We’re the Box Car Kids. Remember them? Four spunky, resourceful orphaned kids and their dog living in an abandoned train boxcar in the woods? The first book was published in 1924. Fast forward nearly 100 years and that’s us. Only we don’t live in an abandoned train car; until recently we lived in a 38-foot(after 2 years in a 27-foot) travel trailer- Mom, 4 kids (all adopted from China), 2 dogs and a cat. We’re part of history – just another family touched (if you call being drop-kicked into an abyss being touched) by the Great Recession of the 21st Century.
We moved from Colorado where my son (born with a heart defect) could not thrive at the high altitude, to California in 2008. Unable to sell our 5-bedroom home at the time (this was during the housing bubble melt down) we rented it. But our renter decided not to pay rent (he believed God had provided him with the home) and in the nearly six months it took for the courts to remove him the bank repossessed it. I became unemployed (twice now)- laid off in the summer of 2009 as part of an ‘overhead reduction’ when the lack of construction and development made environmental permits unnecessary and again at the end of September 2011 after a brief stint at a temporary job. Some people (the school system for instance) considered us homeless. I preferred ‘alternatively housed.’ Homeless was the 2 months in the summer of 2009 that we spent living in a tent in various parks and campgrounds.
Eventually we made the very big decision to give up on staying in California, despite the fact that we all love the state. In the summer of 2012 we packed up our belongings, sold the trailer, and moved to the Midwest where I have family. We moved into a larger trailer (mobile home) and I returned to school for a teaching certificate. After 2 years as a middle school science teacher I jumped at the opportunity to become a STEM Coach for my school district. While this was progress in some ways it did not include a pay raise so we continue to struggle with making ends meet on a beginning teacher’s salary. Mid 30s isn’t bad for a young single person just out of school but it’s way below the poverty level for a family of 5. Currently (January 2017) my eldest is a sophomore at Indiana University studying Global Sustainability, my middle daughter is a junior in high school and the youngest two are in junior high. I’m doing my best to hang on for another 5 years until they’ve all flown the nest and are off to better things!
This is our story.
Published posts may be revised from time to time.
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