TEXAS/OHIO: Little Anna* used to go to school, smelling like cigarettes as she wore soiled clothing and tattered shoes. Fearing that Anna would be ridiculed, her teachers would take her aside before class, clean her up, comb her hair, change her clothes and give her new socks and shoes. They also reported her neglect.
The school’s reports, along with abuse allegations, led Anna into foster care. While Anna’s parents cycled in and out of rehab, Anna went to a foster home that turned out to not be good for her. In an attempt to get a “specialized” foster home status, which pays more money, Anna’s foster mom administered different medication doses to Anna.
Anna’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), David, is a retired Combat Medic and knew enough about her medication to be alarmed. He was concerned that Anna’s new behaviors were the result of the changes to her medication. With the support of a school nurse, he was successful when he advocated for Anna to be on less medication.
It was during this time when David used Connect Our Kids to find Anna’s relatives. Using the Family Connections tool, David typed in the full names of Anna and her parents and quickly discovered a biological aunt who lived in Ohio. David felt certain he would never have found the aunt if not for Connect Our Kids since Anna’s parents never provided her name or contact information. David engaged Anna’s aunt, who, with the help of other family members, eventually moved into a bigger home to better accommodate her own children and Anna.
Anna is now living with her aunt and cousins in Ohio. She has many relatives there who she sees regularly and Anna’s aunt is in the final stages of adopting her.
Over the summer, David took a special trip to see Anna. He saw how much she has changed because of the loving care by her biological family. Anna used to test four grades behind but now she’s almost caught up to her grade level. She is also super happy and can better handle her emotions with little medication. During the visit, Anna smiled as she looked up at David and said, “You know what? I found my forever home.”
David smiled back at Anna, holding back tears as he replied, “Yes, you did. You sure did.”
Connect Our Kids is a non-profit dedicated to leveraging technology to find families, build connections, and create a community for children in the foster care system. Want to help more children like Anna? You can today by donating HERE.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.