As a CASA volunteer, finding a forever family for a child involves many emotional feelings. In the eight years my husband Joe and I have been CASA’s we have advocated for five children. Our first little three-year-old child was quickly reunified with her parents after a misunderstanding between her parents was cleared up. I thought wow, that was a slam dunk, piece of cake…this CASA thing was going to be easy! Our confidence was quickly raised and and we asked for another case.
Our next case involved four siblings in three different foster homes. We knew we had our work cut out for us. The biological mother told us she would do anything the courts asked of her to get her children back, so we believed her and set out to bring all the children together again with their mother. As time wore on, things began to deteriorate. Mom would not show up for visits with her children and started testing positive for drugs. She moved from place to place and no one could find her. The children really became upset when they expected to see her at the family visits but mom didn’t attend. Meanwhile, the two little girls were placed with their Aunt and started to bond with her. The two little boys were very happy in their foster homes and their foster parents expressed interest in adopting them. We realized this would be in their best interest and after six years of advocating on their behalf, everyone’s wishes came true. The Aunt acquired kinship guardianship of the little girls and the boys were both adopted by their foster parents.
It was so rewarding to see the children flourish in their homes but it is also the hardest part of being a CASA volunteer – knowing when it is time to say goodbye to the children that have made you feel like Grandma and Grandpa after all these years. For us, the happy ending was really a beginning for the children.
Footnote: It wasn’t long after the children were settled into their new homes, that we found out that their mother had a fatal drug overdose – making the move to their forever families even more meaningful. We were so thankful the children had families who could provide safety and support during what would be a very trying time for the children – grieving the loss of their mother.