For a month after my first court date, I did not begin any of theservices, did not visit my son or go to court, and fell deeper into my addiction to crack cocaine. I felt hopeless. I believed that I could trust no one to help me.
A friend convinced me to visit my son and stop feeling sorry for myself. After I saw my son, I went to the next court date. This time, instead of the lawyer who had first represented me, I found out that a whole team from the Center for Family Representation (CFR) had been assigned to represent me: attorneys, a social worker and a parent advocate. My team told me, “We’re here for you.” They spoke to me with respect and gave me a glimmer of hope.
I was not ready to be clean, and I was honest about that. The CFR team was straightforward, too. They told me that if I didn’t get myself together, they would not be able to be of any help to me. Monique, the parent advocate, then took a walk with me and took me to lunch. She asked me to go into treatment and do the right thing in order to be proud of myself and to have a son who is proud of his mom. Monique didn’t judge or disrespect me. She pushed me hard in a good way.
In my drug program, I found out that I had a bigger problem than drugs. Even once I got clean, I was in pain and full of distrust. Every time I went to court, the report about my behavior was very negative. But my CFR team jumped on my strong points. I was surprised that my team continued to speak to me with respect even after they heard the bad things about me in court.
Every time my team saw me, I had an attitude about something that was going wrong, and I was pushy. I was annoyed about going through the system. But I called CFR every time I ran into trouble. I grew to trust them because, in court, they stuck to reuniting me with my son. They cared and they touched me by being themselves.