This I Believe

Shontale - Anchorage, Alaska
Entered on March 12, 2007

I was not a child who believed in childish things such as Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. But at 8 years old, I learned to believe in Angels. Growing up in a rat and roach infested old motel in San Bernardino, CA in the 1980’s, I knew there were no such things. My life was surrounded by drugs and alcohol addictions and my mothers many stints in prison. I lived a life of sugar sandwiches and recycled boys underwear and abusive relatives. My life changed when a Social Worker came to my school on one of the days that I went to school. I remember him saying to me, “Would you like to move?” I did not hesitate to answer and said “Yes”. I now know that I didn’t have much of a choice. I moved into foster care that day. I left behind a grandmother, several cousins and younger brothers and a sister. I cried the first few days and desperately wished I hadn’t said yes to the Social Worker. About a month after I went into foster care, I met my angel. Her name was Betty Scarborough and she came to me not from Heaven or directly from God, but from the Court Appointed Special Advocates office in San Bernardino, CA. She did not have wings. She was in her late sixties and had a head full of coiffed gray hair, loads of jewelry and acrylic red fingernails. I am embarrassed to say but I used to look forward to her visits not because of the attention or concern she showed, but because she took me to Bob’s Big Boy and the all you can eat Sizzler’s. She was the only constant in my life for nearly 8 years. She loved me through failed foster home placements for bad behavior, the death of her husband and my refusal to see her for about a year. I used to believe that my Angel was taken from me right when I needed her most. Betty died when I was almost 16. Before her death she told me that she had prayed and asked God to send someone into her life and as she told it, she was appointed my CASA. For someone who never felt loved or wanted, I knew that she loved and wanted me. I have carried her in my heart and think about her everyday. I have not become a CASA volunteer but I believe she would have been proud of my attempt to help children in Need as a Social Worker and currently as a Foster Parent. Now that I am a parent, my child does not believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy but he knows of my Angel, Betty Scarborough.