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Being a CASA,

Court Appointed Special Advocate, a volunteer who goes through training to help a Kiddo who has been placed in the foster care or protected services due to a reason.   For me, as a single gay man, I have always wanted to be a dad.  That dreams started when I was young and grew.  After finishing my time in the US Navy and getting settled in San Diego.  I kept hoping to meet someone to date who also would like to have kids,  since that has not happened, I had to go a different route.  I was talking to a lesbian couple, and they mentioned being a CASA, to learn about fostering/adoption and see if I really wanted to truly be a foster dad.   Almost 6 years ago I was assigned a case with three siblings.  Two of the siblings were reunified with their bio-mother, while the youngest is waiting to get adopted due to being medically fragile, which was out of the bio mom's ability.  Being a CASA has taught me a lot about what it takes to be there for kiddos.  Not being a parent and the daily struggles and adventures that many parents go through as taught me to respect and understand what they do daily. 

For me being a CASA and having kiddo have someone there fighting for them and being someone who is there is special for that kiddo.   For kiddos in the system being removed from your parents and placed with strangers and in a system that is overwhelmed, you feel scared lonely and do not know who to trust.  The CASA is one there for the pure purpose of the kiddo.  We make sure schooling is not disturbed, keeping grades and homework together. Make sure doctor, dental, and other medical appointments are made and kept.  Any therapy that is needed is granted and there for the kiddos.  You get a feeling to be that mentor that person that one can trust and depend on. Seeing them smile when you are there to go for the play day or surprise adventure. It is so worth the time is taken out of my day for those moments and others just like it.  

Being a CASA is rewarding on many levels and to be honest, there are days when I have felt like a parent in real life dealing with so many issues.  Since I made a promise to my kiddo that I would be with them until they were reunified with bio parents or adopted, I have held off my journey to be a Foster/adopted dad.  It has been worth it and would do it again if needed.

Kelly Gilliland


Kelly Gilliland

CASA & VwC Leadership Committee