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"I'm sick. And I'm not strong enough to go to school anymore."
Ellen is a young lady in foster care with Pompe Disease, a rare and degenerative metabolic disorder that affects the body's muscles and organs.
Despite her misfortune, Ellen is a bright, engaging young woman who loves school but is no longer able to attend in person, due to her constant medical treatment and debilitated condition. YHL has been with her every step of the way since she entered foster care - making sure that accommodations were made for her condition, that her foster home was set up to provide her the specialized care she needs, and now, an ability to attend school which she so dearly loves. Thanks to our generous donors and supporters, we have provided her with a laptop she can use to attend classes online.
"Why is it taking so long to get adopted? Is something wrong?"
Mia was placed in a foster home that was working to become her forever family. She was happy and doing beautifully until they moved and she lost her services.
Mia and her two siblings were raised in an abusive, traumatic home. Mia was so affected that when she was first placed in foster care, she didn't understand personal hygiene, would soil herself, and would compulsively lie and steal. With steady, consistent love and support, she became a functioning, thriving young girl and was delighted to be adopted by a beautiful, loving family. Before the adoption was finalized, they had to move to Texas and because Mia was still a ward of New Mexico, her health insurance and all her services ended and she began regressing. Mia's CASA caught on right away and together, we filed for federal benefits to restore her services. Mia is back to her brightly smiling self with her forever family.
"Christine" and "Mary"
"I got to know my mom, brother, and sister again."
Christine and Mary are mother and daughter. After Christine divorced Mary's dad, she fell on hard times and couldn't care for Mary, who went to live full-time with her father.
Christine and Mary came to YHL to have supervised visits so they could rebuild their bond with each other after many years of separation. Over the course of a year, they had weekly visits with us where Mary was able to bond with her mother, half-sister, and half-brother. They chatted about 5th grade, Mary's friends, and played an enormous variety of games from Twister and Monopoly to ones they made up together. Christine and Mary were able to restore their loving bond and now continue their relationship on their own.
"I want to turn my life around—do more, be more..."
Theo comes from a large family struggling to make ends meet, with an alcoholic father.
Theo started coming to SmArt House in 2016, and even though he acted like a troublemaker, we knew better. He would attend SmArt House regularly, and he and his siblings were always hungry. Little by little, he made friends - both with the other participants and with our staff. Kids who need love the most often ask for it in the most unlovely of ways, and with Theo it was no different. Our staff took a shine to him and always told him that he was welcome, all the while providing caring but firm discipline. Theo has become a bright spot at SmArt House and has really turned a corner, wanting to make a change for himself and aspire to bigger and better things he didn't think were possible before.