My Journey from Pain and Fear to Love and Hope

Thank you to Charlene, a former CASA child from Texas, for telling her story in this guest post, and to Miss Belle, for all she did to help Charlene and her sister find their stable and loving “forever” home.

When I was little, I had a secret—one I kept to myself for years. Every time I thought about it, I got so scared I didn’t know what to do.

My Journey from Pain and Fear to Love and Hope

I used to feel ashamed of who I was. My CASA volunteer taught me to love who I am.

The first time I cried out for help, my mom said I was making it all up. There’s no way that any of her boyfriends would lay their hands on me. But they did. It happened to my little sister, too.

I was 6 and my sister was 4 when we were taken away from our mom. It was an awful time. We were terrified. But there was one person who stood by us through all the upheaval. She was there for us every time we needed her, making sure we were OK.

Her name was Miss Belle. She was our CASA volunteer.

No matter where we lived, Miss Belle visited us once or twice a week. She took us to the library, the park, did arts and crafts with us—things we’d never done before. She made us feel safe and happy.

We could tell she really cared about us. We knew we could depend on her no matter what. When one foster home didn’t work out, she helped us find another. She met with our case manager to prepare her for important court dates.

It took some time, but eventually Miss Belle helped us find my father, who had split up with Mom when I was a baby. Miss Belle drove eight hours to meet with my dad’s parents, who said they could take us in. She wanted to make sure our grandparents could give us the stable “forever” home we so desperately needed.

Granny and Paw Paw later adopted me and my sister and have given us a loving home where we have healed and learned the meaning of hope.

I used to feel so ashamed of who I was that I’d wear baseball caps in pictures and cover my face. Not anymore. Miss Belle taught me to love who I am—to feel beautiful inside and out. I will forever feel grateful that my sister and I had such an amazingly supportive CASA volunteer standing up for us when we needed her.

Imagine if every foster child were so fortunate.

This entry was posted in Child Advocacy, General, Guest Blogger, Story, Youth. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to My Journey from Pain and Fear to Love and Hope

  1. Jan Stamos says:

    I became a CASA for a ten year old girl in 1995. Although I was not officially her CASA eight years later when she turned 18, we kept in touch and I was the constant in her life. I became her SSI payee; I helped her manage her money throughout homelessness, trouble with authority, and her fighting depression and anger. She reads at a second grade level. She could never make up for the school days she lost until she was 10. Unfortunately, she is now in jail awaiting indictment for first-degree murder, I will still serve as the person she can talk to. CASA is a pretty special program.

  2. Pingback: DC127 | Foster care in the news: CASA edition

  3. Jessica Trask says:

    I myself am not a foster care child. However, my little almost three year old is. She’s been in foster care since she was a newborn baby. She’s been with the same foster family this whole time which I’m extermely grateful for. She’s involved in the foster care system in Claremont New Hampshire . I also been blessed that she has a wonderful Guardian At Liedum who it was my pleasure would for the eighteen I was involved directly in her case. I also been very blessed that she has a wonderful DCYF caseworker who once I wasn’t directly involved with case any longer that when I would learn new stuff about my daughter’s father which I hadn’t even known myself until after I had left him because there was a lot of Domestic Violence in our relationship the last ten months we were together because he didn’t understand the reason for the DCYF involved with us.

  4. Valarie Anthony says:

    Hi Charlene.

    I just read your story which was posted on Facebook. I was moved by your story because I also grew up in foster care, where I was severely abused mentally, physically and sexually. Unfortunately, the CASA program was pretty new while I was in foster care, so I didn’t benefit from the program but I am so happy to hear how they assisted you and your family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>