Twin boys Josh and Jake were born several months early and positive for multiple illegal drugs, including opiates. They spent several months in the hospital before being released to a foster home that was specially trained for children with special medical needs.

Their parents were dealing with drug addiction and struggled to maintain housing and employment.

The boys were assigned a Dallas CASA volunteer Wathenia to  advocate for the best interests of the boys.

Wathenia watched as the boys blossomed in their foster home. When Jake was slow to crawl, the foster placement had both boys evaluated and they began occupational and motor skill therapy to get them caught up. When Josh struggled to breathe, they took him to the emergency room and then handled administering oxygen for him for the next several weeks. Each boy took several medications to control their asthma and other medical conditions, and the foster home handled all medications and doctor appointments with consistency.

They also created a calm, stable environment for the boys that allowed them to thrive. Though developmentally delayed and taking multiple medications, they were happy and catching up.

After almost a year in their foster home, a judge ruled the boys could not safely reunite with their parents. Child Protective Services (CPS) moved them to their aunt’s home where they could be with extended family. But with four children in her home already and a full-time job, the aunt was unsure if she could handle the boys and their medical needs. She had to receive special training to handle Josh’s asthma and be prepared to take the boys to the emergency room in the event of an asthma attack.

Within three months, the aunt called CPS. She was overwhelmed. She could no longer handle six children, including two with special needs, and she wanted the twins returned to the foster home where they’d been before.

“These boys had developmental delays that required therapies, and they struggled with asthma and were intermittently on oxygen,” their Dallas CASA volunteer Wathenia said. “We all knew with six young children at home, it would be hard.”

No one wanted twin babies Josh and Jake to be in foster care twice, but they needed to be safe and their medical needs monitored.

Within days, with advocacy from Wathenia, they returned to the foster home where they’d been for nearly a year, settling back into familiar routines of therapies, regular meals and bedtimes and lots of support.

Over the next weeks, the twins gained needed weight. Over the next year, they completed more therapies until they were on target developmentally. They started talking and then walking and then running. By the time they were adopted at age three, both boys had well-controlled asthma, were at appropriate weights for their heights and had completed all developmental therapies.

Today, Jake and Josh are nine years old. Their advocate Wathenia had stayed in touch with their family, taking pride in watching two boys with such challenging starts to life grow into funny, active, rambunctious nine-year-olds.