I made a difference in the life of a 9-year-old girl who has experienced way more trauma in her short life than many experiences in their lifetime. She also made a difference in mine. What this child experienced is unfathomable. When I first met her last year, you would have never known what she went through. She was friendly, happy, and curious to learn about anyone she came in contact with. I am not certain that she could have been placed in a better foster home, or had a better team of professionals to support her.

During our initial meeting and orientation, the foster parent let me know that she was a veteran adoptive parent of several children, and has been involved in the child welfare community longer than I have been alive. How nerve-wracking! I became an important player to both the child and the caregiver by ensuring they received clear communications about the next steps in the adoption process. This prospective adoptive parent greeted me with the utmost kindness and always made sure to let me know the depth of her commitment to this child. We worked together tirelessly until the adoption was completed.

When I returned for my final visit after the adoption, I could clearly see the family had begun to settle in. It was a happy day and one of change. I walked in (waddled in–I was about 7 months pregnant) and you could see in everyone’s eyes that the permanency brought peace to this home. The children were playing, dinner was cooking, and music was playing. I was greeted with a hug and many expressions of thanks from the beginning to the end of that visit. The little bits of chaos and uncertainty were gone and this was a place of healing now. The child was so excited to repeat her new name over and over again, she even sent me home with a piece of notebook paper with it written out about 10 times. All the hard work always pays off when we get to see these cases through to permanency. I am thankful for the opportunity to change lives and they change me every time.

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