urine and feces from the numerous dogs the mother acquired. The house soon became too much for her to handle on her own so they (the baby, her husband and herself) resorted to staying in their own room where she could keep it clean. However, staying in a small area with a baby gets old and contributes to depression (she had been diagnosed with it prior to Grandmother's death). She started drinking and doing pot again along with other risky behaviors.
One night in March, CPS showed up at their house. Someone and she doesn't know who, had called and told the agency about the drug use and the unkempt house. They were set to remove the child immediately from their care. They had two options, voluntarily give her to someone (called a safe house) or they would take it to court and get state ordered custody. By voluntarily giving her to someone they could choose the caretaker (provided that person passed background checks) and work out a visitation schedule. If the state took her they would be allowed one hour of visitation per week and the child would be in an official foster home. Obviously they chose to give her to someone they know.
I was in south Texas for my Dad's 80th birthday party when I got the call asking if we could come get her and keep her for 90 days. Honestly I was shocked to be asked but I didn't hesitate. This is my soon to be son in laws family and while I didn't know everything that had been happening, I knew it was not a good situation so I stepped up to do what I could. My wonderful husband drove back home so that he could receive her while I stayed in order to drive my sister to the airport the next day.
Upon my return we had a whirlwind of meetings and purchasing and baby proofing to do. I hadn't had a young child in the house in years so I wasn't prepared in any way. But we made it work and we have fallen in love with this little girl. The time frames have been moved as CPS has gotten more information and we expect to have her for six (6) months to a year from the date she arrived.
The day after she came to us chaos erupted at the couples home. A physical fight occurred in which three of their family members were injured due to the actions of the husband (I wasn't there so I don't know what truly happened but I know he participated in the events). The police were called and Krystal's husband went to jail. He was in jail for 5 weeks and during that time Krystal pulled herself up by her bootstraps. Moved out of the family home and into an apartment with my daughter and her brother and tried to make a go of it. She was contemplating divorce but was still unsure. She loved him even if mistakes were made. When he got out she went with him to north Texas to his family home for two days so they could talk and decide what to do. Still unsure, she came home to think about it and after a time decided to give him a chance as he swore he would never do drugs again, never drink or get violent again, and started a job that paid decent so he could support the family.
Krystal's family was obviously not happy with that decision and she felt she needed to move out of her brother's apartment. We happen to have a cottage on our property and my daughter lived there prior to moving in with her fiance this spring. We opened it to Krystal so she could have a safe place, spend more time with Eva, and get on her feet. The conditions were she was to work for me cleaning house and doing things I needed done around the studio in exchange for housing and utilities. A deal was struck and she moved in. Less than a week later her husband called. He had failed his drug test for work. She was devastated but that was the final straw. She knew she had to leave him for good and make it on her own.
There haven't been a lot of good solid people in her life and as such she has a hard time trusting. Over the last few weeks we've built a friendship and I am trying hard to help her understand that good people do exist that there are people who care. Paul cares, her friend Chris cares, and of course I CARE. I care what happens to Eva. I want that little girl to grow up in a safe normal environment. To have opportunities in life and to not follow the path her parents originally chose. I also care about Krystal very much. I want her to know that life can be good and that bad things happen but we can still go on. I want her to know that she doesn't have to give up and take the easy road of self destruction. I want her to learn to be the beautiful self confident person that I know she can be. I want her to learn forgiveness and empathy. I want her to be happy and believe in people again. So yes I care, I care very much about this small family and their well being. I hope that someone would care this much and help if it were my child going through this. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that there are enough good people out there to make this world a better place if we can just help each other.
So that's the story of Krystal's life. The great part is, she is drug free, plans to continue to stay that way for her daughters sake and has built a support group of an old friend from her childhood and Paul and I. She has some repairing to do in her familial relationships but that takes time. So I put her to work in the studio and discovered that she has talent. Real, honest to goodness, raw talent. So not only is she working for me but she is now my assistant. I am teaching her the ropes and we are going to try an Etsy store together. We are currently working on that and I will let you know when it's up and running. Please help me welcome this wonderful young lady who's art work you will soon see on here and eventually you will see posts from her as well. So may I introduce to you Krystal Pittman, the talented young artist who is growing by leaps and bounds.