Our resilient January child of the month is one-year-old Mason.
Mason was born extremely premature. At the time of his birth, he was positive for methamphetamines. His birth mother was positive for several elicit substances and was completely unaware of her pregnancy. She was arrested soon after his birth and has had no contact since. Mason remained in the NICU for 3 months and was eventually discharged to a kinship placement. Soon after placement, his caregivers began withholding his formula, resulting in excessive crying and fussiness. In October, after what was suspected as a repeated episode of shaking, he was admitted to the hospital with a non-accidental head trauma associated subdural hematoma. He had a shunt placed and remained in the hospital for 3 days. During this time, Operation Baby Watch volunteers were loving on him. We later found that a few of the volunteers that cuddled him during this time were friends of ours.
Upon receiving the call for his placement, we were just recovering from an extremely stressful first placement and almost said no. But, we didn’t. We met him at the hospital the next day and fell in love. He came home to us that evening.
He was severely developmentally delayed, malnourished and recovering from neurosurgery. We quickly discovered he also had reactive airway disorder and was hearing impaired. Over the next few months, the shunt was removed, hearing aids were ordered and other medical interventions were completed. Parental rights were terminated and we were moved to the adoption unit.
Now, he is doing fabulously! He is trying to walk, eating everything, making more sounds, and catching up developmentally. He is adored by his whole family, especially his big sister, Avery! The best thing, even with all of the adversity, he is a super happy boy that is full of smiles and laughter!
– By Jessica and Holly Wiles
📸 T. Jones Photography
For more information on Operation Baby Watch, visit One Heart Lubbock.
Our December child of the month is the amazing Samaria. Samaria and her sister were adopted by their grandmother Francis Garcia. Their grandmother fostered them for about a year before their adoption was completed earlier this year.
When Samaria entered fostered care she struggled with her studies. Through a lot of hard work and perseverance, she has grown and is now doing very well in school. At six-years-old, she loves to read and her grandmother commends her ability to sound out her words until she figures them out. Asking her to get a book and come read is the best way to get a smile out of Samaria.
📸 T. Jones Photography
Our sweet October Child of the Month is Charli:
In late June 2017 we received a call asking if we would be interested in accepting the placement of an 8 month old baby girl. As the mom of two boys and 1 foster son, I was selfishly dying for some girl time. We soon received a second call advising that our soon to be foster daughter was being hospitalized for seizures. Of course this didn’t change anything for us. We felt like this was exactly what God had been preparing and training us for. I had grown up with a younger sister with a seizure disorder and my husband had worked with special needs adults, including one who had also been diagnosed with epilepsy. She continued to have seizures periodically after she was placed with us. All this time her bio mom conquered every request CPS placed in front of her which left a selfish ache in our guts. Her case went on for 18 months, 9 of those while she was in our home. I walked into court on April 14th, 2018 knowing we would have to make peace with our daughter leaving us. Upon her mom’s arrival to court, she and her attorney asked to speak with me. I walked into the hallway of the courthouse to a mom with tears streaming down her face. She had come to court asking to relinquish her rights so Charli could stay where she was. She asked us to let her daughter know she loved her very much and was hoping to create a visitation settlement with us. We were blessed by her ability to do what her heart thought was the right thing for her child.
We adopted our beautiful, sassy princess on June 1st (11 months after receiving placement) and she’s been Queen of our house since the day she crawled in!
– By Heather Buchanan
Our handsome September Child of the Month is 8 year old Beau:
In the fall of 2010, I was sitting in my office when I received a phone call from one of my apartment residents telling me that CPS was taking her newborn son away and she wanted to know if I could take him. Without hesitation I said yes, and CPS placed this precious 5 week old little guy with me. It was a common occurrence for me to watch the kids of other residents, and my husband asked me when the parents of this newborn baby would be picking him up. I looked at him and told him they would not be picking him up. But after only one short week, we were heartbroken when CPS placed Beau with members of his bio family. Three months later, Beau’s bio mother came to my office and told me that Beau was being abused and neglected by the family that had custody of him because they felt like he cried too much. She asked me if I could take him back. I immediately called the case worker and asked how I could get Beau back. On March 8, 2011, my life changed forever. I received a call from one of the people who had custody of Beau, telling me to come pick him up immediately. I called the case worker in a panic, and she told me to go get the baby right then. When I picked up Beau, he was tiny and the abuse and neglect he had suffered since he left my home was obvious and heartbreaking. The next couple of weeks were hectic. CPS told me that I had to get licensed if I wanted to adopt Beau and I did not think twice about it. I got licensed as quickly as possible, and on Beau’s first birthday both of his bio parents relinquished their parental rights. I thought that was my last hurdle, but the judge said the family members who had custody of Beau’s siblings should first be considered before I would be able to adopt Beau. My attorney told me not to worry about it, but all I could say is, “How can I not worry when I have raised this little guy and loved him like he was my own?” Finally, on March 30, 2012, I was able to adopt Beau. While our road to adoption was not an easy one and while Beau had his own struggles to overcome, today Beau is a happy 8 year old child who is in the Gifted and Talented program at LISD. He is a sweet and smart boy who always tells me that I’m the best mom in the world. And of course now he wants brothers and sisters his age to play with!
-By Tammy Lindsey
Meet our adorable August Child of the Month—Eric:
At 2 pm on January 17, 2017, I received a placement request for an 18 month old little boy. We were advised home studies were being completed for possible family placement and that he was currently in the burn unit and had been there 2 weeks; therefore, I’d need to pick him up from the UMC burn unit. I immediately panicked unsure of what to expect, he was only our 2nd placement. He was the most handsome, big dimpled, almost mute, barely walking little boy, and he was terrified of us!
Eric struggled with social anxiety and hid from the world—hiding under his jacket or blanket—for months. Months and months went by and his wounds, both physical and emotional, began to heal. Little steps became big steps and even bigger achievements for him. His case flopped back and forth and round and round without us knowing any outcomes. 486 days from the day we literally brought our little man home from the hospital, we added to our small army. On May 17, 2018, we adopted Eric, joyfully surrounded by many of our friends and family and his Nini (bio-grandmother). She continues to be a very active part of his life and it has been a blessing having her still standing up to support him in his new journeys.
-written by Eric’s mom Heather
📸 Tristan Jones
Introducing out July Child of the Month: Kora!
I met Kora when she was 12. She was placed in a local residential treatment center (RTC). I was an activity teacher at her school and during my year and a half program there, I absolutely fell in love with her. Kora asked me more than once if we would foster her, so when I left that job, I immediately went to the RTC associated agency and we were licensed 4 months later. Two days before school started in 2016, they brought her home. We struggled with adjusting to becoming a family. My sweet child had been hurt by adoption before, and her attachment trauma made it almost impossible for her to believe we would be there for her no matter what. We worked for a year and a half with her, through family therapy and local services, to build that trust and attachment. Throughout that time, we continued to foster other teenagers at the specialized level. Our kids struggled, as any child at that level would, but we worked with them through the behaviors and emergencies that came up. We worked with CPS to ensure that placements weren’t disrupted by force. In May of 2018, after multiple personal conflicts with our agency, we were notified they would be closing our home. We were broken. Our family therapist had just given us release to begin adoption work with Kora again. We desperately met with other agencies, explaining the situation, but it was difficult to find another agency to work with quickly.
We were heartbroken, and Kora was terrified she was going to have to leave. We worked with CPS and the case worker agreed to leave her in our care as an unauthorized placement. We thought all would be well. Three days before Kora’s 15th birthday, we got a call. Our CPS worker was unable to allow her to stay. The day after her birthday, CPS moved her across the state to another home within our original agency. We were not allowed phone calls or contact with Kora, though the goal was still for us to adopt her. During the next 5 months, we heard from our daughter sporadically when she could borrow phones from friends. Her new foster parents changed her medications, against her will and with no regard to the almost two year work we had done to get her stabilized. Finally, we completed licensing with a new agency. Our new director worked tirelessly with CPS to help them realize that the best option for Kora was to come back to us. On December 20, 2018, our baby came home! After three months, we received consent from CPS for adoption! Kora got her forever family. We are still working through therapy to rebuild the attachment and trust that was ripped away from us. Kora is still afraid that CPS will come take her away again. Her traumas were magnified over this last year, but we are so thankful the adoption is finalized, and we have her forever.
📸 Tristan Jones