CASA of Trinity Valley
A New Identity Through Adoption

Happy Halloween, CASA supporters!

What a treat it was (see what I did there?) to see all the costumes this morning as I ran errands in and around Athens! From unicorns to zombies to cartoon characters, the “Halloween spirit” is out in full force.

Seeing everyone having so much fun with their temporary identities got me thinking about adoption. Half the fun of Halloween is “adopting” a temporary identity through costume (the other half is having an excuse to eat candy, of course). But for some children in foster care, adoption is something that permanently alters the trajectory of their lives.

At CASA, the majority of our children return home to their biological families. Others are placed with extended family members who receive permanent custody from the state. A small percentage of children, mostly teenagers, will be emancipated or age out of the foster care system.

But the last category of permanency is adoption. Adoption by a family member, family friend or unrelated party accounts for about 20 percent of our case outcomes. And there is both beauty and tragedy that accompanies nearly each and every story.

Why tragedy? You see, in order to be legally adopted by someone else, a child’s biological parents must either lose or give up the parental rights they automatically gained when that child was born. Some parents forfeit their rights in a process called “relinquishment.” Other parents’ rights are terminated through the court system. Either way, a child who is adopted must first walk through loss – the loss of their birth parents and the extended families that come with them.

Thank goodness that loss isn’t the end of our children’s stories. The beauty comes when an adoptive family enters the picture and opens their hearts to these kids who have such a need for security, stability and love.

Each November, communities nationwide celebrate National Adoption Day on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It’s a chance to highlight all that adoption means for both the children and their families. Scroll down to find information on an upcoming National Adoption Day celebration in Rusk.

And when you see the little ghosts, ghouls and goblins running around today, send some prayers or good thoughts out for our children awaiting adoption – and the chance to gain a new identity in the very best way.
Emily Heglund
Executive Director
Texas CASA Conference 2018: Tune Into CASA!
The 2018 Texas CASA Conference, “Tune In To CASA,” was held Thursday, October 18 through Saturday, October 20 in Denton. This conference departed from Texas CASA’s usual format, focusing on providing general sessions intended to appeal across the board to Executive Directors, Program Directors, Casework Supervisors, Recruiters and Volunteers alike. In the past, each conference was held for targeted audiences and Texas CASA decided to shake it up and see how participants would react to a more “blended” approach. Topics ranged from subjects like trauma informed care, educational advocacy, and inclusion and racial equity. We had 6 staff members and 8 volunteers attend the conference this year!
Scaring Up New Volunteers
Our newest group of volunteers finished their final training session this weekend, and we would like to congratulate them for sticking with it and getting all the way through their training in order to become a CASA!
In the photo, from left to right: Bobbie Ann Jones, Teri Marrow, Rick Melrose, Lorri Day, and CASA Casework Supervisor Penny LaPlant.
This group of volunteers covers all three counties we serve, which is a rare occurrence! Bobbie Ann and Rick are from Anderson and will be sworn in by Judge Doran on November 1. Teri is from Cherokee and will be sworn in by Judge Schnarr on Nov 14. Lorri is from Henderson and will be sworn by Judge McKee on Nov 5.
We solemnly swear we are up to NOTHING BUT good!
Volunteer Sherri Miller was sworn in by Judge Virginia Schnarr on October 19.
Above: Thursday, October 11, Diana Madison was sworn in as a CASA volunteer by Judge Scott Williams.
Left: Elizabeth Parks was sworn in on October 5 by Judge Virginia Schnarr in Cherokee County.
In Memory of Our Friend: "Bubba" Burnett
We were terribly saddened to hear of the passing of Bubba Burnett on August 30, 2018. Our hearts go out to his wife, Debbie, and all of his many friends and family. Bubba was a well-loved member of our community, and so many of his loved ones generously gave to CASA of Trinity Valley in his name. We received $1,735 in memorial gifts and are deeply grateful that he chose us to be his beneficiary. Our sincerest thanks for this thoughtful gesture go out to Debbie and Bubba Burnett and their friends and family.
Cherokee County National Adoption Day
November 26th, 2018   9:00 a.m
Cherokee County Courthouse, Rusk, TX
If you are interested in participating and supporting the children and families involved, please contact Mandy Bryan at 903-279-2545
CASA Country Christmas
November 30, 2018 Doors @ 6:30 p.m.
Living for the Brand Cowboy Church, Athens, TX
Honorable Jim Parsons Volunteer Appreciation Banquet
December 11, 2018 Doors @ 6:00
Harvey Women's Club, Palestine, TX

CASA of Trinity Valley will be closed November 12 in observance of Veteran's Day and on November 22 and 23 for Thanksgiving. Giving Tuesday is November 27.
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