Her husband used to beat her frequently, so she took her children and ran away from home

When faced with an abusive marriage, Cara Brookins made a brave decision to protect her children and leave her husband. With limited resources, she embarked on an extraordinary journey to build a new home for her family. Despite facing skepticism from neighbors, Cara’s determination and resilience led her to achieve the seemingly impossible.

Starting Over

Cara, a mother of five and a computer programmer analyst, recognized the need for her children to escape their toxic environment. Unable to afford a suitable home, she conceived the idea of constructing one herself. Drawing construction plans and utilizing online tutorials, she learned the necessary skills, including foundation laying, wall construction, gas line installation, and plumbing.

The Challenge

Reflecting on her experience, Cara acknowledges the immense challenges she encountered throughout the process. In 2007, she purchased a one-acre plot for $20,000 and secured a construction loan of approximately $150,000. Her children, ranging from 17 years old to just 2, played an active role in building their 3,500-square-foot home. Her son Drew assisted with the plans, while 11-year-old Jada transported water from a nearby pond to mix with concrete for the foundation.

A Collaborative Effort

Each day after school, Cara’s children joined her at the construction site to lend their support. For more complex tasks, she hired a part-time firefighter with building expertise. Their combined efforts eventually led to the completion of their new home, Inkwell Manor, named after Cara’s aspiration to become a writer. On March 31, 2009, the family proudly moved into their self-built residence.

Overcoming Adversity

While building their own shelter was not a source of pride initially, Cara acknowledges the immense personal growth and benefits it brought to her family. She states that her experience demonstrates the limitless possibilities when one sets their mind to a goal. Cara encourages others to pursue their dreams, emphasizing the importance of taking small steps towards a larger ambition and finding strength in the support of others on the healing journey.


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