May 31 2016
During our May 24 Swearing-In Ceremony, The Honorable Darlene Byrne shared her own adaptation of an Erma Bombeck story with the audience of CASA volunteers, friends and family:
I want to tell you a story that I've adapted to what I do. It's a story by Erma Bombeck in its original form but I've made it my own. It's about my favorite child and just so you know, when I talk about a child in this story, there is a human, flesh and blood child that I can point to and every one of these children is my favorite child.
Every child welfare judge has a favorite child. They can't help it. They're only human. I have mine- the child for whom I feel a special closeness, with whom I share a love that no one else could possibly understand. My favorite child is the one who is scapegoated by her siblings and parents just for speaking out about the sexual abuse at the hands of her father. The one that was only four pounds and seven ounces, born early by ten weeks and who was struggling through painful withdrawals from heroin in the NICU with a new foster family by her side.
My favorite child spent Christmas alone, away from her family, was trafficked by her stepfather to pay the bills, and lost all her things again because she was moved in the middle of the night with no notice to the new foster home.
My favorite child is the one who hated therapy, who broke his glasses again, who just wanted to fit in and who misses his family dog more than anything.
My favorite child is the one who kept running away from placement after placement, who refused to go to school even though this was "only" the fourth one this year, and who wanted to be accepted by her mother who continued to refuse to visit or to come to court hearings for her.
My favorite child cried in my office because she couldn't go home that day. He withdrew because his favorite foster home gave notice because he smoked marijuana at the home. She brought the therapy dog into my office for comfort when discussing her dreams and desires.
My favorite child has pink and purple hair, wore all black, all the time, wanted to get help from someone, anyone to get their drivers license. My favorite child could be selfish, immature, bad tempered and self-centered. She was vulnerable, lonely, unsure of what she was doing in the world and yet, also quite wonderful.
All child welfare judges have their favorite child. It is always the same one: the one who needs you at the moment. Who needs you for whatever reason - to cling to, to shout at, to hurt, to hug, to be still with, to unload on, but mostly just to be there.
I hope you'll be there for the child that you are assigned to. There are going to be some good days and some bad days. And, as we know, in those bad days, the most important thing you can do is not give up on them, be there for them every step of the way.
November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013