Susan and her husband Mark didn’t know how to handle their son Eric’s behavior, who they described as being in the“terrible two” phase. Mark described Eric as defiant, getting into everything and hitting other children when he became frustrated. Growing up in abusive homes themselves, Susan and Mark did not want to raise their son in a chaotic and violent household.
Struggling to make ends meet, pregnant, and alone at 25, Marta was terrified. Raised in a home with substance abuse and domestic violence, Marta’s parents abandoned her at a young age. She bounced between multiple foster homes from the time she was 8 until 18. Lack of stable role models and poor attachment with her parents left her struggling with a diminished self-worth and the inability to form meaningful relationships. Marta did not know where to turn.
Isabel left her home country of Mexico when she became an adult to escape the extreme poverty her family faced in their community. She struggled to find work in California, and it took a toll on Isabel’s emotional and physical development. Isabel became pregnant in her 20s and decided to raise the baby on her own, but she struggled in the first few years of the baby’s life.
Elena and her 6-year-old son moved in with some extended family after the Napa 2014 earthquake had damaged her rental building. She and her son were sleeping on the living room floor for several weeks, but she knew she had overstayed her welcome when her sister-in-law began fighting with her. Overwhelmed by the burden she was placing on family, Elena packed up what few remaining possessions she had and bounced around from place to place for the next 10 weeks because she had yet to find housing.
Clara was removed from her parents' custody when she was just four years old, after suffering from physical and emotional abuse and neglect. She spent several years in foster care homes before being adopted by a couple who also physically abused her and who were abusing substances.