“It was not that long ago that I was barely 105 pounds, using drugs, and pregnant.”

Everett, Washington

August 2021

My name is Tynikki. It was not that long ago that I was barely 105 pounds, using drugs, and pregnant.

It wasn’t until 30 weeks that I found out I was expecting my second child. The first phone call I made was to my social worker who immediately enrolled me in an inpatient program to get clean, but it wasn’t a good fit. They wanted to take my son away from me after he was born. They only wanted toddlers or older kids, and they didn’t know how to help me take care of a baby.

There was no way I was going to let them take my son, so I needed a new place to live. This time, my social worker found Maud’s House, which is a shelter for women in recovery and their children. I feel safe and loved and supported here. The Manager Belinda is so different. She is welcoming. And there are a lot of moms and grandmas to help out.

My son, Messiah, was born the day before Thanksgiving 2020 and he was healthy. Seven pounds, 11 ounces. But after a couple of weeks, I knew something was wrong. I took him back to the hospital and they found out that he was born with two holes in his heart, and he needed open heart surgery. Maud’s House lets me live a stress-free life and they support me in caring for Messiah.

I just celebrated 7 months of sobriety, and I also decided to quit smoking. I am really trying to win back visitation rights to my 4-year-old daughter, Nevaeh, who has been living with family while I learn to live sober. Without Maud’s house, I know that I would be stuck in the same spot and Messiah would have probably been taken away. I tell anyone who might be in similar circumstances, just reach out. There may be a waiting list but be patient. It’s worth the wait.

Pretty soon, Messiah should be free of his feeding tube. He is getting stronger every day. We are fighters and we have each other. And with VOA, now we have a future.