- Hope Comes and Goes
- By ANDREW CULLEN
- The 63rd Missouri Photo Workshop / Clinton, Mo.
A year ago, Jennifer Burwell, 32, tired of a life of partying and instability began the task of building a healthier life. She focused on the five children still at home, cleaned up and retreated to close friends and family for help.
Jennifer moved to a smaller apartment and worked for her landlord, fixing up borderline uninhabitable properties in exchange for credit on her rent. She continues to struggle to provide a comfortable home for the children, having been unemployed for several years during a succession of pregnancies, and is no longer eligible for federal aid for needy families.
But caring for her identical twins Mya and Emma, middle sister Abigale, and fraternal twins Hanah and Hunter is itself a constant occupation. Monitoring their relentless chaos is exhausting, often to the point that Jennifer has little energy or motivation to pursue available social services or job prospects.
Jennifer Burwell, 32, second from right, sits on the stoop with her boyfriend, surrounded by her children and neighbors. Jennifer’s yard is a gathering place for children from nearby, including several young men she considers step-children.
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