Kayla Wilson and Wendy Founds

In this story, we hear two interviews, recorded ten years apart.

When Kayla Wilson was 13 years old, her mother, Wendy Founds, was arrested and convicted on multiple felony drug charges. Wendy was sentenced to three years in state prison, leaving behind Kayla and her two younger sisters. Kayla went to live with her father; she said she struggled to make sense of what happened and how to manage life without her mother.

Kayla Wilson (L) and Terilyn Coulter-Colclasure (R)During the period that Wendy was incarcerated, her mother Teri Lyn Coulter-Colclasure took her granddaughter Kayla to visit her mom. The visits helped to re-build Kayla and Wendy’s relationship, but Kayla still had trouble coping. So in 2006, Teri Lyn asked Kayla to come to StoryCorps (pictured together in 2006, right) to talk about the impact that Wendy’s addiction and incarceration had on the family. Kayla openly wondered what life would be like upon her mother’s return.

Wendy was released from prison in 2008; she was in recovery and hoped to reunite with her family. But the road to re-entry was not always smooth. Wendy lost irretrievable time with friends and family, some of whom were not quick to forgive. And while Kayla’s prison visits helped pave the way to reconciliation with her mom, questions remained.

In 2016, Kayla brought her mom to StoryCorps to talk about where they are today.

Originally aired January 5, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition

Producer’s Note: In 2017, Kayla is a high school teacher in Benton, Arkansas. Wendy lives with Kayla and counsels other parents who are struggling with addiction. In March 2016, Wendy was granted a pardon for her felony convictions from the governor of Arkansas.

Top Photo: Kayla and Wendy in 2016. Photo credit: Morgan Feigel-Stickles.