Hello, my name is Skylar. I am 20 years old and would like to share my story with everyone. I am from a small town in Mississippi. My mother got pregnant with me when she was eighteen years old and had my brother when she was only fifteen. My mom was more of the partying type. She didn’t really have time or the care to have two children at this age. So my grandmother took my older brother, and my great-grandmother took me in. I lived with her for 10 years.
In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed everything my mother owned, which forced her to move to Virginia where her sister lived. Not long after, I decided that I wanted to know what it was like to live with my mom and all my brothers, considering my mother was doing well. It was nothing like I expected. I was promised that I could return to my grandmother if I was unhappy, however she wouldn’t let me.
To understand my life, you have to know what kind of mother I had. She was a severe alcoholic. My youngest brother at this time was about six months old. I was only eleven. When I moved in with my mom, I had taken on the biggest responsibility that any child that age could ever imagine. I raised my three younger brothers; ages five, two, and six months old from day one. Most may think this is impossible for an eleven year old, but I can assure you it’s not.
I cooked for them. I bathed them. I got them ready for bed. I rocked them to sleep. I got them ready for school. I washed their clothes and dishes while my mother would come in from work and sit in front of the television and get drunk. Everywhere I went, they went with me.
There was a lot of fighting in our home between my mom and step dad. I have never seen someone beat someone they love so badly. At this time, I wanted to go back home to my great-grandma, but my mom wouldn’t let me. I stuck it out and continued to care for my brothers the way they deserved.
We moved from house to house, from school to school. When we finally got settled somewhere, I met a guy that actually understood what I was going through and was there for me. I ended up getting pregnant with my first child at only thirteen years old. It didn’t faze me much, considering I had practically already been a mother for three years.
When I had my daughter it was the best things that ever happened to me. Her name was Leah Raynee. However, that didn’t change the home situation much. I was still caring for my brothers, and my mom was still getting wasted every night.
After a while I got tired of it and decided I was leaving. I packed and left with my daughter. I walked from Cross Junction, Virginia to Augusta, West Virginia in the middle of the night carrying my newborn baby girl the entire way. I ran so many times I lost count. I would talk to the police and social services time and time again, but no one would listen. I ended up on probation and house arrest for running so many times.
In July 2011, my mom decided she didn’t want me anymore and told the courts I could live with my daughter’s father and his family. Not long after, I found out I was pregnant with my second child and things started to change. Their father become very abusive towards me and forced me to stay.
One day I went to change our daughter’s diaper and realized a soft spot on the back of her head that I knew wasn’t supposed to be there. When I told her daddy, he freaked out and told me I couldn’t tell his mom. I told his mom anyway because I was worried about my baby.
We took her to the emergency room, and I was told that my baby had a fractured skull and she needed to be transferred to a bigger hospital immediately. I had to make her father go with us. We were there for two days. The last day of being there, a nurse came and shined a light in Leah’s eyes and said she was fine and could go home because there was no blood behind her eyes. We returned home with our baby to only be surprised with a visit from social services the next day.
Leah was taken from me on September 25, 2011. This was the worst day of my life. I had no idea what had happen to my daughter because I wasn’t there when it happened, and her father only would say that he didn’t know.
I begged the courts to listen to me. I wanted to prove I had nothing to do with the abuse my daughter received, and that I did not know what happened to her. I did not tell them about my second pregnancy at this time because I was scared.
A week later, I was also removed from the home and placed into a shelter due to abuse towards me as well. Not long after the state found out I was pregnant, and I was sent to Crittenton Services. Throughout my court battle for custody of my daughter and my stay at Crittenton, I had no one. I was in the state of West Virginia by myself. My mom moved back to Mississippi and that was it.
October 28th is the day I arrived at Florence Crittenton. I hated it. I wanted nothing more than to just be able to go back home with my mom. I was scared that I was not only going to lose my daughter, but my son as well. After speaking to several lawyers and a therapist, I was convinced to give my rights to my daughter up so that she could get the medical treatment she needed.
I would have and still will give anything to have my daughter back in my life. I was at Crittenton for nine months. I met lots of people that had a variety of different problems and came from a lot of different places. My main focus was to complete the program and to get everything I needed to care for my son.
In my heart I did not believe that I needed to be at Crittenton, but now I realize how much it helped me. I cried for months and months over my daughter and still do to this day, but Crittenton gave me hope. The staff and other clients helped me prove to myself that I could get through it and make something on myself. The therapist talked to me about my mom and everything that happened to me over the years.
My son was born on March 9, 2012. Dexter weighed six pounds and twelve ounces. He was the second best thing that had ever happened to me. Watching him grow was such an amazing feeling. On July 15, 2012, my sixteenth birthday, Dexter and I were able to return home to my mother with hope that things would be different. But they weren’t. She was the same person she had always been.
In March of 2013 I met someone that changed my life. His name is Brody. We started dating and not long after in May, I ran again with my son. My mom did not find me this time, and when she did I had the law on my side for once. They helped me get away from my mom and start a life of my own. Brody and I have had many amazing adventures together. We have come a long way. On December 22, 2014, I gave birth to my third pride and joy Taelyn Raye.
Brody and I just recently got married. We are very happy. Dexter is now a very healthy four-year-old with lots of energy. He just started preschool. Taelyn is a little wild fifteen month old little girl. My plans for the near future are to become a police officer. I will work my way up to become a detective. This has been my dream since I was a little girl, and it will come true.
The hardest part of being at Florence Crittenton was living nearly 2,000 miles away from my family, especially when home visits came around and I had to watch everyone else go spend time with their families when I couldn’t. However, I truly believe without Crittenton, this life wouldn’t be possible.