Saturday, November 19, 2011

Finally--A Real Home!

Almost 3 years ago now, I started writing to a young woman, Nichole, who was in prison. Those of you who have followed my blog have seen posts about her from time to time. I got in contact with her grandma, Colleen, and we became good friends. I also was in contact with her 2 kids, R.J. and Nyla. Over those years, I not only wrote, but I started going to visit her about every 2-3 months. After I got to know her grandma she would go with me to see her. In the last several months before her release, I began to think of her as my "adopted daughter" and she started calling me her "adopted mom". (Her own mother has chosen to have no contact with her for over 5 years.)

Nichole was released in August, and had been staying at a sort of "half-way house" the last couple months. However, she now has a job, and as of November 7th she is now in her own apartment. She is so excited, and it's so good to see her finally getting established in her own place.

The picture above is of her living/dining area. When I first saw the empty apartment, I thought it wasn't going to be very big! But this room is actually nice size, and has good lighting, and holds all the furniture that she needs. The beautiful dining table was given to her by a friend of mine. The dining chairs (which go with the table beautifully!), along with some lamps were given to her by my sister. Four other small tables, including the bedside table by her bed were donated.
This just shows one corner of her living area with the lamp and table. That closet that you see has some wonderful shelving, so she's been able to set up a pantry in there.
Behind this partition you can see her kitchen; it is very small, but will be adequate for her. She has a stove and frig, and does have a microwave also.
I couldn't really get a good pic of the bedroom. On the wall at the foot of her bed is a really large closet with shelves. The door to the room is on the left hand side and then to the right of the door is a little alcove where she has a dresser.

She has custody of her 2 children, but they are not with her full time right now. She has them on her days off from work. But she will need to figure out child care, etc and sort of get on her feet. They are with their father the rest of the time, which is where they had been prior to her release. (I went to her place yesterday; the kids were there and Nyla was sleeping, but R.J. was so excited! He said "Grandma Donna, we have a new house!)

I could not be more proud of her, and excited for her. I don't think any of us (unless we've been there) can understand what a big adjustment it is to get used to living on the "outside" after having been in prison for so long. She has done extremely well. She goes to church with us when she's not working, and she spends a lot of time with her grandma.

It has been a blessing for me to see her progress, both in getting established with a job and a place to live, as well as seeing her growth spiritually. She has a bubbly, out-going personality, and has endeared herself to almost everyone she's met. I'm happy to be able to call her my "daughter".


Rebecca said...

How beautiful that in the "giving" you have received -- a daughter (and grandchildren)! The Bible talks about receiving a hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters," etc. You've got a good start (and so does Nichole)!

Diana said...

I remember Nichole and all of the things that you've done for her and her children. She must be so excited and a bit nervous to start her new life. She is lucky to have you on her side. Blessings to Nichole.
Love Di ♥

Becky said...

Donna, How wonderful for her and for you! You have blessed her life I am sure as she has blessed you. You have truly been a real part of God's hands and feet in this young woman's life!