“My life was crazy growing up,” says Shamika, who came to Joy House pregnant and feeling lost. “There were nine of us kids. There was no child abuse, but there was stuff going on with my parents, and we got put in foster care when I was 11.”
Despite the chaos she experienced at home, the trauma she felt being taken from her parents haunted her for the next seven years. “I was trying to figure out what was going on,” says Shamika, now 20. “I felt abandoned.”
Yet Shamika has fond memories of her foster mother. She had her own room and her own bed for the first time. Her foster mother even officially adopted her, and Shamika calls her “Nana” to this day. But as soon as Shamika turned 18, she tried to reconnect with the family she lost.
She moved in with an older sister, and later her birth mother. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. Then, when Shamika got pregnant, she realized she needed help. “It was too much,” she says. “I knew I had to get my life together before my baby came. That was my main focus.”
So Shamika came to Joy House where she learned about God’s love, and where her faith in Him has been growing ever since. She also credits the parenting and financial classes with giving her a solid foundation to build a new life for herself and her baby.
“Joy House really showed me I can have a better life,” she says. “They taught me so much here. Life can throw you some hard stuff, but things are going to get better. And they already are better. I want to thank the donors, because they made sure my daughter will not have to go through the same chaos I went through.”