Meet Avi

Avi

Avi came into care at 10 months old. He and his mother had been living on the streets. He was a very sick little boy. By the time he came to my home at 2 years old, he had been to so many homes and with so many different people, that he had no understanding of stranger awareness. He would wander off with anyone who spoke to him and often didn’t understand why strangers were hesitant to pick him up. He didn’t understand what a family was at all. I had to be hyper vigilant to make sure he didn’t disappear on me when we went somewhere.

A month before he moved to our home, he met his biological older brother. The boys had never known about each other. When he came to my home, his brother came as well and we started the process of explaining to a 2 and 4 year old what family is.

Two weeks after Avi came to us, he turned 3. He had a big birthday party and I remember him being so confused about what was going on. I will never forget the moment we gathered around to sing happy birthday and his face lit up with a smile. He still didn’t understand what a birthday was, but he was so excited to be the center of attention. The happiness in his eyes still brings me to tears.

Avi’s journey hasn’t been easy. He has had many obstacles to overcome. He still has food issues and probably will his entire life. He doesn’t consciously remember starving, but his little baby brain does. I have to reassure him that we will eat food every day and he will always have some.

We are constantly learning new ways to help Avi cope with the world around him. He has come so very far since we got him, but he has issues that he will always struggle with. It’s incredibly hard as a mother to watch your child struggle to be at peace in his own skin. But despite all his hardships, he is in love with the world around him.

Avi and his brother Levi were adopted in August of 2016. He now knows what family means and he is quick to tell everyone that I am his Mommy forever and ever. He has a huge community of family and friends who love him fiercely.

Today Avi is a precocious 6 year old. He is always singing and smiling and loves to be around people. His smile can light up a room and he is a joy to those around him. His smiles mean everything to me.

I knew that the decision to become a foster parent would test me in ways I didn’t know yet. I will honestly say that Avi has tested me to my very limits. I thought there were days I would break, but to see his smile and see his eyes light up I would break over and over again. This is the most difficult thing that I have ever done and also the most rewarding. I thank God every day that he chose me to be Avi’s mommy.

-Kori Strange, Caleb’s Closet President

 

Meet Taylor

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In January 2017, T was placed in our home one Tuesday evening. He had a trash bag of belongings, consisting of a few outfits sizes 6-7. He was 3 years old. The only clothes he had that fit him were the dirty, tattered shirt and pants he was wearing. He made himself at home pretty quickly, which we first thought was pretty cool of him. We found out that he was in the 6th home environment of his life, so he had learned to adapt rapidly. Since first removed from his birth parents as an infant, he had been shuffled between family members and foster homes, spending a few months back with one of his parents before being removed and shuffled around again.

Though he adapted to our home pretty quickly on the surface, T spent weeks waking up multiple times per night. He was often crying, but sometimes he was screaming from night terrors. By the age of 3, this kid had experienced and witnessed situations no kid should ever have to go through- abuse, sexual acts, drug use, and neglect.

When he came to our home, we needed clothes, toys, and some dignity for this young man. Caleb’s Closet provided T with all the essentials and several extras, along with support and friendship from the two ladies who founded the organization.

Our home, our family, is the longest he has ever spent with one family unit. He’s almost 5 now, and we were able to adopt him earlier this year. He asks us regularly if he can stay with us forever. We will probably spend the rest of his life reassuring him that he’s not going anywhere without us.

Now that he’s adopted into our family, he will never have to be without. You might even say he’s a tiny bit spoiled. 😊 Through it all, we are teaching T what it means to give back to kids who, like him, have no belongings. He has learned by example what it means to be part of a community, helping those most vulnerable among us.

– Liz McKinney, Caleb’s Closet Board Member

Meet Madilynn Grace

Madi Grace

Meet Madilynn Grace. Madilynn arrived at her Lubbock foster home with a diaper bag full of dirty clothing covered in vomit and reeking of cigarettes. The diaper bag also held a handful of partially smoked cigarettes and a bloody rag. That is everything she owned. When she was 2 months old she was shaken, called a “little b$#@!” and slammed into her car seat where she spent almost all of her time. She was severely overfed because every time she cried, she would get a bottle shoved in her mouth to “shut her up.” So, she spent her days getting yelled at and vomiting in her car seat from being overfed. This is not an example of what could happen. This was my daughter’s reality before she came to us. If there had not been a foster home for her to go to, Madilynn would have continued to live that horror daily.

Some may feel that Madilynn’s story is too upsetting to share. But this is the reality for too many children. We often don’t understand the reality of what these children face until we are willing to open ourselves up to the emotional side of it. If it is upsetting for us to read these children’s stories, imagine what it is like for these children to live in these tragic situations.

Please, consider being a foster parent. These children are our responsibility. They need people willing to walk through this storm with them.

“But, it’s not a good time for us.” There will never be a perfect time in your life. These children are dealing with abuse and neglect right now, this minute. This is an emergency. You would not tell your 2 month old baby that you would love to help but it is not a good time for you.

“I’m scared of getting hurt.” They are too. It’s already happening to them right now. If you can say their safety is more important than your feelings, then you can do this.

You can foster with the plan to adopt. You can foster only. We can send you in the right direction. We know the people you need to talk to. Caleb’s Closet was founded by and is still run by foster parents. We will go to an information meeting with you. WE WILL DRIVE YOU THERE. If you have space in your home and heart, we are asking you on their behalf to please go now. Get licensed. There are not near enough foster homes in our community. You could be a safe place for a kid to go.

Madilynn Grace- her story started with abuse and severe neglect but it did not end there. She is forever in a safe home and fiercely loved because we said she was more important than our feelings. She is so, incredibly worth everything we experienced while on our foster care journey with her. – Frances Cardoza, Co-Founder of Caleb’s Closet

Meet Emmitt

Emmitt

When children come into care, their biological parents have a year to work services and take classes in order for their child to return to them. Sometimes these cases can come to a close before that 12 month mark, but often, these cases go past the 12 month mark. Meanwhile, while these cases and extensions are happening, the children are left in a state of limbo, waiting for some form of permanency in their lives. This is where we as foster parents step in to try and give that sense of normalcy while we offer safety.

“After 691 days of being in our home, Emmitt took our last name and we made a commitment in front of the Court and our ‘village’ that we would love, provide for, and keep this little guy safe in his forever home!” – Shane Moran, Caleb’s Closet Board Member.