It was 1991. Mr. A and I had been married four years, but things weren’t going well. In fact, things were really awful. We bought our first home not too long after we were married, and within six months our first child was born. A month later, Mr. A was laid off from his job. I was still on maternity leave, I’d been able to take nine blessed and fulfilling weeks off to be home with my newborn child.
We found a babysitter and I went back to work. Mr. A began looking for work. But one day when he went to pick up our baby early, he discovered that the babysitter had our son lying on his back, with a pacifier in his mouth. Our son was staring at the ceiling fan. That didn’t sit well with either of us, and we made a decision at that time that Mr. A would stay at home and care for our son for a while. About four weeks later our pediatrician suggested to us that our son had Down Syndrome, and wanted to do testing. He said he’d noticed some characteristics, but didn’t want to alarm us. The results came back positive. We were devastated and it felt like the entire world went black for three days. Indeed, through counseling I was told it was as if our baby had in fact died, the baby we’d fallen in love with would be “more normal than not” but would never achieve the dreams we may have had in store for him.
I have always been grateful for that doctor waiting on the diagnosis, for you see, from a young age I had always been secretly scared of people with Down Syndrome. I had the opportunity to fall in love with my child, without that barrier coming between us. And of course, I learned there was nothing to fear. My fears had been instilled in me from my childhood religion, and I learned those fears were completely unfounded.
But on with my story. By the time our son was nine months old, I managed to find employment working from home as a data entry operator. We were able to make it financially with both of us home, and that worked out well. A couple of years later, the company I was working for started to find that they needed to lay off some of their people. Serendipitously, Mr. A had started to work again, and we decided that I would take the lay off package being offered by my employer, and Mr. A would become the sole breadwinner. I quit my job and then as our luck, or should I say, as our bad luck would have it, within three months Mr. A’s job began to lay off people, and he was one of the most recent hired, so he was one chosen to be laid off.
Unfortunately, Mr. A and I had also been having some problems in our marriage, and when he was unable to find employment, and I could not fathom the thought of now having to leave my children and find a job myself, I made the painful decision to walk away from our home and our marriage. Lest you think I gave up on our marriage that easily, please understand that I’m not willing to air all our dirty laundry with every nitty gritty detail. The good news is we reunited in 2007 which I detailed in a post called Wedding Under $3000.
Anyway… that’s how I became a welfare mom, and got into debt the first time.
It was so hard to leave our home and move into a smaller apartment, but the mortgage was just over $500/month and the apartment rent was half that. Later I was to find a duplex to rent which was only $195 per month.
I didn’t like walking away from our mortgage, but I didn’t feel I had much of a choice. In our divorce, Mr. A and I agreed that he would take over the mortgage payments, but he was not able to find employment in enough time to recover, and our home went into foreclosure.
I spent the next decade renting, and hating most every minute of it. I especially hated the lack of privacy that comes with renting. When I started working again, I started looking for a home to buy within a year and we moved to where we live now. I had managed to build up my credit so I didn’t need to use these useful tips for qualifying for a mortgage after a foreclosure. My credit scores were the highest they had been years and were indeed much higher than they are now since my credit to debt ratio is too high.
I have heard a few horror stories with people who are terribly upside down on their mortgages, one recent story Mr. A heard from one of his customers whose home is now assessed at $66,000 but he owes nearly three times as much. In a case like this, I would understand if a person wanted to walk away. I don’t like the idea, but I could sure see how one could become discouraged.
Have you ever walked away from a mortgage?