Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Beth Patterson shares her experience with her 9 year old child in foster care:
When I stop to think about words to describe my relationship with my little guy, I can list quite a few but the one that lingers the longest is intertwined. He and I are intertwined. Yes, I am his CASA and I support him and his family; I go to court, write reports and attend a myriad of meetings centered around his welfare. But, the root of our relationship is that our lives are intertwined. I know he loves peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, Sprite and chicken nuggets. I know he is afraid of the dark and misses his mom… Sometimes it takes several phone calls to find out where he is. But, find him I do. Because we are intertwined and I need to know he is safe.
I remember learning in CASA training that sometimes the CASA is the only steady and consistent person in a child's life. What? There are so many caseworkers, therapists of every title, judges and supervisors. How can that be true? But it is and that is what keeps me tied to this child. After every move and change, at the end of the day, it’s just him, me and the caseworker. And sometimes, it's just him and me. At a school meeting last year when asked how long he has known me, my kiddo responded "forever." Wow.
There are many challenges with this child and I am very concerned about his future but for now we laugh at the same YouTube videos, talk about the foods we both dislike and what it feels like to be in a family. He is living with a wonderful family right now and everyone is working very hard to make this work. It's the longest he has stayed anywhere and I am both crossing my fingers and holding my breath. I want my guy to say one day that he has known his resource parents "forever."
His adoption day will be one of the happiest days for us all. Get out the tissues because I will be a sobbing mess!