Andrea embodies the definition of "strength" as she has continued to stay strong for herself and her two sons during some of the most difficult and painful moments. From fighting through a violent relationship and getting herself on her own two feet, she has proven that she is capable to do anything she sets her mind to.
Andrea is a single mother of two sons. Her oldest is now three-years-old and her youngest is two, born a year and a day apart.
Like many victims of abuse, Andrea’s story is powerful and intense. From a picture perfect beginning to restraining orders for protection of her family, Andrea has worked tirelessly to provide for her and her two sons.
Andrea would describe the beginning of that relationship as something strong, something great. As time had gone on, day after day, she saw a mood change in her partner and she began to be on the receiving end of his anger. During her time in a domestic violence relationship, she was battered and abused before, during and after her first pregnancy. She has experienced infidelity and heartbreak, but still held on to a hope of a family. She was gas-lighted time and time again.
Andrea’s partner was in and out of jobs through the entirety of their relationship, which made the financial situation a touchy subject, only triggering Andrea and her partner. With a baby on the way, she urged him to help provide for the future. As the financial situation tightened and worsened, Andrea fell into depression.
Andrea was rushed to the hospital for an emergency C-section, the scariest moments of her life, one that she went through alone. She begged her partner to come and be with her, but he made excuses each and every time. Fortunately, she delivered a healthy baby boy and Andrea decided to give her son her name.
As a punishment of betrayal – refusing the tradition of paternal last names – her partner would continue to cheat and abuse Andrea. In his eyes the baby was not his, he neglected any care for his oldest son. Andrea fell into a trap of feeling like she deserved this punishment—that she brought it upon her son.
She found out she was pregnant again shortly after. Andrea believed this could be a second chance to put their past behind them and move on as a complete family. Her partner continued to go without a job and stayed out all night, and their bills started to be late. Her credit dipped low because everything was in her name.
Andrea continued to rough it out until her second delivery. She started to stand up for herself and her family. She demanded respect and financial stability, and she took her two babies and left. He promised to do better for their family, so she gave him one last chance that continued to destruct her family. The final straw came with two incidents where she was to the point of death – twice in one week at the hands of her partner. Enough was enough.
She decided she needed to do better by her family. She immediately fled to Mutual Ground, a safe haven for victims of sexual and domestic abuse. One of the hardest decisions she would ever have to make, but a decision she looks back at in pride and strength. Andrea remembers lying in bed with her children that night and whispering they were finally safe.
Habitat for Humanity is a second chance for Andrea and her two boys. She is recovering from abuse and manipulation, while repairing her financial situation to be able to provide for two young children. One of the biggest concerns for Andrea was her own personal insecurity of feeling like she cannot do anything by herself – a byproduct of abuse. Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity has helped and is continuing to help Andrea find her stability within herself. And while she was in a short term safe space like Mutual Ground, she needed a long term solution that would prove to be beneficial to her children’s development and provide a thriving environment.
Since Andrea was accepted into the Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity Program, the family has moved from Mutual Ground to her parent’s home while they wait for their home to be built. Andrea has become more independent and her main focus is providing a stable and loving environment for her children. They all sleep in one bedroom which is very cluttered and cramped, but they are safe and she is regaining confidence that she can provide for her sons on her own.
Andrea’s oldest son, Christopher, loves reading and playing with his trains, while the youngest, Nicolas, enjoys his toy trucks and loves to play outside. Andrea can’t wait for the day to come when they will have a house and a yard to call home.
Andrea’s family has been chosen to receive the 2019 Faith Build Thrivent Home located on Solifsburg Ave. in Aurora, IL. This is our affiliate’s third Faith Build Home with Thrivent Financial. Thrivent awarded Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity $105,000 in matching funds this year for the Faith Build. We have 30 area churches participating in this build along with Thrivent Financial.
I asked Andrea, “What does getting a house from Habitat for Humanity mean to your family?” She answered, “In one word it means everything. It is a fresh start. It will be a solid foundation where my boys can grow and become men and a place where I can feel safe and secure. It is also something I did on my own as a woman and a mother. The father of my children always brought me down, telling me I would never amount to anything; I was worthless and would never accomplish anything on my own without him. Now I am a provider and a fighter with a built in family support system. I know all the Habitat for Humanity homeowners will be there for me, cheering and supporting my family through the whole journey. I feel so accepted in our community and I am so grateful for all our partnerships. I love this organization I will be there to help in any way I can for the rest of my life. This experience has changed our lives forever. I am so grateful.”