Melanie’s Story

I can’t remember a time I wanted to live. I never knew my father, and my mother was an alcoholic prostitute who wanted to abort me. For much of my life, there were times I wished I hadn’t been born.

When I was a year and a half old, authorities took me from my mother. I was adopted into a large, wealthy family in Hales Corners. Most of my siblings were foster kids or adopted like me. I never felt like I belonged. I spent my childhood severely depressed. I never fit in anywhere. I had few friends and no emotional bond with anyone. I often thought of suicide. After high school, I fell in love with a boy I thought cared about me. Then my boyfriend began using crack cocaine and abusing me. I finally escaped him, but I just ended up with a string of abusive men. I stayed with them because I felt like they were all I had. I was so hopeless, I tried suicide many times. I desperately needed emotional help, but there was no one to give it to me. God, however, was beginning to work in my life.

First Steps Toward Joy

Two years ago, after the birth of my son, Elijah, we ended up homeless on the streets. I was scared. One day, a caring woman at a local church directed me to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission’s Joy House. Now I’ve been here since June 2012. From the moment I arrived, I felt like I was part of a loving family. I felt cared for by people who encouraged me and wanted me to succeed. Slowly, my walls came down. I learned to trust. And I started laughing — something I’ve rarely done in my life. Thanks to Joy House and caring people like you, I’m building a firm foundation on my Savior Jesus Christ.Thanks to you, I have mentors and people who pray for me every day. Thanks to you, I have a big smile on my face. Thanks to you, I have a reason to live.