Recently, the Gonzalez family were residents of the HomeAid Family CareCenter. Their journey, like many of the families who call the Family CareCenter their temporary home, has not been easy.

Matriarch of the family, Yvonne Gonzalez, was sexually abused by her father during a visit to see family in Mexico when she was 9-years-old. By age 15 the trauma of that experience caught up with Yvonne. She had become addicted to meth, she was selling drugs, and then…she found out she was pregnant with her first child- a baby girl that she would name Jazzmine after her love of Jazz music.

While chatting with her recently, she shared that growing up in Santa Ana was tough, but growing up with unresolved trauma, a meth addiction, a very abusive boyfriend, and her first baby at 15 was even tougher.

Over the course of the next 8 years, Yvonne was with different men which led her to have 1 other child, in addition to her first daughter that she had at 15. During this time, she was still regularly using meth and selling hard drugs, while also being an active gang member. The bad choices caught up with her at one point, when she was arrested and charged with felony drug trafficking. She spent a brief while incarcerated and then, when she got out, she met another suitor and…she was pregnant once again. This time, she was pregnant with not just one baby, but two- one boy and one girl.

One day while Yvonne was pregnant with the twins, Yvonne’s then boyfriend snapped and beat the daylights out of her. She says she was shocked, appalled, and incredibly scared. Not too long after, Yvonne made the decision to leave her boyfriend and to get clean. Unfortunately, leaving him meant leaving his house which left a pregnant Yvonne, her two young kids, and her mother homeless for the first time.

Since then, Yvonne hasn’t used and she’s no longer gang affiliated. Sadly though, that doesn’t mean everything has been hunky dory.
Because of the troubles in her past, Yvonne wasn’t interested or invested in school. She’s worked odds and ends jobs as a babysitter and house cleaner. One day a few years ago, she says that she saw a post on Facebook for someone looking for a caretaker. She reached out and got the job! The biggest perk was that it was a live-in caretaker position and the elderly woman she was caring for welcomed Yvonne and Yvonne’s family.

Just a few months ago, that house burned. At that point, the woman Yvonne was caring for went into hospice, passed away from COVID-19 complications, and again, Yvonne and her family were left homeless. They were staying in a hotel trying and Yvonne was trying to figure how to make things work. That’s when they found their way to the HomeAid Family CareCenter through her children’s mobile school system.

After 2 months in the CareCenter, Yvonne and her family moved into an apartment of their own. While living in the Family CareCenter, our contracted security team offered Yvonne a job that she says she plans to take once the family gets situated in their new home.

Looking back on all they’ve been through Yvonne says, “It’s been hard. It’s been hard on them. I tell them I don’t want you guys to be going through this, I don’t want you guys to suffer. I didn’t choose this.” Now though, she hopes that the suffering and the instability is over.

Their journey to stability has not been easy but they made it. Families like Yvonne Gonzalez’s are why we do what we do as HomeAid Orange County.