When I was nine years old, my family was split apart when both my parents and three of my brothers were taken to prison for selling drugs. At the time, money was like a speck of dirt to me. My parents always made sure their children had what they needed, as well as what they wanted. My parents and brothers have been in prison for six years. It's hard for their kids to 'be on their own.' The day they were taken to prison, I felt like my heart had jumped out of my chest and onto the ground, I was hurt so bad.
(When I was) 15 years old, I had a summer job. I sent my parents money to help out with their personal needs while in prison. My Mom makes 12¢ per hour, and my Dad makes $50 a month. Whenever I scrape up enough money to send to them, I do it. God has made a special place in my heart for children just like me, because I know how it feels not to have your parents, or even one, to provide you with everything you need. My mom used to tuck her four kids in bed at night, and one night after she had tucked us all in, the police came jumping through our windows, breaking down doors, and worst of all, had pointed guns at everyone in the house. Now that I know God is always there, I pray to him every day to help me through the hardships in my life, and to also help my family through any problems they may have.
I also attend church whenever I go to my grandparents house, which is about every other weekend. Because I am in a Girls' Home, I don't have any control over when I get to go to my grandparents' house. But when I do go to church, I take my six-year-old cousin, three-year-old cousin, and six-month-old nephew, because I feel they should know about God before their life starts getting harder. I learned the hard way, but I still thank God for keeping my family in contact. I realize you have to be really strong to live this way."
Group photo: Diana Nelson's family. Top row, sons Colin and Corey. Middle row, daughters Celeste and Crystal. Bottom row, nephews Justin and Randy, grandson C.J.
What About the Children?