Cassie started life as a 5 lb 8 oz premature infant. She developed seizures during her second day of life and required a ventilator. Once she was able to breathe on her own she was noted not to suck or swallow well. She remained hospitalized for 3 weeks prior to being discharged.
Cassie’s mother died a few days after delivering her. Cassie’s father was not able to care for her due to his opioid and marijuana substance abuse disorder. He was grieving the death of Cassie’s mother and was hospitalized for suicidal ideations.
Cassie was placed in the resource home of two moms, who had pre-teen twin sons and Sandra was appointed as the CASA. Sandra made monthly visits to see Cassie and could see that Cassie was not meeting developmental milestones at a very young age. Cassie was seen regularly by a Neurologist, a Pediatrician, a Feeding Specialist, a Gastroenterologist, a Physical Therapist (PT), and an Occupational Therapist (OT) to address her delays in development and difficulty swallowing. Sandra would check with all of the medical specialists to learn about the services that Cassie needed and advocated for the recommendations of those specialists in her comprehensive court reports.
On Sandra’s monthly visits she would bring developmental toys, diapers, and books from the CASA office for Cassie and assisted the resource moms with the exercises they did daily for Cassie’s PT and OT therapy. When Cassie turned a year old she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. She had motor delays, gastroesophageal reflux and difficultly eating solid foods. Cassie was making progress even though it was slow. Sandra assisted the resource moms to apply for Early Head Start and they were able to receive in home services for Cassie.
After Cassie was just a few months old, her father stopped his visits and did not keep in contact with the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP). When she was 16 months old, her father did an identified surrender giving Cassie’s resource mothers permission to adopt her. She was adopted 1 ½ years after being placed in the nurturing resource home.
Sandra supported and encouraged the two moms whenever they doubted that they could provide for the many facets of Cassie’s care. She assisted them in coordinating the many medical and therapy visits for Cassie and attended several of the visits with them to lend support and assist the moms in planning the next steps taking the doctor’s and therapists’ recommendations one by one.
Now that the adoption is final and the court case is closed, Sandra continues to be a family friend and welcomed guest in their home. One or both of the moms will often call her for advice or just to tell her about a milestone that Cassie has made or to invite her to join them for a family celebration.
CASA made a significant impact to provide a strong foundation for two moms to adopt a baby with special needs and move forward to not only provide her with an enormous amount of love; but to be able to give her the ongoing resources and services she will need to grow and thrive.