This is a story about hope, new life, and parent-child reunification.

Lucias (right) says, “”When I was at JOTC I didn’t have enough clothes for one week and months later (I’m) staying sober and working hard. I’ve gotten Housing and support and confidence.”

So often, we tell this story from the mother’s perspective. But this is a story about a single dad, Lucias Moran, and his determination to be there for his family, stay sober, and build a life for his ‘little survivors.’

Lucias is living in Triumph’s Family Emergency Shelter after recently graduating from a local residential treatment program. He is a dad to four children: two twin boys aged 3 months, one two-year-old, and one six-year-old that he is working on adopting… he’s the only father the child has ever known. The twins were born 10 weeks premature in the parking lot of Yakima’s St. Paul Cathedral and, as reported in this story, were delivered by Father Jesús Mariscal. Lucias talks about how close he feels to the boys and says, “they are little survivors. I’m raising them all alone.”

Several months before the twins were born, Lucias had just graduated from Triumph’s James Oldham Treatment Center (JOTC).  Lucias was born and raised in Yakima. As a child, he loved fishing, hunting, and camping with his neighbor- someone who was like his dad. Lucias says, “I put him through the ringer and he never gave up on me.” Before committing to the program at JOTC, Lucia’s alcoholism was out of control and he ended up in jail. His daughter was taken away and his girlfriend, the mom, went to jail as well. That’s when they found out she was pregnant with the twins. Once he got out of jail, he couldn’t get a hold of his girlfriend. He was worried about his kids and family, and says, “I wanted to be there for them.” He arrived at their apartment to find it trashed, and all his belongings missing. Lucias started drinking again every morning and said, “I was feeling like I was going to die.”

Eventually, Lucias made his way to the 30-day treatment program at JOTC and completed it successfully, but the day after his graduation, he relapsed. He knew he had to do everything he could to take care of his family so he checked himself into another residential treatment program, and two days before he graduated from that program, the twins were born… although he wouldn’t find out about their birth for another four days until his social worker was able to confirm the details. “My kids, my family, I wanted to be there for them. That was one of my biggest stressors – not knowing when they were going to be born. I was worried about them, and worried about their mom.” After leaving residential treatment for the second time, Lucias was staying with his childhood friend and neighbor. He was working through intensive outpatient treatment and working through all the steps his social worker and case manager were suggesting, including getting his driver’s license, attending daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, applying for financial assistance, and participating in Family Treatment Court to reunify with his toddler and his girlfriend’s 7 year-old.  That is when he got connected to Triumph’s Family Emergency Shelter.

The shelter is usually reserved for emergency stays of around 30 days for families. Even though Lucias didn’t have his children with him yet (the twins were still in the neo-natal intensive care unit) Bob Douthitt, case manager at the Triumph Emergency Shelter said, “he has children and he technically has custody of them,” so he qualified for the emergency shelter. Triumph supports each family in the Emergency Shelter to find transitional or permanent housing, usually within 30 days. However, in Lucias’s case, it’s much harder as there are not many services for men, especially for single men with children. Douthitt said, “we are going to give him the time he needs.”

The stability that Lucias has been able to demonstrate through his commitment to staying sober and his stay at the emergency shelter have been positive marks as he learns that he will soon regain custody of his toddler, and likely his oldest child as well. He continues to hope that his girlfriend, the children’s mother, agrees to attend and engage in treatment but for now, he’s happy to know that she’s at least safe. With sobriety has also come a renewed connection to his family. Members of Lucias’ family come to babysit in the evenings, invite him to family events, and encourage him. “I feel really supported and loved, and feel like they are rooting for me. I can see now that they don’t mind helping as long as I’m doing well.” Lucia’s support team is helping him find permanent housing and he’s looking forward to getting a job once the children are all stable. But he recognizes that he’s the only lifeline for his children right now. He says, “what people don’t realize is that it’s a full-time job to finish treatment and raise babies. For now, I’m a dad, that’s my job.”

Stay up to date with the latest news & updates

Follow us on our socials or sign up for our newsletter to hear inspiring stories and learn about our impacts on the community.