Tyler was only 8 years old when his world fell apart.

The stranger at the door said she was his mother – not the woman who had loved him and cared for him as long as he could remember. Suddenly everyone said that the woman he called “Mom” was actually his cousin. The woman at the door was really his mother. And she didn’t want someone else taking care of Tyler any more.

And so he packed up his things and went with this stranger.

Within a few weeks, he had moved around to several relatives’ apartments and lost any sense of “home.” He wasn’t going to school and had no idea where he would sleep the next night.

Tyler was removed from his biological mother shortly after that.  Chris, his ProKids CASA Volunteer, watched over this silent, troubled child as, one by one, options within his family were eliminated. His cousin didn’t want trouble with his mother so she would not take him back. His mother wouldn’t come to visits or parenting classes. She disappeared from Tyler’s life – again.

But Chris was encouraged by Tyler’s foster home situation. He was connecting slowly but surely with his foster mom. “She was a rock for him,” Chris said. “She protected him from the beginning.”

Chris advocated in Juvenile Court for Tyler, getting the case past the hurdles that sometimes stand on the road to a forever family. He made sure the foster mom was ready to be an adoptive mom, even as Tyler continued to need therapy and struggled in school. He talked to the therapist to make sure Tyler was getting the help he needed and Chris spent a lot of time talking to Tyler’s teachers and principal. He found that Tyler could get some additional services in school so that he could live up to his potential.

When Tyler was 12, Chris sat in the back of a different courtroom for Tyler and witnessed his official adoption by his one-time foster mother. While school can be difficult for Tyler in junior high, he has gone out for the football team and likes to cheer on the Bengals.

“They are a great family,” Chris said. “It makes such a difference for a child to know that someone will be there every day, no matter what.”

We share stories of our children so that our community can understand why ProKids depends on a mobilized community. We change the names of the children, and often of the adults involved, and use stock photos out of respect for their dignity and privacy. The stories themselves, however, are true.