Many of the friends we meet through Redwood tell a similar story. Sometimes their family was the beginning of their story of abuse. Sometimes they have lost the connection to family because an abuser set to work cutting all of their supportive ties. But nearly all of our friends come to us with little or no family. One of our friends, one of eight siblings, half-jokingly calls herself an only child. But she tears up when she talks about the ways her family has abused and abandoned her.
We were gathered around the table at United House this week for lunch and we fell into talking about family. And this same friend started gushing, as she often does, about Redwood and what her friends here mean to her. She said, “You women are my family.”
That is what Redwood is about. We’re here to support one another in the ways a family should. We’re here to fill the gap left by an absent family. And somehow, together, we become a chosen family.
Erin Hatton is a mom of 4, fiction author, and family support worker at Redwood Park Communities.