When Adriana and her three boys Sam, Cayden and Emmanuel first arrived at Journey House, they wouldn’t go to bed without ensuring all the doors were locked. “My oldest, he kept opening, closing, locking the door. We haven’t had our own set of keys for a while,” Adriana said. They haven’t called the same place a home for longer than a couple months in a long time.
Adriana left an abusive relationship that ended with their children in care. She started a life with her new partner and soon gave birth to Emmanuel, their first son. The family moved provinces in 2006, making their way from Ontario to Alberta ready for a fresh start. After the birth of Sam and Cayden, things started to change. Her partner became verbally abusive, his drinking became excessive, then the verbal abuse turned physical.
The controlling relationship left Adriana with very little freedom as she explains, “In our old place their dad was always in charge of the keys, we would always have to ask permission – where we’re going, when we’re coming back and he would always watch the clock to make sure we were back at that time. We would have to knock to get us back in to our own apartment”.
The kids were in and out of care until 2014 when they were returned to Adriana. When they were evicted from their last home, the family came to Inn from the Cold, where they spent their first few nights at the overflow shelter. “The first few nights I didn’t think I would make it because… me and the boys had never done the churches before so it was very overwhelming and I didn’t know how the kids would take it, but we adapted,” Adriana said. Later they moved to a cubicle on the third floor of the shelter.
In November 2015, the family moved in to Journey House – they eventually settled into the apartment, the lease is in Adriana’s name, and she was given her own set of keys. “It makes you feel like you have your own control and it’s your house,” Adriana said about finally having her own set of keys. “It’s a safe place for the boys, this is our house, nobody can come into our house, nobody can disrupt us, it’s ours – we don’t have to worry about anything – it’s ours”.