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A Migrant Teen Mom Three Thousand Miles From Home

PA, United States

by Emily Whitney

Published May 2024

Yolanda is sixteen-years-old and had her first child, Miguel, in December 2023 in Pennsylvania (pseudonyms used to protect their privacy). She came with her father to the U.S. from Mexico when she was nine years old. Through a frightful journey and after years in school and working in the mushroom fields of Kennett Square, PA, she became pregnant at the age of fifteen. She was initially leaning towards having an abortion, but decided to keep her baby and is now raising him while living with her father.

For Yolanda, most relationships with her family were severed seven years ago when they came to the U.S. Now, she faces the decision to focus on her education, pursue citizenship, or return to Guatemala to raise her son with the support of her mother who she has not seen since she was a baby. Her dream is to be reunited with her mother, but the sting of loneliness grows stronger as she will soon lose her father when he leaves the U.S.

Emily Whitney

Emily Whitney is a photographer based in suburban Philadelphia focusing on portraiture, photojournalism, and humanitarian photography. After cross-cultural experiences in Africa and Europe, She prioritized working with organizations that advocate for justice and enable opportunity for all. She aims to create images that renew hope through storytelling and photography.

Follow Emily Whitney on Instagram

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