I was born March 29, 1992 in detox. As soon as I was born I was taken from my biological mother because of her drug use. I was held in detox for 10 days. During those days my life was being planned, “Where will she go? Who would take her?” I wonder if they knew how difficult my life would end up being.
When I was born my older brothers and sister were living with their paternal grandmother and although she wasn’t my grandmother she took me in. She was 50 years old but she was still willing to take full responsibility for a newborn baby. Her name was Cleotilde Garcia. She was and is the only mother I have ever known. She nourished me with kindness and love. But things began to change when I was 6 years old that’s when the abuse started – he was a family friend and every Sunday we’d see him and that’s when it would happen. I told my family but nothing was done about it and it went on for years. When I was about 12 years old my aunt’s boyfriend sexually abused me. I didn’t tell anyone because, just like before, I didn’t think they would listen. So I suppressed it all and rebelled against everything, even my mother.
Eventually, when she couldn’t deal with my acting out any more, my mom packed up my things and kicked me out. She died in 2008 and all the stability and love I had ever known was gone forever. I was basically homeless at 14, and 16-17. I could have lived with my aunt but I didn’t want to be in the house with the man who sexually abused me. It was rough and although I was adopted I was never really in the system so I didn’t know there were people and organizations that could help me and no one was looking for me. On the streets I knew how to survive; it was familiar to me and with my boyfriend we moved from lamppost to bridges to shelters when we could find one to take us. It’s strange thinking about it now how normal that seemed at the time.
In March of 2010, I found out that I was a mother- to- be with no place to go since we were still homeless. All that changed the night I felt my baby move and I knew I could not let her be born into this life. I went from shelter to shelter refusing to be denied. Finally, I found the Covenant House that led me to Inwood House where I live now in the Victory House. As soon as I started to stand up for myself, my boyfriend became abusive–so I’m on my own now. My daughter Faithe was born a healthy big baby girl last year. This year, I was able to go to Washington, DC with other young women from across the country to share my story with policy makers. It felt amazing to hear my voice and to know that I can make a difference. Faithe was 4 months old and I took her with me too. We toured the White House together and one day I’ll show her the pictures.
I knew that being accepted to Inwood House was a second chance for my baby and me. At Inwood I got the support I needed to go back to school and reach for the stars and to think about my life in a positive way. I see myself as a successful persistent young woman. I graduate from high school in June. My goals are to apply for college to attend in the fall of 2011 and to study to become a recreational specialist focusing on senior citizens.
I know in achieving my goals I am being the best example for my daughter, so that she can dream big and achieve her goals.