Happy Father’s Day from CCO! Take a few minutes and read Lydell’s story,
“I Decided to Stay!” Thanks!
I Decided To Stay
11:05am, December 4, 2002, he was born. Lydell Doss, III, arrived breach with his brown eyes wide open. It was beautiful to see his first movements and to hear his new born cries.
One day later I would be crying in disbelief. The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) removed him from the hospital and he became a ward of the state. This action was due to the past drug abuse of Little Lydell’s mother and I. It hurt deeply. It was painful not to take my child home. I see now that God was setting me up for something greater.
My court date was set for December 13th at Children and Family Court. It was my opportunity to explain my desire to take care of Little Lydell. At the time, I had a warrant out for my arrest and I knew it was a risk for me to walk into a courthouse full of police officers and security guards. But I was determined and I knew I had to go and represent my baby boy. When I got to the courthouse my lawyer informed me that the sheriff was coming and I was going to be arrested. They wanted to know if I was going to stay or run. I decided to stay.
That day DCFS placed Little Lydell in his auntie’s custody and I was arrested and locked in Cook County Jail.
Life moved on and after I was released from jail I found myself once again in a losing battle with my drug addiction. By the summer of 2003 I was back on the streets and back into drugs. That winter I was still addicted. It made me think back to when I was selling drugs and eventually got hooked. And how, now, long after that I became homeless and started living in a vacant apartment, getting high and wasting time. I started to rethink my life. I began to really think about Little Lydell and the future and how I was going to take care of him. The thought of him did something to me. It was then that I decided I needed to go into a drug treatment program.
I made a call to my DCFS caseworker from Salvation Army’s Harbor Lights program and let her know I was in rehab. She was surprised; she did not know that I had been addicted to drugs. I explained to her that I had been using for years. I knew I had to be truthful, with her and with myself. God put it on my heart to make changes in my life. I attended Parenting, Anger Management and many other classes and groups to help me understand why I do what I do. I began walking down the road of self knowledge and that helped me to let go of the old issues and the old problems.
I prayed a lot for Little Lydell while I was in the program. And it was during this time that he was put in foster care. He was temporarily place with a loving woman. I was so grateful to find that she had a strong belief in God! She became the answer to my prayer and today she is Little Lydell’s godmother.
The staff members of Salvation Army were really helpful. They would go to court dates with me and testify to the changes they had seen in me throughout my time in treatment. I visited Little Lydell faithfully during my months at the Harbor Lights program. At first I was allowed to see him every 2 weeks then DCFS moved it up to once a week. Overtime we were awarded unsupervised visits and then overnight visits. My time with Little Lydell meant everything to me and my goal was to have him returned home to me.
In June of 2004 I completed my program requirement at Salvation Army and moved in with my mother and father. It was scary at first became I hadn’t been out on the streets in so long but I started going to church and to AA and NA meetings.
September 15, 2005 I was awarded full custody of Little Lydell! I could hardly sleep the night before. I was happy, ecstatic! God put a child with me. It was more than being a parent. Knowing Little Lydell looked to me as a father made me work harder to stay clean and sober. It made me work harder to be the man I needed to be for Lydell, myself and my family.
Lydell and I moved into Cornerstone Community Outreach on August 15, 2006. We got offers to live with family members until we got on our feet but I felt that God wanted to take me out of my comfort zone. It was my first time in a homeless shelter. When I moved in I spent a lot of time reading and trying to grow spiritually. Staff members were really helpful and tried to answer any questions I h