Unshattered Hope

When It All Seemed To Crumble, Hope Remained

Non-Fiction - Social Issues
96 Pages
Reviewed on 12/17/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Born in Verrettes, Haiti, Valencia moved to the US in 2000 at the age of twelve. She received her AA Degree from  Palm Beach State College in 2010, a Bachelor in Social Work Degree from Florida Atlantic University in 2012, and a Master of Social Work degree from Barry University in 2014. She is currently employed as a medical social worker at JFK Medical Center. She’s worked with at risk adolescents in the substance use treatment center, and as a trauma social worker at St. Mary’s Medical Center and Lawnwood Regional Medical Center.
 
Her experience left her wondering whether there was anything she could have done differently to save her daughter.  She decided to write this book in the hope that others might benefit from her experience and prevent history from repeating itself.
 
"I want to others to be aware and be motivated, encouraged, hopeful despite the challenges life throws at them," she says. "I believe that we are bigger than our problems. We are strong enough to overcome and not be overcome by our challenges. Life can be beautiful and rewarding despite the bitter moments we face at times. I aim to instill hope into others' moments of hopelessness and inspire people to keep on persevering. Joy comes in the morning; hard times don’t last forever."

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Unshattered Hope: When It All Seemed to Crumble, Hope Remained by Valencia Lorissaint is a story of resilience and fighting. It is the story of the author as she got control of her life when everything seemed lost. Valencia is Haitian and lived in the US since she was 12 years old. While things weren’t easy to begin with, they got worse when her father kicked her out. Living with her controlling father was never good, so getting out of the house was the first taste of freedom she ever had. She met Terron, got married, and had children with him. That was when things went downhill for real. Before she knew it, she was a mother of two, lost her daughter, and it seemed like she would lose her son too. However, when life threw her a curveball, she decided to play it on her terms.

Unshattered Hope was a heartbreaking yet very inspirational book. Valencia Lorissaint’s life was hard, she wasn’t given many opportunities to live it on her terms, but she didn’t let it hold her back. Yes, life did knock her down, but she always dusted off the mud and decided to move forward with the hope that she would succeed in the end. Giving up was never an option for her. Her battle with the justice system and her battle with her parents were tough, but it was the battle she had with her mind that was the hardest. The narrative style is perfect to engage readers and make them feel like a part of the story. Valencia opened her life up for readers and showed them all of her darkest corners. I appreciated what she has done with this book. She gives readers hope that if they work hard enough, they will overcome their hardships too. It may be tough, it may break you down at times, but if you are determined, you can do it.

Joanie Chevalier

Unshattered Hope by Valencia Lorissaint is a non-fiction account of a terrifying and sad period in her life. Valencia Lorissaint was just twenty-two years old when her world came crumbling down around her; her newborn, Jasmine, was a colicky baby from the very beginning of her life and continued to get sicker until she was hospitalized and unfortunately died at only three months old. Valencia and her husband were accused of abusing young Jasmine and that’s when the nightmare really began. The state took away Jay, her toddler, and Valencia spent almost two years jumping through hoops to get him back. What will be an inspiration to others is to read how Valencia Lorissaint persisted and never gave up, trusting in her own determination and her faith that she would get her son back and to clear her name.

In Unshattered Hope by Valencia Lorrisaint, we meet the author in early adulthood, already with a baby and a toddler. Valencia Lorrisaint shows us, through the telling of her story, what determination, faith, and the love of a mother can overcome. I feel that Valencia Lorrisaint can truly be a mentor to others in their pain because she lived that pain also. What Valencia went through was horrific…her baby dying, her toddler taken from her, and then the grueling court dates, the continuous scrutiny from the state, and the required therapy sessions. Her tenacity shows through as she gives readers hope that indeed better days can come through trying times. She continued her education through all of this, earning her bachelor’s degree, and then a master’s degree in social work. Valencia Lorrisaint is to be admired for her determination and she is easily the first choice as a role model for so many struggling new mothers, or anyone facing a mountainous obstacle.

Lesley Jones

Born in Haiti, Valencia Lorissant never thought that when she migrated to the United States at the age of twelve, less than a decade later, her life would be in absolute turmoil. Valencia was raised by a strict, overbearing father who judged every man by his own immoral behavior, which resulted in Valencia leaving home at a young age when she refused to give up her boyfriend. Valencia faced judgment from others and a series of events led to marriage to Terron, a co-worker ten years her senior. Valencia worked tirelessly to be the perfect mother to her two children. But one evening when her daughter became ill and was rushed to the hospital, she soon found herself accused of child abuse and children's services became involved. When Valencia chose to stand by her husband after he failed a lie detector test, her son Jay was placed into foster care and her daughter's life support machine was callously turned off. As Valencia battled to clear her name and to regain custody of her son, she found her loyalty to her husband was not returned. At the age of 22 Valencia had lost everything and believed her life was over. Discover how her faith in God led her through the darkness and the lessons she learned which turned her life around. Learn how Valencia's faith led her to huge personal discoveries and the opportunity to help others that have faced unfairness, cruelty, and injustice.

Unshattered Hope by Valencia Lorissaint is a very emotional memoir and I believe many people will not only relate to Valencia's story but also take great comfort in her inspirational outlook. She writes so beautifully and totally from the heart and immediately I found a great connection to her pain, sorrow, and desperation for acceptance by the adults in her life. Her account of how she became married is brutally honest and not at all sugar-coated. Valencia's loyalty to others was admirable and her ordeal at the hands of the authorities was so heartless and painful to contemplate that this type of injustice exists in Western society. This, however, is not a memoir of victimhood but a story of valor and victory. I loved her unwavering faith in God and her belief that every situation is there to teach us a lesson. 'In all I do, I try to put God first because there are plenty of times when I felt there was no way out of my circumstances and He came and created a way out of nowhere.' I loved this quote from the book. Her struggles to regain her life, reputation, and family were so commendable. I thought the chapter where she realized her value and self-worth was superb. This line from the book just sums up her story perfectly: 'We can choose to give up and let our circumstances ruin us or we can fight and become overcomers.' A wonderful memoir by a true warrior princess.

Jamie Michele

Unshattered Hope: When It All Seemed To Crumble, Hope Remained by Valencia Lorissaint is the non-fiction memoir of the author's journey through immeasurable loss. Lorissaint is a Haitian immigrant who moves with her mother to the United States as a young girl to join her father who is already living there. Her relationship with her father becomes contentious years later when he is told Lorissaint has a boyfriend, a man he refuses to acknowledge. Marriage has its ups and downs but Lorissaint loves her son Jay, and despite not being happy about her second pregnancy, the moment Jasmine is born she falls in love with her daughter. Any happiness she feels is short lived, as what follows next is a ferocious battle to clear her name and keep her son Jay safe when the unthinkable happens to Jasmine.

Unshattered Hope is a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, told in the first person by Valencia Lorissaint. The author's voice is clear and straightforward even when the writing is a little difficult to follow, but overall it does lend itself to a narrative that feels authentic. From a literary standpoint, there are going to be some who aren't going to hang in there, and for a story like this, you really do have to be invested in where it is headed. There will also likely be critics who simply do not believe Lorissaint when she says she or Jasmine's father were not at fault, but the raw storytelling made it virtually impossible for me not to view this mother who lost her daughter, and almost immediately after her son, as honest. It helped that I did not know the backstory so I could read objectively and, whichever side of the fence you're on, Lorissaint makes the case for there always being more than one side of every story. In fact, she is clear in reminding us that there are three.

Soumya Sreehari

‘When it rains, it pours’ – In her book Unshattered Hope, Valencia Lorrisaint uses this phrase many times. In her case, it is the downpour of hardships and grief. What do you do when your baby girl is snatched away from you? What happens when you are blamed for your daughter’s misfortune? How do you cope with your son being taken away by a corrupt system? Valencia faces all these situations before she even turns 25 years old. Part of an immigrant family from Haiti, as determined as she is to make an independent life for herself and her children, Valencia faces extreme challenges at every turn. All that remains is her determination and unfettered faith. Valencia’s story is one of tenacity and grit. One cannot help but be moved by this story.

Valencia Lorrisaint shares her story of hardships and triumph in Unshattered Hope so that it can be a beacon of hope to others in similar situations. Her rebellious teenage years, her determination to get a college education, her struggle with marriage, the birth of her children, and the subsequent heartbreaks – through all of these, Valencia’s unwavering faith and belief in herself to turn things around are lessons to learn. I cannot even begin to imagine how things were for her as she struggled through the events described in the book. It was dreadful to learn of the injustice she faced because of her race and immigration status, paying a heavy price for it. I was moved by how she overcame everything and built a bright future. I hope all readers get inspired and gain the strength to fight their own battles.

Foluso Falaye

There are few things worse than a mother losing her child. In Unshattered Hope: When It All Seemed To Crumble, Hope Remained, Valencia Lorissaint shares how she lost her daughter to the health care system and also lost her son to the state. When her daughter died and she lost her marriage and the custody of her son to DCF, Valencia almost ended her life on purpose, but hope kept her going. Valencia Lorissaint details how she grew up with her strict Haitian parents in the United States, battled the government for her children, attended school through difficulties, and held on to her faith in God through it all. She hopes that by sharing her book, Unshattered Hope, she can "help someone to fight the good fight and stand up against bullies."

Wow! You may not know how strange things happen until you are exposed to someone else's story. I couldn't believe what I was reading, and not many books have made me tearful like Unshattered Hope did. This short and straight-to-the-point book includes themes of Christianity, prejudice, marriage, divorce, parenting, injustice, crowd mentality, and loss. Unshattered Hope is a poignant and greatly compelling book. Individual stories of injustice like that of Valencia Lorissaint need to be shared more to prevent such avoidable evil from happening to others. I am glad to have read the book as I learned some things about babies and health that may be useful to me in the future. Most importantly, I was inspired by the story to be more resilient and hopeful in the face of adversity, and I believe it would do the same for others.