When a staff member approached The Parvin Group’s Chief Operations Officer Sara Escamilla about sponsoring Dallas CASA’s CASAblanca, her answer was a quick yes.

It was the same answer Escamilla gave to Child Protective Services when they called almost a decade ago about a group of three siblings who needed a permanent home.

“These kids in foster care are ultimately all our responsibility as a community,” she said. “And there’s so many ways to help. You don’t have to adopt or foster.”

For The Parvin Group, helping means being the presenting sponsors for Dallas CASA Young Professionals’ CASAblanca party Feb. 5 at The Hall on Dragon. Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) recruits, trains and supervises community volunteers to advocate for children in foster care. All proceeds from the casino event benefit children living in the protective care of the state.

The Parvin Group, a family of companies including a coffee company and a groups of attorneys, has embraced foster care as a corporate cause. One staff member was just recently licensed as a foster parent, and more are interested. Sponsoring CASAblanca is just another commitment for the company to get behind.

For Escamilla, adoption was something she’d always been interested in. She and her husband Aaron even discussed it when they were dating in college. “The idea of bringing a child into our home who someone devalues or who feels overlooked or forgotten was something that was close to our hearts from the beginning.”

After getting married and having four biological children, Sara Escamilla found herself on the Texas Department of Family and Children Services website looking through page after page of sibling groups looking for permanent homes. “I just found myself crying and crying for these kids knowing how much it hurts to be apart from your siblings.”

So Sara and her husband said yes. They pursued licensing and opened their home to sibling groups of up to five children. They figured if they’d been handling four biological siblings, a few more wouldn’t be that hard.

Their first placement was a group of siblings ages two to seven who had spent four weeks in an emergency shelter. “They came to us in really rough shape with major behavioral issues and on lots of medications, but it was an incredible experience I would not trade.” Their church family surrounded them with support, filling their home with groceries, taking their older children trick or treating when the little ones couldn’t handle the stimulation and even buying them a deep freezer and filling it with food.

Ultimately, the children were reunited with their father, who was court-ordered to spend some time first observing the Escamilla’s interactions with the children.

Next, they had a boy aged 13 whose entire childhood had been transitory. He came with a garbage bag of everything he owned. When they shared over dinner what they were grateful for that day, he told the Escamillas “eating.” Being in their home was his first experience with consistent meals. That boy was also ultimately able to be reunited and safe with family.

Next, they got a call about three young siblings who needed not just a foster home, but an adoptive home. They’d been in foster care a while, and reunification wasn’t going to be an option.

“This was the first time we got to know a CASA volunteer,” she said. “The kids’ CASA volunteer brought them to meet us and supervised our first visit. It was a great experience.”

So the Escamillas said yes again. Their home grew permanently by three more children. During the lead up to adoption, while reviewing the children’s records, the Escamillas discovered the value of the children’s CASA volunteer.

“You just don’t know the kind of impact you’re going to have on these kids just by being there and seeing things, by bringing a book or a jacket when they need it,” she said. “She was a huge part of these kids feeling safe and loved, and we got to read every bit of it in the files.”

Escamilla has lots of memories of those early days. One evening about six months after the children came to live with them, she was painting the three-year-old’s toenails when the girl said “When do I have to leave?”

“That darling little spitfire of a girl thought she was going to have to leave again,” she said. “Those kind of moments, where the curtain is pulled back and we find out what’s really going on in their heads, taught me one of my biggest lessons from the process: kids who have experienced trauma have a lifetime of healing ahead of them. It’s a lifetime journey.”

“I was probably pretty naïve in the beginning thinking we could lavish these kids with love and that would somehow be enough,” she said. “It’s a lot of work to heal. The kids were victims and didn’t have a choice about what happened to them.”

The children were adopted by the Excamillas nine years ago in February, and the family celebrates every year on the day.

The Escamillas don’t think they’re doing anything complicated. In fact, they call it “simple.”

“It’s really not anything super amazing,” she said. “We knew what we could do, and we knew we would do it. It’s a really simple but beautiful thing to give a child the chance to stay with their siblings.”

Today, the Escamillas have one child in the Marine Corps, two in college and four teenagers at home. And Sara is not sure they’re done fostering.

“To us, caring for kids is just second nature,” she said. “Having a kiddo from a rough place come stay with us and process what they’re going through is what it’s about for us.”