A New Start in a New Country

March 11, 2020

Daniella and her daughter Mia

Daniella never anticipated where her life was headed when she bought roundtrip tickets to California from Italy five years ago. She planned a three-month trip to be with her partner, but quickly discovered she was pregnant. The couple eloped and shortly after Daniella began noticing signs of hostility and control in her husband.

Daniella had a complicated pregnancy and chose to carry to term, despite warnings from her doctors. She decided it would be safer to stay in the United States until she had her daughter, Mia. As a resident of Italy with no green card, Daniella had a working permit but wasn’t able to find lasting jobs. She was unable to use her bachelors from Italy, plus her husband did not help provide care to Mia, making it difficult to maintain employment.

The family moved to Denver and the abuse continued to get worse. Daniella survived four years of psychological, financial and emotional abuse. He threatened her immigration status until she received a green card without his support. She decided to leave her husband but was unable to move out since she struggled to maintain work and had no safety network to support her. She tried to save money but he manipulated her financially so she could never be independent.

Daniella quit her job after experiencing a mental breakdown from all the abuse. Her ex-husband was becoming very physical and her daughter started acting out, which was the final straw for Daniella. She took Mia and whatever she could fit in her car and went to a domestic violence shelter. They timed out, unable to stay longer, and had nowhere to go until she found Family Tree House of Hope.

Daniella and Mia stayed at Family Tree House of Hope for two months. She was so grateful to have her own room and be surrounded by other mothers who were working to regain stability. Daniella was dealing with years of trauma, but met with a therapist through Family Tree House of Hope and confided in her case managers.

“Family Tree was amazing. They don’t make you feel ‘less than’ in any way, which is the biggest thing," Daniella shares. "They make you feel human. I was given back the confidence I had lost along the way.”

Daniella has her own apartment with furnishings from Family Tree Treasure Trunk. She shares custody of Mia so is unable to return to Italy, but says that Mia is doing really well and she is grateful she left before they had to experience any more abuse. Daniella is back in school to obtain a degree she can use in the U.S. and continues to maintain a positive outlook on her future, free from abuse.