At 9 months old, baby Isaiah’s parents left him in the care of a family member and disappeared from his life. The next 10 years were unstable and difficult for him. When domestic violence and drug abuse were discovered to be plaguing the family, 11-year-old Isaiah was removed from his relative caregivers and placed in the foster care system.
Understandably, the years of extreme trauma and instability Isaiah had experienced impacted his behaviors, ability to establish appropriate relationships and academic progress. Over the next four years, Isaiah lived in a dozen different foster homes and residential facilities. The impact of Covid-19 increased his isolation and negative patterns. Throughout these difficult years in the system, Isaiah has relied on and confided in the one constant advocate in his life, his court appointed GAL (Guardian ad Litem), Tim.
Early this year, a possible licensed foster parent, Kevin, emerged for Isaiah. Tim encouraged the connection, hopeful that he had finally found someone that would step in and truly care for Isaiah. Kevin was vested in Isaiah, checking in with him daily at the latest facility where Isaiah was living, and joining him for activities. Still, as Isaiah’s possible future foster parent, there were times when Kevin was overwhelmed with the complicated situation. Tim communicated regularly with Kevin, leveraging his knowledge of the complex systems Kevin was attempting to navigate on Isaiah’s behalf, and encouraging him to keep going for Isaiah.
After years of steadfast advocacy by Tim, Isaiah was placed with Kevin this fall. Isaiah is attending high school and enjoying extracurricular activities. Kevin carefully oversees Isaiah’s educational, medical and emotional needs. He also communicates clear expectations and consequences at home with Isaiah, and Isaiah is flourishing within the structured environment.
Reflecting on the difference Kevin is making for Isaiah, Tim says, “For the first time in his life, this young man is being defined by his strengths, not his deficits. He is thriving.”
Without Tim’s encouragement and expertise, Kevin may have become too frustrated with the complex and overwhelming situation, and chosen to walk away. Instead, after a lifetime of disappointments, neglect and instability, Isaiah finally has a loving and stable home for the holidays.
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* Identifying details of this true story have been changed or omitted to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.