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From grief to joy

By August 22, 2021August 24th, 2021House of Opportunity, Stories

Kristina had always dreamed of a family of her own. But even realising a simple dream can feel like an impossibility when life seems to be against you. Kristina tells her story in her own words.My name is Kristina and I am 28 years old. I have three brothers and four sisters. At the age of 7, my brother Goran and I were placed into our first foster family. We suffered hell in that family. There was physical and mental abuse. We were transferred to another family, but the psychological abuse continued.

After finishing primary school, I enrolled in high school, where I also lived. I ended up as an assistant cook and pastry chef. After that I started living in a house with two brothers, who were partners with two sisters, and their children. Living with them was hard, with frequent quarrels and physical assaults almost every day. Clutter, dirt, poverty.

When I was 20  I met a boy and got pregnant. I gave birth to a beautiful boy with blond hair and  blue eyes – but he was very sick. He was immediately hospitalised for bowel and stomach problems. After two years my little Leon lost the battle with the disease and fell asleep forever. My world collapsed, I just wanted to be alone in my room, nothing more. As if there was no way out for me anymore.

One day my brother Goran visited me and told me about the “House of Opportunity”. He had been a resident for a few months  and I saw that he enjoyed it. I saw the gleam in his eyes, the happiness of life. I decided to join my brother and, like him, try to turn a new page.

I am so grateful for the two years spent at the House. What I learned and experienced there, I will never forget. I learned to accept and love myself, my life, and love God who gave me a new opportunity and new hope. At the end of my time in the House, I met my current husband Ivica, with whom I have a beautiful little blue-eyed boy, Emil. What I have always dreamed of has become a reality; a healthy family filled with love and care!

I love being alive!

Kristina Vukalović.

Kristina is a former resident of the House of Opportunity in Varaždin, Croatia, which is run by FSCI partners, Hoću život (I want life).