Eveline reunites with her 5 children, paves new path forward

Eveline and her daughter with Lighthouse Director Leslie Painter and Caseworker Anna Pinkerman.

Eveline and her daughter with Lighthouse Director Leslie Painter and Caseworker Anna Pinkerman.

She is learning about Jesus for the first time

Despite getting pregnant at 16, Eveline continued attending classes, and went on to graduate high school. But she remembers being tired all the time. Once she tried meth, she was hooked. “I tasted it and I liked it,” she said. “I like the energy it gave me. I enjoyed it until I got so addicted.”

After high school, Eveline got pregnant again, this time by a gang member who ended up in prison. While she was pregnant with her second child, her daughter was taken and placed in foster care due to her drug use, where she remained for three years. Just four months after being reunited, Eveline got pregnant again.

“My son’s dad (her third baby) was a good, hardworking man, and he supported us,” she said. “But I was so into my addiction that I became the toxic one in that relationship. I was so jealous, and he got tired of it.”

Eveline was focused on supporting her drug habit. “I was always hustling for money, so I decided to be with men for money. I needed a roof over my head,” said Eveline, who was living in cars and hotels. “I didn’t even know who I was with in these hotels,” she said. “I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was already deep into my addiction, but when my father passed away, and my kids got taken away from me, it became worse. I just wanted to be numb from all my feelings and hurt.”

After a domestic violence incident— Eveline says she was the victim but because she fought back while driving and had no valid license, she was arrested—Eveline went to jail. “I said to myself, ‘That’s it. I am done.’”

Eveline wanted to leave her criminal past behind. She was also done with drugs after recently trying fentanyl and becoming very sick from it. Eveline was also tiring of selling her body. “I didn’t want to live like that anymore,” she said. “I wanted to be a new person and I wanted to earn money the right way.”

Eveline came to the Lighthouse 10 months ago and has been sober for over a year. “I feel good,” she said. “I love being here. They provide so much support.”

Prior to coming to the Lighthouse, Eveline never knew God. “I am a baby Christian,” she said. “My parents were Catholics who never went to church. Now I am learning about who He (Jesus) is.”

Eveline has now been reunited with all five of her children for five months. “This isn’t easy for me, but they (her children) push me to be better,” said Eveline, who added that when her kids came back to her from foster care, they didn’t have any trust in her. Their relationship was damaged.

Now, her kids encourage her, and often tell her they are proud of her, how strong she is, and how healthy she looks. One of her daughters added: “I see her doing better and I like to tell her, ‘Mom, don’t give up.’ ‘Mom, you got this. You are so powerful.’ I see all the hard work that she is doing for us. Her sobriety makes me want to spend more time with her.”

Eveline’s goals are to continue being there for her children. That means getting a job, finding housing, and staying sober.