Northern California woman posts Craigslist ad asking to rent a family for Christmas


Jackie Turner is a college student in Rocklin, near Sacramento.

"On the outside, it looks like I'm the American dream kid," she said. "But I have a back story that most people wouldn't believe if they looked at me today."

To say the 26-year-old comes from a broken home would be an understatement. She's been physically abused, sexually abused, and emotionally abused. To escape it, she spent years living on the streets, which created even more problems.

"I was in gang life, on the streets, fighting, doing drugs, just making a mess of my life," Turner said.

She was eventually arrested for grand theft and spent close to a year in jail.

When she got out, she'd had enough, and went to a camp for troubled young adults in Grass Valley called Christian Encounter Ministries. Now she's a 4.0 student at William Jessup on scholarship. In between classes and studying, she volunteers at a nearby martial arts studio.

But, like she said, that's what you see on the outside.

"There's still something deep inside of me," Turner said. "There's this void, my biological parents aren't here, and it's kept this hole inside of me."

That's where the Craigslist ad comes in.

It read, "I am looking to rent a mom and dad who can give me attention and make me feel like the light of their life just for a couple of days because I really need it." The ad offered to pay $8 an hour.

When asked if she was really willing to pay to rent a family, she answered, "Yes. Just to sit. Just to listen. Just to cry with me, no strings beyond that. I've never felt the touch of my Mom hugging me and holding me. I don't know what it's like to look in my dad's eyes and feel love instead of hatred."

Dozens of families have come forward offering to take Jackie in for the holidays for free.

But Turner also heard from others in her same situation.

"People who have been raped, people who have been abused, people who have been passed on from foster home to foster home saying the same things," Turner said.

For the first time - Jackie isn't alone with her feelings of abandonment. So now, instead of renting a family, she's creating one.

Turner hopes to organize a gathering of those who have responded to her ad.

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