A tent and life on the streets was all Anna knew from the time she was 14 years old. Like many of our youth, Anna felt the streets were safer than the multiple foster homes she had always run from.
Anna was now 17 and only one day away from giving birth to baby girl Carly. Anna knew she was at a crossroads that would change her life forever. She had a decision to make; to go back to the streets where it was familiar, and where her “street family“ was, or to move into Vida’s Ark where she knew no one, and face the fear of having to run again. With Child Protective Services watching, she knew in order to keep custody of her precious baby girl she needed to choose moving into a home with Transitional Youth.
The hospital bed where beautiful, bright eyed Carly came into the world was the first bed Anna had slept in for a long time. And the hospital meals brought to her on plastic trays seemed to Anna like she was royalty and being served from silver platers. We knew though, the journey ahead would be the most courageous fight of her life and we had to treat every single day at Vida’s Ark a tremendous success.
Anna had only known abuse and abandonment, so for her to trust us was an impossibility. Yet, for her daughter’s sake, Anna took the first baby steps that would lead to a new life for both of them.
Anna and baby Carly moved into Vida’s Ark. A bedroom of their own, three meals a day, warm showers and a place to wash their clothes, friendships with other young mamas, family meals around a table, a home church, a safe place for the first time…home. All of these moments led to a new way of thinking…cycles of abuse and poverty broken and a trajectory change…a new life in Christ.
Anna graduated from Transitional Youth recently, and baby Carly is a thriving three-year-old. They have settled into her very own apartment and family meals around their own take have begun. The memories of nights on the streets are still so vivid in Anna’s mind. In some ways Anna knows that will always be a part of her. But she is thankful, baby Carly will never know that life.
A new life begins.