I first met Maria when she attended FOCUS for Mothers (FFM) in May of this year. I remember very clearly that like most new moms involved with CPS, Maria’s emotions were all over the place. Anger, fear, and the feeling of being overwhelmed, to mention a few. From the very beginning, Maria was never shy. She was one of the most outspoken moms in the class, in a good way. Most moms that go through the FFM class, are quiet and just go through the motions, but Maria wasn’t like the other moms. She truly wanted to soak up and learn everything she could in our classes. If she didn’t fully understand something, she spoke up and asked. Her desire to learn and overcome her situation was very apparent. I witnessed how she took on many challenges during the 10 weeks of classes, such as not having transportation to get to work, having to work long overnight hours, fighting to stay sober, housing obstacles, as well as challenges with CPS, CASA, and the father of her child.
To me, it’s truly amazing to see how much a person can grow in just 10 short weeks. I would often speak to Maria outside class hours, giving her guidance as to how to communicate and navigate the CPS system. Most times she already had the answers and knowledge she needed, but sometimes she just needed a listening ear and a little bit of support.
During the 5th week of class, I was beginning to see such an amazing change in her attitude. She was no longer the angry, frustrated, and fearful woman that I first met. She was now confident, hopeful, and showing so much promise in everything she was learning on this journey. She was now the inspiration to other moms in the class who were having a hard time. Her desire to continue learning ended with her returning voluntarily to the following session of FFM classes.
Maria was now back as a beacon of hope inspiring other moms who were just beginning their CPS process and were full of fear, anger, and hopelessness as she once was. She wasted no time telling the new moms that they would get through this as well. I can’t emphasize enough the growth and wisdom Maria demonstrated as well as the hope and inspiration she provided to other mothers during her time in FOCUS.
I am happy to say that Maria’s determination paid off. Even though there was a time that it was looking like CPS was not going to return her daughter, she held on, fought through, and eventually, she got her daughter back.