Samantha's Story


I gave up my son for adoption when I was 17. When my nephew was born, it was an eyeopener. I don’t want him to have the same life that I knew, having aunts and uncles in addiction. It’s an honor to be an aunt, and I don’t want to let them down. I still felt a sense of failure, but being here is a blessing.

I’m learning how to be humble. Our path should be the one that God has for us. And the world’s law are not God’s laws. The world is all messed up and broken, like I am. 

I wake up with prayer, have devotions, seeing the light with a sober eye is giving me the right direction that I had never walked before.

My direction before was my way or the highway. I’m not perfect, no one is, but being here has shown me the things I need to change.

My rock bottom moment was when I had no body on my side and I realized that my nephew was a month old and no one had called me or told me. I went on Facebook and saw it. That was heart shattering. When I saw that picture, I had done my last shot of dope. I couldn’t carry the burden of being in my addiction while my nephew’s life had begun without me.

I want him to know me, to feel security and openness with me, to know that he always has me.

My relationship with my family now is amazing. My family has open arms for me now and are proud of me.

Ryan Stillwater

Ryan is a longtime Visalian — a graduate of Redwood High School and Fresno Pacific University with a bachelors degree in Christian Ministries. Intrigued by the partnership between the Visalia Rescue Mission and the City of Visalia, Ryan began putting his vision on paper as VRM's Oval Venue Coordinator in August 2013, and has sparked the interest of many throughout the community. Ryan and his wife Amy (a Mt. Whitney High School graduate) have been married for seven years and have three amazing kids — ages 6, 4, and 4.