This is my story
My name is Candice.
I am 27 years old and have four children aged 9, 7, 2, and 1.
When I first came to Lilly House I was broken. I had 3 children at that time which had been removed from my care 5 months prior. I was on very limited visitations with all three children and seeing them for only an hour a week. I was pregnant with my 4th child and had been notified that he was to be removed from care at birth. I had lost all hope.
I felt as though I couldn’t continue in life anymore and the only way of escape from all the pain and desperation, I was enduring was death. I came to Lilly House for help. I was already plotting my own death and I knew for sure that I would not live through another one of my babies being taken away.
It was nothing short of a miracle that Lily House accepted me. I did not fit their criteria, at the time, but the lily house board believed in me. Having people care about my situation and actually believe in me was my very first small step towards hope.
Lily House took me in just two weeks before my 4th child was born. And although my 4th child was to be removed from my care at birth, thanks to the hard work of lily house I walked out of the hospital 2 weeks later with my beautiful baby boy in my arms. I had been given strict stipulations with child safety which lily house agreed to support me through and also supervise.
I was also going through District Court for some serious crimes I had committed prior to coming to lily house. Lily house supported me through every step. Not only did they write letters of support and attend every court hearing by my side I always had a counsellor to turn to when I felt like my world was falling apart. There was always someone who cared, and I spent countless hours in tears in a counselling room working through the problems arising from my past. I never felt like anyone was too busy and I was always given the time and support I needed to repair.
Lily House has a stream of beautiful women ready to help the girls on their journey. Whilst there, I had access to a home doctor, chiropractor, midwife, sexual health nurse, health nutritionist, budgeting support, as well ladies came to be your friend and most importantly the counsellors. All of these women aren’t paid for the jobs and they do it out of the goodness of their own hearts and the love they have for the girls. And it’s because of this that I knew that they truly do care.
A lot of the girls that come to lily house were also raised in unstable homes. Whether it be that their parents were mentally ill, or drug addicted. They weren’t raised in a safe, stable and loving environment so in turn don’t know how to provide a safe, stable and loving environment for their own children.
Lily House loved me back to life. They provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment for me and I am now capable of providing the same for my children. They taught me to not only care for my children but how to care for myself.
Those We Support
have trauma history
months average stay
hours volunteered each week
experience domestic violence
I lived in lily house for a period of 6 months, but the support didn’t stop there. I moved out of the house in September and was reunified with all my four children and lily house has been by my side every step of the way.
It hasn’t been an easy road trying to reconnect with my children and finding our feet together as a family. There have been so many highs but also at the same time so many lows but for each low someone in the lily house team has only been a phone call away.
My life today is beautiful. Even though all of this has happened in just over the last 2 years it still feels like the life I was living before lily house was a lifetime ago. The person I am today is nothing like the person I was before. I have so much joy in raising my children in my own home. I feel like I can now be the mother than my children deserve, and nothing makes me more happy or proud.
It warms my heart that Lily house works so closely with our own family and it was just last week that many of the lily house team came along to witness us be married before God in our local church. It was such a beautiful and amazing day, a day that I never thought I would ever get to experience and one of the best days of my life.
Our life these days is just like most other Australian families – we fill our weeks with school, home, work and team sports and do things together as a family on the weekends. I am volunteering at lily house once a week now as well. I am looking at going back to study at the beginning of 2015 and have a dream to become a midwife. It is Lily house that made all these things possible. Thankyou Lily house.