My name is Eli. I used to live with my mom. She and her boyfriend would beat my brother Antonio and me with golf clubs and extension cords and then keep us home from school so no one would see the bruises. She’d be watching TV or cooking and then something would just set her off. Sometimes her boyfriend would hold us down while mom hit us. For fun he’d throw my little brother across the room and laugh about it.
The cops came once to bust mom for weed. They noticed we were pretty bruised so they took us to the hospital for a few days. Then they just sent us home to mom and her boyfriend. Finally, social services came and took us away. We went back to the hospital first. The doctor told us we had broken bones and some other stuff, so we started taking some meds and meeting with therapists a couple times a month. Then Antonio and I were put in separate foster homes. Antonio started threatening his teachers and getting in all these fights at his school. The court gave him six months probation and tons of community service. I started missing classes and went from all B’s to failing in school.
Mom was allowed to visit us, but she kept bringing her boyfriend even though the judge said she couldn’t. She would have him wait in the hall where we could see him or put him on the telephone to talk to us. They both kept saying we’d be living with them again soon and “we better behave.” That always really freaked out Antonio. He tried running away a couple times and even threatened to kill himself. Then he was moved to a group home and I never got to see him.
After all this happened, we got our CLC lawyer, Karen. Antonio and I met with Karen and she asked us about everything, including what we wanted. We told her we wanted to live together and to go to the same school and to not live with Mom and her boyfriend. Karen got the court to move Antonio out of the group place and into a foster home closer to mine, so I get to hang out with him more often. And we get to go to school together. She also got us a meeting with a new doctor who told me I had post traumatic stress problems. Now Antonio and I go to counseling to talk about Mom and everything that happened to us. I am learning how not to be mad all the time and Antonio has pretty much stopped fighting at school. And we are both working hard to pass our classes. Karen helped set up a trip for the two of us to visit our uncle out west and we get to talk with him almost every week now. We don’t have to see our mom or her boyfriend anymore, so Antonio’s doing a lot better. We owe a lot to Karen and CLC. When they got involved, it finally felt like somebody had our backs.