CASA Corner: Give a child a safe place to call home
March 26, 2014
The following was written by a parent that reunited with her daughter after she had spent time in a local foster care placement. It is submitted by Leila Rosner, director of Foster and Kinship Care Education at Lake Tahoe Community College on the parent's behalf. Because of the sensitive nature of such a case, the author has requested that we only include her first name, Kim, to protect her family's privacy. The child's name was change to protect her privacy.
After three months of only having visitation with Marie, I (her mother) could tell something was wrong. She had become very thin, her hair was falling out, and she had mysterious bruises showing up on her body. She seemed frightened and scared. I eventually learned her stepmother was torturing, starving and abusing her. The things I heard she did to her were more than I could ever have imagined in my nightmares. I saw my little girl wasting away, the sparkle in her eyes had gone away and I was powerless. But because of a spiteful and bitter custody battle, I had no custody of her. I could do nothing but continually send her back to her nightmare she called home. I prayed someone would believe me, that someone would take her out of the nightmare and see I wasn't being a spiteful ex-wife but a scared mother. After seven months of reports to CPS, I finally got my prayers answered.
In October 2011, I picked up the phone to a blocked number. The unfamiliar voice on the phone said to me, "Your daughter has been placed in emergency foster care". My heart stopped for a moment and instead of feeling grief, I felt a sense of relief. I could suddenly breathe again. I knew she would no longer be in pain or terrified. I felt the tears roll down my face in relief knowing that her being placed in foster care just saved her life.
Over the next eight months she lived with a local foster family before coming home to me. They became my heroes. They nurtured her, loved her and brought her back to the happy child she was meant to be. They made her a part of their family and welcomed her with open arms. I will always be grateful to them for being there for her when I could not. Now three years later, Marie is full of life. She has the sparkle back in her eyes & fear has subsided, and I accredit that to them.
If you have the opportunity to take in a child like Marie, please do! Give a child a safe place to call home, be the light for a child in a time of darkness and despair.
And if you can't be a foster parent but know of a child being mistreated, please step in; you may be their only hope. In Marie's case, many people knew but did nothing to help her.
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For information on how to become a foster parent, Foster Family and Adoption Services in partnership with Foster and Kinship Care Education will be hosting an ON RAMP! Information Night on Monday, April 21, at 6 p.m. at the FFAS office at 2580 Lake Tahoe Blvd., Ste. D. On-Site childcare will be provided. RSVP or call for more information: 530-544-2111.