JACK AND NOLAN
Severe physical abuse. Brothers searching for a safe home.
“Based on all their bruises, I’m worried about these kids,” an anonymous reporter told Child Protective Services in 2016. When CPS investigated the home of Jack and Nolan, they found malnourished children too small for their age.
When asked how they got their scars, the boys tried to say they fell - off their bikes, out of bed, while running - but they eventually ran out of explanations. The physical abuse was so severe it wasn’t safe for either boy to remain in their home.
They needed help to recover from the memories that haunted them daily. Jack and Nolan were bound to constant nightmares and burdened with anxiety and psychological scars. Having been brought up in a home environment riddled with evil, they never understood what a healthy relationship looks like. They fought tirelessly to stay connected as brothers. With so many needs in an overburdened child welfare system, they needed a CASA.
Husband and wife team, CASA volunteers Jim and Patricia, made it their mission to keep these siblings connected in their journey towards a stable life. Trained by CASA in trauma and its effects, they knew their brotherly bond was essential to their growth and recovery. CASAs Jim and Patricia worked with CPS to find the right families who could take the children and continue their path towards healing. “One of the kid’s biggest fear is that they’d keep getting moved again and again” said Jim. They knew if the boys couldn’t be adopted together, they would need to maintain relationships that are essential to the children’s growth.
Although they were adopted separately, Jack and Nolan were able to play a part in choosing their forever home. Their families frequently gathered to celebrate birthdays, share dinners, and get togethers – connecting two families forever. “Jack was shy…once you got to know him, he opened up and was so friendly. He opened up even more once he was in his adoptive home,” said CASA Jim. When it came time for the adoptions on National Adoption Day, the CASAs not only became their voice, but part of their family.
“The beauty of this story is the kids went to the right place. The boys went to two fantastic families who are connected to each other and are willing to keep that connection,” Jaime Hernandez, CASA Supervisor.
P.S. When asked how life is, Jack’s adoptive mom relishes in the fact her family chose to adopt Jack and Jack chose them. Jack did not make the choice to be abused or neglected, or to be removed from his family. He did, however, get to choose his adoptive family. Whenever Jack acts like a typical 14-year-old teenage boy, his mother reminds him: “Well, you chose us!” and Jack can’t help but smile.
Blake’s first confirmed case of abuse was the day he was born when his little body tested positive for drugs. Tragically, he continued to be abused and neglected and was eventually placed in foster care at age 15. For 11 years, this child endured the darkest pain, and as a teen, he was isolated and alone. With no clear sources of family support other than his teenage sister Erin, he was expected to age out of foster care unless someone intervened and spoke for him. That’s when he met his CASA volunteer, Steve.
Steve began working tirelessly to find a way out of foster care for Blake. Steve refused to let another teenager get lost in the system. Blake said he knew Erin, now 21, was his last hope for getting out of foster care. “She was my angel.” For Erin, her “worst fear was that he would get stuck in foster care.” Once she turned 21, she wanted to become Blake’s permanent home, but she didn’t know how to become an approved placement. Steve helped Erin navigate the CPS system to bring Blake home, and his advocacy finally gave Blake hope for a brighter future. Thanks to the commitment of his CASA volunteer, Blake was able to move in with Erin the day after school was out this summer. Your support gives children like Blake the critical voice they need in foster care!