Saturday, March 29, 2014

Our Foreclosure Journey: Part 3 - Sherrif's Sale- Peace or Panic?

Thursday was the Sheriff's Sale.  At 10:30 am on Thursday I was far too busy with Dean's surgery to allow myself to be concerned with the reality of losing my home.  My 5 year old was having a colonoscopy and endoscopy (due to lifelong ongoing medical issues).  The bowel prep for a child who is not fully toilet trained (has never pooped in a toilet) is messy.  Really messy. And smelly. Oh, and keeping that kid from solid foods required constant supervision; he is one sneaky little dude.

Wednesday was already a really busy day (therapies for the kids, therapist for me, eating disorder clinic for Julia, our first day with PCAs) and I managed to be sick also.

By 10:30 am on Thursday (the time of our Sheriff's Sale) I had already been awake since 4 am, carried my 5 year old, his bag of to-dos, his weighted blanket, and my diaper bag into the hospital room, forced meds down his throat, was kicked in the face while attempting to put his hospital gown on, and helped hold him down while the anesthesiologist started an IV (family history of MR - cannot use the gas anesthesia).  I'd downed 2 Red Bulls in a poor effort to stay awake (no wonder I get sick), ran into a friend in the cafeteria and heard her heartbreaking news, colored several rainbow pictures with Dean, and was awaiting his return to the post-op room.

I was home for only long enough to get all the kids fed and squeeze in some schoolwork with the 4 girls (we've now got some co-homeschooling going on, which has been really fun) before the district special ed team arrived for Bruce's more complete eval.  He's a smart little guy but will be getting some services for speech (no words, no babbling, but he has a great laugh), sensory and behavioral issues.  Which is good, I guess, but I'm getting a bit stressed out by life's many appointments.

[Here's Bruce at the Neurologist kissing the bumblebee chair. He gave it some hugs too. He gives the best hugs!]

The Neurologist Clinic called and can get Julia in the next day. Turns out, after a somewhat traumatic EEG, that neurologically she looks fine.  No abnormal brain activity!!! No appearance of seizures - Praise God! Despite gaining some weight after a couple months of treatment at an eating disorder clinic, her little body is struggling. Her blood pressure is low, bilirubin is high, she lost 2 of the 5 lbs she had gained, is very dehydrated, and has been having abnormal EKG results.

Her team at Melrose feels she should switch to inpatient care despite gaining weight.  We have a family vacation planned in less than 2 weeks and her doctor agreed to wait and reevaluate when we return. 
 [Bruce loves the scale in the exam room. He also has decided he loves to smile for the camera now.] 

There are far too many things competing for space in my head that I don't have much room for the whole foreclosure thing...

Friday I begin to feel peace - maybe now the worst part is over? It's official? We can begin to prayerfully seek new housing and walk away from this home that is falling apart untraumatized and debt-free? What is this sudden panic that consumes me? Scripture tells me not to worry about such things but in my humanity I am afraid.  Where will we live? Will our credit be so destroyed by this that we are unable to rent a safe home for a fair price? How much debt will we walk away with?

I thought we had done a pretty good job of researching all our options and discussing what a foreclosure realistically meant for our financial lives beforehand.  I was wrong.  There have been no shortage of solicitations since the Advertisment was published. The calls and letters will only become more aggressive now that we are officially in our redemption period.

But today's call threw me a curveball. That stinkin 2nd mortgage, our home equity line of credit, owned by the same credit union as our first mortgage. (We had done an 80/20 loan 10 years ago to avoid PMI costs.) It would not disappear like we thought it would.  It is not included in the foreclosure, the home was purchased by our bank at auction for exactly what we owe on the FIRST mortgage. I did not realize that the bank could sell our home for well above that auction price, pocket the $40k equity as profit, AND sue us for the $46,000 plus fees due on the HELOC.  No wonder they refused to do a short sale or deed in leiu.  No wonder they advised us to "let it go."

What comes next? Do we try to sell our (broken, messy, very busy) home? We cannot afford realtor fees and there is no realistic way we can be "showing" clean - nor do I see homeschooling & all other commitments being accomplished if we are constantly being kicked out of our house. On any given day, we can have 4 adults, 6 kids, and 7 animals creating chaos here. Will we owe this money on the 2nd mortgage and have our wages garnished? Will it be possible to rent with our credit now tarnished and debt looming over us?

How do I even begin to find the time, in this very busy life, to do research, make phone calls, meet with various industry experts?!

So I am finding myself consumed by new panic.  Those sickness-inducing worries about money flood back in an instant.  Despite how majorly sleep-deprived I am, I cannot sleep. Of course. Dan & I have spent the better part of 13 years burdened by the stress of money - of simply surviving, meeting our needs, and paying for medical needs when there is not enough money.  We did not live paycheck to paycheck - we always lived about 2 weeks behind. Petrified what will happen if we drop the balls we are juggling.

Dan works hard. 60 to 80 hours a week of manual labor - despite shoulder and back problems.  I am overwhelmed caring for a house full of special needs children. We can neither cut back much more nor bring in any more.  We are not lazy. Yet here we are - consumed by the same financial fears we have faced for so long.  There was a brief moment of peace and relief as we decided to walk away and let the home go, but the panic is back now.

I'd love to tell you I am handling it all with grace and strength, but since I've taken off my cape and am revealing bare naked emotion here, I will go ahead and admit I'm feeling anxious and fearful. I am so grateful I can come to God just as I am, that He will meet me precisely where I am at.

1 John 5:14 - "And this is the confidence we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us."  -- God hears my prayers!! He IS listening. 

In my quiet time (it is now 3 am on Saturday morning - truly my only actual quiet time) I reflect on Philippians 4:6-7: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ."

Worry and panic take my focus off of God and His promises.  They rob me of deep trust in Him and a closeness that comes from that trust.  I know I can cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7)!

Hebrews 13:5 assures me that He will be by my side: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  While my anxiety is not so much the result of the love of money it does have to do with fear of not having enough.

So for today, I choose peace.  I'm not totally there yet, but fake it till you make it, right?