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Jasmine began life in homelessness and addiction with a mother who was unable to care for her. Because her birth mother was addicted to alcohol and drugs, Jasmine experienced withdrawals and had subsequent damage to her brain and body as a result of the chemicals her tiny body absorbed in utero. Although a family adopted her and provided a loving home, quality education, and an appreciation for the outdoors, Jasmine struggled in school and displayed signs of mental health and anxiety.

An early diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was only a foundation for future diagnoses of depression, anxiety, anorexia, and learning disabilities. Keeping up in school grew increasingly difficult; friendships faded, and family ties became weak. Drugs and alcohol became Jasmine’s “medicine” and eventually took precedent over school and family. Her friends were “using” friends. Anxiety and depression manifested into drug-induced manias. She saw crime as the only option to pay bills – violence and homelessness closely followed.

In the midst of homelessness and addiction, Jasmine gave birth to Jacob – a baby who, like her, was exposed to drugs in utero and had developmental needs that will affect him for life. With no home or stability, Jasmine put Jacob up for adoption. She receives pictures of her son over the phone and hears stories about him through his adoptive mother. Although painful, Jasmine finds ease knowing she made the best decision possible for her baby.

Around the same time of giving up her first-born, Jasmine learned her adoptive mother passed away. This sent Jasmine into a spiraling, addictive state – one that threatened her survival. After nearly 5 more years of homelessness, abuse, starvation, addiction, crime, and severe health concerns, Jasmine was “saved” by incarceration. While in jail, she received treatment for meth-related health issues and lost her teeth. Jasmine also learned she was pregnant for a second time; but this time, her developing baby would not be exposed to drugs and alcohol.

After early release, Jasmine moved into long-term supportive housing and gave birth to Bella shortly after. This was the first time in over 5 years Jasmine wasn’t homeless. Now, at 28-years-old, she had a daughter she could provide for. Although her “Happily ever-after” looks different from others, Jasmine has hope, and she knows the struggle with addiction is ongoing. Just as the outdoors were woven into the fiber of her being, addiction threatens to take over at every turn. Jasmine finds solace in knowing that to stay “clean,” she must be comfortable with asking for support while surrounding herself with healthy, caring people – not just for herself, but for Bella.