‘I Was Scared But I Stood Up for Myself’

Rise Contributors Melissa Landrau (left) and Mariya Kolesnichenko (right).

When CPS showed up at my door, they came in very aggressive. I had just lost my grandmother, who was my caretaker, and had gone through a break-up with my son’s father. Suddenly I was alone. My son and I ended up in a shelter, and I got a case called in for my son missing school. I was scared, confused and very overwhelmed but I stood up for myself, which a lot of parents are afraid to do.

At the case conference, they told me I had to go to anger management, mental health treatment, a support group for mothers, and a parenting class. I immediately refused anger management. I told them, “There is nothing abuse-related in my case.” I knew my rights. Because of that, I was put under court-ordered supervision.

CPS also tried to shove us into mental health services because they felt that all the trauma I experienced affected my ability to care for my son. I fought to prove I didn’t need it. Luckily, I had an amazing attorney who was able to document that my home was always clean, we had food and my son was on time for school every day.

I also accepted some services. I went to a group with other moms going through a rough time. That helped me open up a bit and cope more with everything I had bottled up. I also attended Parenting Journey, which provided me with a lot of knowledge and resources I needed to make a better life for my child and myself.

I am proud of how I handled my case. My services helped me find my inner strength. And no matter how many times they threatened to take my son, I never gave up. When it comes to my child, I never will.

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