Fighting for family: Nevada City woman tells her story to inspire others | TheUnion.com

Fighting for family: Nevada City woman tells her story to inspire others

Jacqueline Turner won't need to post an ad to figure out her plans for the holidays this year.

"I want to rent a mom and dad," Jacqueline Turner wrote in a Craigslist ad she posted in 2013.

Turner, who now lives in Nevada City, never met her biological mother and said she experienced abuse from her biological father as a young child. In her Craigslist ad, she offered to pay a small fee — $8, which was all she could afford as a college student — to experience family life for one night during the holidays.

This year, Turner won't need to post an ad to figure out her plans for the holidays.

She received an overwhelming number of responses to her 2013 post, and in the years that followed, she established close connections with many people she now considers her family.

But Turner's journey doesn't end there. She's become an advocate for others who are experiencing the loneliness she once did.

Sharing her story

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Turner has worked at a variety of summer camps, ministries and nonprofits in an effort to help people who don't have close family connections or who suffer from past traumas.

"I've worked with kids who are adopted and have extreme cases," Turner said. "I've worked with kids who are about to lose a parent, or kids who have severe attachment disorders. I try to give them the hope I wish I would have had."

In 2015, a made-for-television movie about Turner's life called "My One Christmas Wish" aired on UpTV. Her story became famous, she said.

But despite the connections she's made and the people she's been able to help, Turner said she still fights for her own happiness. She wants to let others who are struggling know that, even for someone who is considered a success story, it's never easy.

"I overcame a lot," Turner said. "I defied odds compared to people who have come from my background. But what happens after that? What happens once you get a family?

"It's hard work," she continued. "You have to remember that the people in your today don't deserve the repercussions of your yesterdays. Each day is a fight. You're fighting to draw closer. You're fighting to create new memories that drown out the pain of your yesterdays."

Turner said she hopes to inspire others to fight that battle.

Happily ever after?

Today, Turner works for Acres of Hope, an organization in Auburn that strives to break the cycle of homelessness for women and children. The ability to help others find hope during difficult times in their lives is an exciting role, she said.

Turner continues to tell her story, she said, but she tells it with the caveat that it's still being written.

"Happily ever afters are not just given," she said. "They're fought for."

Turner encourages people to reach out to those in their communities who may not have families to spend the holidays with this year. It can be a difficult season for people who experience loneliness, she said.

"My One Christmas Wish" is scheduled to air on Up TV throughout the month of December. For information about how to watch, visit uptv.com/movies/my-one-christmas-wish/.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.