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Finding a place to belong

Finding a place to belong

Finding a place to belong

Adam and his daughter Yindi have found a place to call home through the Canberra City Salvos.

By Adam Dunham

I was born in Devonport, Tasmania. My mum brought me up as my dad was into bikes and was just never around.

I left home at 14 and moved between Melbourne and Sydney. I was into gangs, drugs and crime and spent time, first in boys’ homes, and then prisons, on and off for years.

I was an addict and my life was a mess.

A court judge first sent me to a Salvos rehabilitation centre when I was 28. I knew something there was different – God was definitely planting a seed in my mind. I started going to the Salvos Corps in Bonnells Bay. It didn’t last though as I relapsed and went back to jail.

That was the cycle of my life for the next 10 years – drugs and jail. I then started avoiding jail by admitting myself to rehab. It became part of my institutionalisation. My life cycle changed to using drugs, rehab, and relapse.

I ended up flying from Queensland to Canberra, as it was the only rehab that had a bed for me. I was doing well for four months, but then I relapsed and moved in with my girlfriend and she fell pregnant.

She told me soon afterwards that she had lost the baby, so I went back to Sydney, and then Tasmania, in a very bad state. I then found out that she hadn’t lost the baby and that was a changing point for me.

I went back to rehab in Canberra and the corps there. I thought I’d experienced God before but, for the first time, I really surrendered to him and my life changed.

My daughter was born and we called her Yindi, which means “the sun in the sky” in a Northern Territory Aboriginal language.

A close mate of mine committed suicide and, while it really hit me hard, I knew that, with God and Yindi in my life, I had no need to return to drugs to cope. Instead, my burning desire to help others, especially the ones society rejects, just increased.

I had completed rehab but then Yindi came into my care full-time – so I am a single dad. The Salvos helped us get housed and we have our own place now.

There are many challenges in being a single dad, but I am learning so much from Yindi and being a dad is the best thing I have ever done in my life.

I miss my family in Brisbane, but the Canberra City Salvos is an amazing church and they are my family too. I am an adherent there, Yindi was dedicated there and everyone has been so loving and supportive.

I have never experienced support like this before and I am blessed to be part of this community.

I would like to work with vulnerable people, especially youth on the streets. This is my long term goal. I have some opportunities to work with others, and with the Canberra City street talks our corps is doing, which is great.

I am pressing in, praying, that God will help me to be who I really am in him. Yindi was a driving factor behind my recovery, but it’s for me too. God helped me to see that, because of who I am in him, I am worthy in myself.

I am grateful for the Salvos and all they have done for me. I don’t know where we would be without them.


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