A Fresh Start and a Second Chance

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In her home in Shepard, Mich. Kara Mclean kisses her 3-month-old daughter, Milah Nyokos, as she gazes at a framed photo of her eldest daughter, Aria Balis, who no longer lives with her. November 13, 2016.
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Kara Mclean reports to the W.I.C office in Mount Pleasant, Mich. to claim food benefits offered to low income mothers, November 17, 2016.
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Kara Mclean (center) shows her case worker a photo of her first born daughter, Aria Balis, and compares it to her 3-month-old daughter, Milah Nyokos, at the W.I.C office of Mount Pleasant, Mich on November 17, 2016. Mclean notes how similar the two half-sisters look and how much she misses Aria, who was placed into court ordered foster car a couple of years ago.
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Aaron Ginowsky looks at his tablet as he sits with Milah Nyokos as her mother steps away for a moment to prepare a meal, in their shared home in Shepard, Mich. on November 17, 2016. Aaron recently moved into the one bedroom apartment with Kara Mclean and her fiance Stephen Nyokos as a temporary roommate after losing his home following a divorce.
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Kara Mclean breast feeds her 3-month-old daughter, Milah, in the bedroom of her home in Shepard, Mich. on November 17, 2016.
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Stephen Nyokos, sits on the porch of his home in Shepard, Mich., checking his phone as he waits for his grill to heat up, February 2, 2017.
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Milah Nyokos, tugs at her towel as her mother, Kara Mclean, swaddles her after a bath in the kitchen of their home in Shepard, Mich. February 2, 2017.

 

 

“They took her because my ex showed up at my house and he wasn’t supposed to be there because of the restraining order. It’s not my fault though, what could I do, I didn’t tell him he could come over.” Kara Mclean says as she discusses why Child Protective Services took her first born daughter away from her. She is completely open when it comes to discussing the fact that her child was taken from her though her explanation is vague and opposes what other sources state as the reason her child was placed in foster care. However, she often brings it up the loss of her daughter in casual conversation with coworkers and customers at her job. Locals/coworkers who have known Mclean say that her daughter, Aria, was taken because her father was molesting her and Mclean was turning a blind eye to the situation. This has not been confirmed by Mclean and despite the rumours she always greets everyone with a smile and kind heart. Kara has not seen Aria in 2 years but keeps photos of her displayed around the house and speaks about her often.

Kara states that her life was really hard after losing everything and even though things aren’t perfect and she still can’t afford a home she’s happy to have a partner who is kind to her and a new baby. She is currently engaged to Stephen Noykos and now has a 3-month-old daughter, Milah Noykos. They live in a one bedroom apartment in Shepherd, Mich. Kara works at a local diner as a hostess, where she met Aaron Ginowsky, a coworker who is currently living with the family after losing his home in a divorce. Though Aaron can not contribute to the household financially he helps the couple by giving them rides because neither can afford to own a car. Stephen works a few days out of the week but does not have a steady job at the moment, when he isn’t working he spends his days searching for ways to gain income. Kara works afternoons and is always eager to return to Milah, who rarely leaves her arms when she is home. 

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