Josiane Keller - NaNa painted hugging a lizard
NaNa (23)

“When I was 16 I got pregnant with my daughter. I first moved to California to live with my mother and finish high school. My daughter and I ended up in foster care and after three homes I brought her to Portland to live with my sister for stability. When I was finished with school I also settled in Portland to live with my baby’s daddy’s parents.

At first everything went well. I got a job and was saving to get a place for me and my daughter. Then in January 2007 my sister told me that she was going to adopt my daughter and threatened me into signing off my rights. After that happened I gave up. I stopped going to work and so I lost my job. After a month of not being able to find another job my “in-laws” kicked me out and I ended up in OUTSIDE IN.

While I haven’t been homeless since May 2009 I think about my time on the streets often. The thing I remember most – the thing that hurts the most – is when I got pregnant again September 2008. I was so happy and knew there was help available to get me off the streets before the baby came. I started job hunting, stopped drinking, and was feeling great. But the father “wasn’t ready” and said he would leave me if I didn’t get an abortion. 

I don’t believe in abortion but I was so co-dependent and so desperate to be loved that I went through with it. I wish I had known then what would happen after. He left me after the abortion was done, while I was asleep in recovery, to go sleep with another girl.
I will never forget that experience and I will never forgive myself.”

NaNa painted hugging a lizard | 2012 | Each reflection of myself echoes a different emotion at me - 20 Heroes from the City of Roses | Tags: ,