I know now your name was really Marlys, but when we met I was four years old and could only say Molly.
You remember the story. My parents were alcoholics and weren’t taking care of their children. Their rights were terminated when I was just 18 months old. I was adopted at age five, then removed from that home due to abuse. I cycled through 14 foster homes before being adopted again at age 13.
Through it all, Molly, I had you. Caseworkers changed, homes changed, attorneys changed, but you were my CASA volunteer and stayed. You were always happy, always glad to see me, always ready with your arms flung wide and your hands flipped just so for a hug that somehow embraced my body and soul.
You brought light into my darkest places.
Remember the puzzles we used to work and the games we played together? You taught me to be persistent, patient and to never give up. You told me I was a good kid and what was happening to me was not my fault. You believed it, and that allowed me to believe it. You told me I was brave and courageous and could light up a room with my smile. You told me you loved me.
Molly, you saved my life. I used to argue with the other kids in my foster homes about who had the best CASA volunteer. For me, the debate was never a debate. I knew you were the best. So much of who I am today is you shining through. I graduated high school and college and now I get to work at the very nonprofit that brought us together.
What a joy it was to be reunited in 2015 after 20 years apart. We started right up where we left off with one of those amazing hugs and your unconditional love.
Molly, part of me is you. Part of me grows today because of seeds you planted in me so long ago. Every hug, every expression of love, every time you believed in me – I remember them all. Your love was real, and I will never forget that feeling of being truly loved.
I am a testimony today of how a CASA volunteer can make a difference. My story is your legacy, Molly.
All my love,