Adrien, 29

Meet Adrien…

Make peace with the parts of your life. Making peace makes life easier.

Adrien, 29
Incarcerated: 1 year
Housed: San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, California

I was sitting in Reception, waiting to hear which prison I would go to, hearing what other guys were planning on doing when they got released. The last time I was arrested, I turned my life around: got my high school and medical assistant diploma, and worked for three and a half years in the medical field. I enjoy working in clinics, urgent care, primary care, giving injections, taking care of people. It made me proud, too. I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to work in the medical field for a while, but I brought this on myself. Once I get out I will start looking and going back to school. I told them, “Anything and everything is possible. You just can’t doubt yourself.”

I was born on a reservation in Montana, in and out of country jail since I was 18. When I had my first child, a daughter, I wanted to show up for her. She inspired me. I wanted to be a father, different from other fathers who aren’t in their children’s lives. My dad didn’t. He was in and out of prison, not there. I was motivated to do it differently. I have siblings, younger than me. I didn’t have someone to push me to be a better father or a better son. I only had myself and I learned from my mistakes. When I was 10, I had to do that for my siblings when no one else did. It prepared me for being a dad. I didn’t have a childhood. And that made me the father and son I am today. People ask me, “Why do you talk to your dad? If he wasn’t there for you.” But I say, “Why not? Why be petty? I have to be the bigger man, even though he wasn’t there for me, he can be there for his grandchildren.” Make peace with the parts of your life. Making peace makes life easier. When I was going to school I was tatted up, looking just like another gangster. I wanted to prove them wrong. It was a good motivator.

When I first got to San Quentin in December, they thought I was Mexican not Native American. White Eagle, one of my elders, brought me closer to my native roots. I’m his cellie now. I’m proud to be Native American, being here made me connect with my inner roots. I know how to help people now. When one of my four kids is hurt, they come to me. “Dad, what’s wrong? Make it better.” With Covid I helped them not be afraid of testing, of getting sick. I talked with my daughter, my oldest, and told her, “Don’t grow up too fast. Don’t worry. Just be a kid.” I’m getting out in 12 days, so I can be there for her and my other kids. I just found out that my mom was in an induced coma after surgery and passed away after the surgery. So maybe I can get partial custody of my younger siblings.

This incarceration has made my relationship stronger with my fiance. I had doubts, but I see she really does care about me. I can’t wait to get married. She really stuck by my side through this all and I am so thankful to have her. I keep believing, anything is possible.

Logan, 35

Meet Logan…

My last relationship blessed me with a boy and girl. Through the years Mariah is the one person who stuck with me.

Logan, 35
Incarcerated: 4 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison

My dad spent time with me on weekends and whenever he could. But I was always closer to my mom. I was a mama’s boy. My oldest daughter Mariah has always been close to my parents. For years I was a single father and my parents helped raise her. She has a good relationship with her stepmother. My father has really gone out of his way to be the father I can’t be while incarcerated. My mother passed away, so my dad is a single father. Being a retired heavy equipment operator he would normally be enjoying his retirement. I feel he has sacrificed his retirement. He has never complained and I know he loves his granddaughter very much. Still, I know it must be challenging even though she’s a good kid. At 16, she is going through a time that can affect the rest of her life. Dad takes her to appointments, buys her things, and everything that comes with supporting a teenager. Not because he feels like he has to, but because he loves her. I’m thankful for the person he is. I look up to him and wish I was half the father he is.

I am also proud of my daughter. She has become a product of her struggles. I admire the way she has dealt so well with the obstacles in her life. She was by my side from the day she was born to the day of my incarceration. She is my “Road Dawg” as some might say. I left her mother when Mariah was two. My last relationship blessed me with a boy and girl. Through the years Mariah is the one person who stuck with me. She was with me at work when she wasn’t with my parents or at school. I learned it takes a village to raise a child. We lived in a very small community. My employer, who was like a second mother to me, people from work, and friends helped me support her by giving her clothes, gifts, and they remembered her birthday. Looking back I admire her ability to make the best with what we had. She never complained or gave me a hard time. If she cried, was upset, or sad I knew it was serious. I always received compliments on how well behaved she was. Being a single father was tiring, but she made it easy. I still carry those precious memories to this day. I am amazed and proud of the young lady she has become. 

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