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"The hardest part is when she says, “Mommy I don’t want you to leave.” Lola has been staying with her Aunt and Uncle since October 3, 2015.

“The hardest part is when she says, “Mommy I don’t want you to leave.” Lola has been staying with her Aunt and Uncle since October 3, 2015. ·Photo by Maranie Staab

Sarah Womack stands in the center of her daughter’s pink room and explains why she had to take the frame off the bed and leave the mattress on the floor. After the Office of Children, Youth and Families inspected her home, the agency claimed that a bed with a frame would make a room seem too much like a bedroom and a bedroom would make things “too confusing” for Sarah’s daughter, Lola. The mattress on the floor makes Lola’s room a playroom instead.

Lola lives with her great aunt and uncle. That is her home. Not with Sarah. Not yet.

Sarah Womack is an addict as well as a mother. I listened to her story for three hours. We cried together as she detailed her years of drug abuse: an ex-drug dealer and lover holding a screwdriver to her temple and threatening to drill; Sarah weighing in at 86 pounds when she is finally arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for parole violations.

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