Permanency is crucial to a child’s development and well-being.
I lived with my dad until I was five. He loved me a lot but couldn’t take care of me. He was out of work because he had an injury. Sometimes he bought beer and drugs instead of food. The heater in our house was broken, so we kept the oven turned on to keep us warm. I slept on a mattress on the floor. My dad didn’t know where my mom was, and I don’t remember her.
One day the police came to our house to arrest my dad, not sure what for. They asked me if I ate that day. I told them I didn’t and they took me away. They put me in a foster home with strangers, Sally and William. I was scared to live in a new place with people I didn’t know. It was hard to sleep. I had a lot of nightmares. I didn’t smile and always kept my head down. I only played by myself because I didn’t want to talk to anyone. When I went to school, I was way behind the other kids in everything.
My foster parents had some house rules. One of the rules was that they demanded respect, so I called them Miss Sally and Mister William. Miss Sally always talked to me and helped me. She took good care of me and I stopped feeling really sick to my stomach. I really liked spending time with her. I opened up and smiled more. I felt more confident at school and I caught up to the other kids in class. Once I started feeling happier it was easier to play with other kids and make friends.
One day, I asked Miss Sally if I could call her Mama and she said yes. I told Mama I dreamed about finding my mother to take care of me, love me, and make me a little princess. Mama said she dreamed about having a little girl to take care of and keep safe and happy.
My dad tried to talk me into living with his family, but I wanted to be adopted by Mama and William. There were forms to fill out and meetings to go to. Every time we went to court there was another reason why I would have to wait again to be adopted by Mama and William.
After I turned ten, I got my CLC lawyer. I told her that all I wanted was to be adopted. She told the judge how much it hurt me to have to wait and that I wanted to know for sure that I could stay with Mama and William because I love them and they love me. She told the judge that what seemed like a short time to all the adults, seemed like a very long time to me. The judge understood, and four months later, I was adopted by Mama and William.