By Emily Drooby
Kristi Kollar and her daughter Adeline live a life filled with love, happiness and laughter, but it wasn’t always that way. Her life changed forever when a friend she trusted raped her.
“We were close. We weren’t dating but we were close friends, and he would give me rides places sometimes and things like that,” Kristi said. “And so one day he was giving me a ride home, and then eventually he didn’t let me out of the back of his car.”
After the sexual assault, Kristi faced a huge challenge she was determined to overcome.
“I found out I was pregnant a couple weeks after this happened,” she said.
She knew having a baby wouldn’t be easy. Making it even harder was the fact that she was in high school without a home. A fire had destroyed the place where she lived.
Still the, Christian teenager rejected aborting the life within her. She wanted her baby.
“Even if it was easier for me, it wasn’t right. Like, the easier path didn’t make it right. Just because all of this stuff was happening to me and just because her dad was a rapist, none of that was her fault. I knew she didn’t deserve to be killed because of all that had happened,” Kristi said.
After Adeline was born, Kristi moved to New York City. She wanted to go to college and study performing arts. Her dad, Robert, moved with her to help out and to cope with his own difficulties.
“I believe God used her to rescue me, and used me to rescue her,” Robert said, referencing the way he learned he was a father.
Robert didn’t know Kristi was his daughter until she was three and trapped trapped in an abusive household. He took her out of that environment, and is so proud of Kristi and her inner strength.
“There’s so much blessing hidden under all this. If you look at any story in the Bible, they all start out bad,” he said. “God uses these things to help other people. He’s helped us, he has made us stronger.”
“I’m still going to school and I’m still doing everything. Instead of my life ending, it got so much better and it has so much more purpose now. She’s the best thing in my life,” Kristi said.
Still, the family is struggling. With the costs of caring for a child and going to college, money is tight.
But the Queens crisis pregnancy center The Bridge To Life is giving them support, “helping to young women parent, helping them finish school so they can be contributors to society with a paycheck,” said Catherine Donohoe, president of the organization’s Board of Directors.
The family is also helping to support themselves. They’re holding a fundraiser where they screen Robert’s movie ‘Take Two’. The movie is about his personal path to fatherhood. It’s being shown at 7:30pm on October 23rd at Bellmore Movie and Showplace at 222 Petite Avenue in Bellmore. You can call (516)783-3199 for more information.
You can also ask The Bridge to Life how you can help. Their number is (718) 463-1810.