Nov 05 2012
“Can you find a mom for me?” Analisa asked.
She was a tiny eight year-old girl who scratched her head furiously because of lice. She hadn’t been to school for months. Until recently she lived with her nine year-old brother in an apartment that lacked electricity or water. That meant nights were hot and dark and the toilet didn’t flush. Analisa was quiet and fearful. She’d been abused by her mother’s boyfriends.
I was Analisa’s CASA volunteer. The judge overseeing Analisa’s future would depend on me to recommend what was best for her and her brother, Julian. It was my job to make sure Analisa and Julian got what they needed.
They needed a mom who would keep them safe.
The first thing I recommended to the judge was that the children be kept together. They had already lost so much, I knew they couldn’t lose each other.
Yet many children like Analisa and Julian—who are considered difficult to adopt because of the length and severity of their abuse—are separated. Some adoptive families are able to take one child who needs special care and love—but not two.
I was the only person in Analisa and Julian’s lives entirely focused just on them and what they needed. I had the time to make finding them a family top priority, no matter how difficult it might be.
I told a caseworker once that “these children need a home and I’m going to find them a family. I just know they’re out there somewhere.” My tenacity must have been inspiring. Everyone began to take my recommendation seriously and helped me search for a family for these children. I even went to the Child Protective Services office to go through files of potential families to find the right one for Analisa and Julian.
But I couldn’t have done this all by myself.
I needed CASA’s professional staff and support to help me be the best possible advocate for Analisa and Julian. I needed people like you to provide the financial support to make sure all of the 550 CASA volunteers like me can help 1,400 children in our community. Would you help children like Analisa and Julian by making a donation to CASA of Travis County?
Finally, after three years, we found a wonderful couple in another state looking to adopt two children. The couple understood the special love and patience Analisa and Julian, now ages 11 and 12, would need to grow into healthy adults. At first the children were shy and uncertain when I told them the good news, but when I mentioned they had dogs and horses the kids brightened up.
A funny thing is that when I met the couple I saw immediately that the four of them looked like they were meant to be a family. I think they were made for each other.
Months later, when the kids finally arrived at their new home, their parents had already hung a photograph of Analisa and Julian over the fireplace. Finally, the children were home.
Just as Analisa and Julian depended on me, I am depending on you to help with a generous donation. It costs $1,500 to provide the professional training and support for a CASA volunteer to advocate for a child for a whole year. But right now, 500 children in our community—like Analisa and Julian—don’t have a CASA volunteer focused on their needs.
It’s been four years since Analisa and Julian got a new mom and dad. Both children are in high school and doing well. Last Mother’s Day I received a phone call out of the blue and a very familiar voice said hello. It was Analisa.
“Karen, I never got to say thank you for finding me such an awesome mom and dad. Happy Mother’s Day!”
Without support from people like you, Analisa’s heartfelt request for a mother might not have been heard. Analisa and Julian would likely have grown up in separate homes and lost their strengthening bond. I hate to think of what would have become of them. But thanks to CASA, Analisa and her brother have a loving mom and dad.
Please show kids like Analisa and Julian you are listening to them and you care about what they need. Thank you for making your gift to CASA today.
CASA Volunteer since 2001
P. S. Your tax-deductible donation means so much right now. More children than ever need a CASA volunteer to rely on. You can help a child find a safe, permanent and loving home.
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