Hello! My name is Nicole. I am 20 years old and have been blessed with a beautiful little girl. Let me start from the beginning. I had been together with my baby’s dad since he had gotten out of jail two years ago. I was under the impression he was going to change my life. So, he got out of jail, and I got into doing meth with him. It was his favorite, so my thinking was to be with him, I also had to be with the drugs, too. I started using it for just about a year. We fought all the time and got physically, as well as verbally abusive. I started using other drugs and he started going back to jail. Things never did really get better, in fact they got worse. He would skip parole and run. I would go with him, we really had nowhere, so outside was our only bet. We lived in a cave, on the side of a road and in a tent in the middle of the woods. We had no way of buying food, so we ate fruit off trees during the day and ate out of the restaurants’ garbage at night.
I was raised a Christian and to believe in Jesus Christ. At this point in my life, I thought God didn’t love me, didn’t care what happened to me. I was so angry with Him. I prayed all the time that God would change my life and I could get out of that situation. And one day after many months of praying, He did answer me. I found out I was pregnant. I was so happy; I was going to do anything and everything this baby needed. However, I could not do that living where I was at. So, I called the last place I knew that could help me. I knew of this place from previous years ago, my family and church had helped renovate it. So, I called, I was to be given a tour and a interview. Everything went so well the next couple of weeks and Saint Child decided I was a person to benefit from what they had to offer. So, I packed my bags and said my goodbyes.
I had nothing but hope when I arrived at Saint Child and the people here helped me to discover them. I got myself into drug treatment, decided on a career I would like to have and enrolled in massage therapy school. I have made many friends and have a fantastic relationship with the house mom, Cindy. She is most like my mom, always willing to lend a helping hand to me when I need it.
I had my baby girl, Kaiya, on May 6th, 2011. She has been nothing short of a blessing. She makes me want to work so hard, not just for me, but for her as well. Saint Child has truly changed my life for the better. I have no idea where I would be without them or my little girl. So thank you, Saint Child and thank you God for all the blessings given to me.
Hello, my name is Kenlyn. I am Sioux Indian/Mexican and I am 18 years old. It was the beginning of my last year of high school and I was excited to be graduating at the end of the year. I was hoping the year would go great and then in November I found out I was pregnant. When the father of my child first found out, he wanted me to have an abortion. I knew that was not something I could go through with. So later he said, “Let’s keep the baby”, but we were not even together anymore. So my last option was to look into adoption. I contacted an adoption agency and Stacy, a nice, cheerful person started to walk me through the process of adoption. She told me about Saint Child and how I could live here while I was pregnant and receive the services that Saint Child had to offer. I applied, interviewed and was accepted into the Saint Child house. Stacy provided me with some great profiles and I interviewed three different couples. I selected a Christian couple and decided on an open adoption plan.
I took the birthing classes taught by Bonnie and they really helped to prepare me for what to expect. I also had gestational diabetes, so I had to check my blood sugar levels 3 times a day. Cindy made sure that I was eating healthy and taking care of myself. I walked several times a week and had a very quick labor and delivery. The adoptive parents, our baby, and I all walked out of the hospital together as a family and they took the baby home with them. Cindy and Stasia, one of my housemates, were there to drive me home. They took me straight to Taco Bell for some soft tacos, my favorite!
Even though it was hard, I know I made the right decision for my baby.
My name is Marin and I’m 18 years old. I’ve lived at Saint Child for almost 5 months now, and so far, it’s really helped me a lot. Cindy the house mom has really helped me when I’m struggling with facing my upcoming adoption. Cindy also is helping me with another thing I’ve been struggling with my whole life. As I was being raised, I was never encouraged much or praised for my accomplishments unless I brought attention to them and usually not even then. That made me turn inta a person that unknowningly sought attention, even when, the focus should’ve been on someone else. Cindy and the rest of the house have been helping me with my struggles to become a more humble person, and it’s something I appreciate more than they’ll ever know. Cindy has taught me that in on environment of people that love you and care about you, you don’t need to fight for appreciation, attention, or love. I have chosen adoption for my child and I am very thankful to the wonderful family who will be caring for her.
I’m getting ready to start my life as an independant woman in a few months, and I know that everyone helping me get throught this will get me a lot further in life. Saint Child is a great place to live, because it teaches teenage girls how to be powerful, self sufficient young women. I’m really looking forward to being independant, but it will be hard to leave everyone here, who I’ve come to love so much.
My name is Courtney and I am 18 years old. Before I came to Saint Child, I was living at Safe Place for youth. I have been at Saint Child for almost 6 months and my baby boy, Dylan, was born on October 22nd. I had a rough time as a teenager dealing with a dysfunctional family life and experimenting with drugs and alcohol. I never wanted to go to school or do much of anything worthwhile. While living at Saint Child, I have gotten a part time job at Sears and I have completed my GED. I plan to continue my education at some point in the future. I have made some lifelong friends while living at Saint Child. The house parents have helped me to be a stronger Christian, taught me to save my money and the importance of keeping my appointments. I feel like a more responsible person and now I am actually excited about my future.
(hear and see Cami’s story on the video)
Life Happens – Even when you stand still
Hi, my name is Cami. I turned eighteen in August and delivered my son in September. Let me tell you he is beautiful; but before I tell you how great my life is now, let me share where my life was.
I was born and raised in Loveland, Colorado. My mom was twenty when she had me. My dad is still unknown. My mom was poor and married the first man she thought was decent. They got married when I was four years old. Life was good for a while, then things got sour. My stepdad, we found out later was bi-polar which is a mood disorder. At first there were just fights between him and my mom; then it escalated to physical, emotional and mental abuse.
Things progressed and got even worse. By the time I turned twelve, my mom came to me and said we were leaving him. “About time” was all that went through my head. I was my mom’s best friend and she was mine, but when the divorce was in process the courts brought up how her parenting skills were lacking as she was parenting me. Some things were true, but I loved my mom, she was open with me. Soon after the divorce I noticed changes towards me, and later she found a new guy and things changed even more drastically. Next thing I knew I was out of the house and later, living with my grandparents. I have been living with my grandparents ever since.
I was in my freshman year of high school when I moved in with them. One of my teachers told me I was too strong willed and would never amount to anything or go anywhere. Well I started ditching that class and soon after, I ditched all of my classes. Next thing I knew I was experimenting with drugs, and I began sleeping with random guys. I had been kicked out of school for various reasons and I had stolen more money than you could imagine from my grandparents.
At the end of the year I had two credits and my principal told me by the time I would be able to graduate I would be twenty-one. I basically said screw it and dropped out. My drug addiction became worse and my sex addiction was out of control. It got to the point where I stopped coming home for three to four days at a time. Eventually my grandparents gave up and I moved out. I moved into a friend’s house where I met my son’s Father.
My son’s Father is thirty 34, a felon, and a gang member. I found out I was pregnant. Well, of course he tells me is to have an abortion. I laughed and told him he didn’t have anything to do with us.
I went through my options and settled on my decision to adopt. I called my cousins who have had infertility issues for several years. They live in Oregon, so I weighed some more decisions on what would be healthy for my baby and myself. I knew if I stayed in Colorado, I would be around everything I hated; so I decided to move to Oregon. There were more positive choices there than in Colorado, such as finishing my GED. I would be able to have a better relationship with my cousin, and she could attend the doctor’s appointments with me. Everything happened so quickly, I found out I was pregnant one week, the second week I had a plan, and by the third week I was on my way to Oregon. I knew I wouldn’t want to live with my cousins through my pregnancy. So, my cousin found a house specifically for young, single, pregnant women, “Saint Child.” I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but I knew in order for me to change and become a better person I would stick it out.
Throughout the remaining time of my pregnancy, I attended counseling, life skill classes and church on the weekends. Now one thing to keep in mind at this time, I didn’t believe I needed help and as far as I was concerned not one counselor was able to change or help me and it wasn’t bound to happen this time. The life skills classes at that time were tolerable and church, I couldn’t believe I had to go! I was disowned by my church before, how would this one be any different. So months passed, my heart changed, my thinking altered and began to mature, along with understanding myself and others better.
On July 4, 2009, my cousin Bobby took his life. On July 6th, my cousins and I flew out to Colorado to attend his funeral on July 9th. On the day of his funeral, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. Well, little to my knowledge, you have to say a prayer to seal the deal. On the 15th of July I finally told my cousin, who is a strong believer in Christ, that I had accepted Jesus. So in the Panda Express parking lot, I said the magic prayer and felt something I cannot put into words, but it was amazing!
I was getting closer to my due date which was in October. Due date meant giving away my precious little one. I battled with my thoughts and the promise I made to myself and my cousin. I had Gabriel on the 27th at 4:20 p.m. Let me tell you something, I never believed in love at first sight until I laid eyes on my son.
I got three days with my son in the hospital; they were the best days of my life. The third day was bitter sweet, and the most painful day of my life. When I handed Gabe over to my cousin my heart felt like it shattered into a million pieces but that doesn’t even explain how I felt that day, no words could ever describe it. For two weeks I cried, lost sleep and I cried again. I cried out of joy and sadness. Joy because I gave my son everything he will ever need and I blessed two amazing people. And I also got a second chance at the life I threw away before. I cried out of sadness because I will never be “mommy.” The “mommy” you cuddle up to when you are scared or sad. I’m not the one to see his first smile, first step.
What I did realize through the process is that God has a plan for everyone, and everything that causes pain He transforms into good. Through this process of transformation for myself, I have one test left for my GED; I got accepted into a college. I made friends with all the staff at the house. The resident assistant and I are so alike it’s scary, but she has helped me with so much and helped me find an understanding of myself. The Director and I, (I don’t know how to word it), but she is me in an older form. Last but not least, the house mom and I are two entirely different people but she had a lot of grace for me and stilled loved me when I was difficult and said hurtful things. I have loved my time here at Saint Child even through it wasn’t all sugarplums and rainbows. The most worthwhile times in your life are the ones when you face difficulty and work through it. I got a second chance with everyone, everything, and I’m happier now than I have ever been!
Thank you Saint Child! I love you all, Cami
My name is Cassandra and I have been lived at Saint Child for 9 months. I am 22 years old and am part Native American (Apache) and Spanish. I recently gave birth to my 4th baby boy on March 30th, 2009. His name is Johnathan Lua Espinoza. My other 3 sons were taken by DHS and are currently in foster care. Before Saint Child, I was staying from friend to friend, wherever there was a place for me to lay my head. My lack of permanent housing is the reason my boys were taken away. I’ve struggled with meth and alcohol addictions off and on over the years as well. I was sober for a year and a half before I relapsed in May of 2008. Because of my relapse I lost any and all the trust I had from my family, DHS worker, and my boyfriend at the time. DHS tried several times to place me in a clean and sober housing, but I refused to stay.
Today I am thrilled to know that my case worker is proud of the progress I have made while living at Saint Child. I am even more proud that my children have a clean, sober and loving mother. I now attend drug and alcohol treatment, am studying for my GED and I’m regaining the trust I lost. I see a counselor every week to help me with my post traumatic stress disorder due to a physically abusive relationship I was in, where I was abused if I did not comply.
Saint Child will allow me to stay up to 6 months after the birth of my baby, and I intend to stay the full time. From here I hope to move into a transitional living program.
God has finally opened my eyes and made me realize I was headed down the wrong path going nowhere. I am grateful everyday that he placed Jackie, Cindy, Mike and Angela in my life. They are wonderful people and it is because of them that I stayed here. Cindy is like a second mom to me and I love her so much. Mike is like the father I never had growing up. Angela can brighten my day when I’m feeling down. And Jackie is a great mentor and role model for me. I am thankful for everything they have all done for me and for everything still to come. I am a daughter of God now and I trust in him to help me through my struggles. I have been sober for 9 months now and I have faith in God that I will not go back to the way of the world!
Hi, my name is Ali, I’m 20 years old and pregnant with a girl.
Let me begin when I was 12 years old. I was raped by an older gang member. He told me he would kill me and my family if I told the police. After that I started running away from home. Every night I would go to the Beaverton Transfer Center to drink, do drugs, and fight people for no reason. When I was 14 ½ I was locked up in the White Shield Cottage Program. I did really good and it took me 2 years to graduate. I was so proud of myself and was doing really good.
I went back to live with my mom and 3 months later I was pregnant with my son Gabriel. I was 16, young and dumb. I stayed clean while I was pregnant and for about 3 weeks after he was born, I started using meth again. I would leave him with my mom for days. After 3 months my mom said I should sign my rights over to her and give him up for open adoption. I was mad, hurt, sad and angry inside. I gave him up so I could do drugs and not care. After he was gone things got worse. I was doing and dealing drugs, ripping people off and fighting guys. My actions gave me a free ride to prison at age 18. I was in prison for 14 months and decided to look at it positively; I was alive, clean, safe and supported for a time.
Four months after being released from prison my Meth addiction reappeared and I found out I was pregnant again.
Now here I am, 4 months later, pregnant with a baby girlIt was coming to Saint Child that changed my life. When I first moved in, I was just trying to get by, but you can’t do that here; it’s so real and so powerful. My relationship with God is wonderful and I have faith and believe that God has put me here for a reason. I’m so thankful that I get the chance to be here and can grow and mature. I’ve also realized that I have an army of support.
Last week at church I got baptized. It’s amazing how much I have changed. I look at my life with hope now. I have choices and I know that I’m a child of God. Everyone here wants to help me and my baby. I’m not angry anymore. I am humbled. Now I’m able to deal with my issues rather than putting them on the back burner. I even get to have an awesome relationship with my son, Gabriel. His adoptive mom and dad are such wonderful people and are such a blessing.
I have been given a second chance at life and Saint Child has helped me start it!