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Finding hope in unexpected places

Nieko as a baby, reaching out for Jasmine Morales (courtesy of J. Morales).

Jasmine Morales is a teenage mother, but she does not have a child.

Not yet.

Morales’s sister was in an abusive relationship. Her three children were being physically harmed. The court ordered Morales’s sister to end the relationship, but she refused.

Her children were taken away.

Her children were put in foster care.

Her children travelled from one strange home to another.

The two older children went to live with their fathers, but four-year-old Nieko remained in foster care until Morales insisted on adopting him.

Nieko found another mommy.

Morales and Nieko spend their Saturday nights together watching Disney movies, especially “Cars”, with a bowl of popcorn.

Morales and Nieko fold the laundry and do other chores together.

Morales and Nieko sleep in the same room together.

Morales and Nieko wake up together so that Morales can get Nieko ready for day care.

Although Nieko has been taken from an abusive situation to a loving home, the memories continue to haunt him.

Jasmine Morales is in the process of adopting her nephew, Nieko (courtesy of J. Morales).

During the night, memories form into nightmares that bring forth screams, waking both Nieko and Morales.

Morales lets Nieko crawl into her bed. He snuggles up to her side. She asks him about his dream. He tells her about it. She soothes away the recollections by singing the words from either “Someone Like You” by Adele or “You’ll be in my Heart” by Phil Collins. Nieko drifts into a calm sleep.

Morales’s mother, Tina Morales, never wanted her daughter to have this responsibility at such a young age. She did not want her daughter to be a teenage mother like she was. Tina Morales is extremely proud of her daughter and admires her decision to adopt Nieko.

Morales hopes to have the adoption finalized this year. She wants Nieko to finally have a safe, loving home where he can forget the memories that haunt him now.

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Ashley Secreto, Author

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