(Earlier in 2017 we told the story of the Smith family, who fostered a five-day-old baby who was eventually reunified with his mom Brooke. Today, Jaxon and his mom live with the Smiths and have become part of their family. This is some of Brooke’s story, told in her words.)
“I spent about 10 years in active addition but I have now been clean for 22 months and will celebrate 2 years on February 20, 2018. Unfortunately, I used drugs while I was pregnant with Jaxon and so DFCS was in our lives from the time he was born. He went into foster care at 5 days old and I continued to use for another 2 months before finally hitting bottom. I knew I had to turn my life around or I would never see him again.
“I was dreading Jaxon going into foster care because of the horror stories we have all heard. But the Smith family made a HUGE difference in our lives.
“My reunification plan included a year of treatment and the Smith’s were, and are, a source of encouragement for me. I did six months inpatient and I did another six months of aftercare. I was required to get a sponsor and go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings. I had to get a job and make sure I had a relapse prevention plan. I remember the first court date I had and the last one like it was yesterday. The judge did not even recognize me at my last court date, and it felt amazing to know that I had changed so much in just a year. I could not have gone on this journey of recovery without the Smiths. They love Jaxon like he was their own and they do the same for me.
“The hardest part of my journey so far has probably been the feelings of regret, shame and guilt I had to uncover from my years of drug use. I hate to know how much pain I’ve caused the ones I love so much. The best part has been finding myself again. A lot of people believe that recovery gives you your life back, but for me it gave me a life worth living. I am a mother and a sister and a daughter. I am also a productive member of society again and that is an awesome feeling. Now I have so many plans for the future. I want to go back to school eventually for broadcasting and media marketing, and I want to buy a house at some point.
“I am very passionate about the need for more foster families like the Smiths. The fact that we currently live with them is a prime example of how they love us and consider us family. I think if there were more people like them in this world that the success rate for women and men like me would go up. They are truly a Godsend and I wouldn’t be where I am without a foster family like them.”