My name is Vanessa. As a young girl, I dreamed of being a good parent, having a family, a good job, and a home. But life was hard and by the age of 12 I was acting out at school and running away from home, even getting arrested and placed on probation! I first became pregnant at age 15, and not long after my son was born, Child Protective Services took him after an incident with the baby’s father. He and our living arrangement made for an unsafe environment. At the same time, I was placed in a group home.
It had always been difficult for me to abide by authority, or trust that there were people in the world that cared about and wanted to help me. Nonetheless, during my time in the home, I had managed to graduate from Perris Adult Community School, receiving a High School Diploma. This made me feel good to have accomplished something for myself. Upon leaving, I moved closer to my grandparent’s home in Indio, and found a job that lasted about two years.
Unfortunately, I kept messing up, getting involved with men I thought cared for me only to see them disappear when things got tough. I felt like such a loser. Depressed and overwhelmed with problems, I found what I thought was a “better” way to get rid of the pain and stress I was feeling … Methamphetamine. At first, I cared for my children, but soon I began neglecting even my newborn. This is how evil drugs are, they consume your every thought. I just didn’t care about anything else and was using a large amount of drugs. My children were removed from my care and with nothing else to lose, I lived on the streets or in jail for five years and though tired of it, without hope there was no reason to change. Until I found myself pregnant again … and cried out for help.
I found hope and sobriety at Mama’s House where I have been since April. I am learning that through tough times, drugs are not the answer. I found the Lord, was baptized and my life has changed so much since then. My past is forgiven and through Christ I have a clean slate. Unfortunately, I don’t get a clean slate with my criminal record and job opportunities will be limited for a long time. I will not give up and am studying at COD to be a drug and alcohol counselor, hoping to lead others on the path to recovery.
My beautiful daughter Avery Marina was born September 24th, and we are blessed to be at Mama’s House. I still face some struggles, but I gladly continue with the program. I am so thankful for this chance to be a good mother, to learn all I can about living a life that is pleasing to God, and to know I can stand on my own when I leave. Thank you for what you are doing to make Mama’s House possible.