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Casey finds peace and healing in Kaylin’s happiness

Casey remembers holding and rocking her baby dolls. Even as a little girl, she imagined being a mommy where she hugged reflects on these childhood days and ponders how different her life turned out.

Upheaval and instability cast a shadow over her childhood dreams. When she became a teenager, she wanted to change her world and get away. She turned her interests to a man 12 years her senior. She began dating at 14 and had her first child at 16. Before she was 20, she had four sons.

“I loved my children,” Casey asserts. “It was a hard time. I worked a lot. It wasn’t perfect, but we were making a home.”

Kaylin was born making her Casey’s only girl and, when the baby was one year old, the couple married. There was hope and promise. But the growing family became a family in distress when her husband was unfaithful and everything crumbled. By the time Kaylin was four, the couple split up.

Broken hearted, Casey struggled to stay afloat. She found what she thought was a safe harbor with a man she had known her whole life and could breathe again.

Sadly, what was restful became tumultuous. She learned her new boyfriend lived with secrets and her safe place became a slippery slope. He was being investigated for abusing his daughter. When the department of social services told her that her children might not be safe, he refused to leave and became violent. She sent the children to her mother’s home.

“I was scared,” Casey says. “He threatened my life and before long I was involved in things I never could have dreamed about.”

The boyfriend was a drug dealer and made Casey drive him to deliver drugs. The night that changed her life forever began with flashing blue lights. Police pulled them over and both faced incarceration.

Things spiraled out of control. Casey lost custody of her children and before leaving for prison, her parental rights were taken away.

“It was heart-breaking,” Casey remembers. “For almost four years, I had no contact with my children.”

Her children went to a children’s home first and then the siblings were placed in a foster home. The four boys were adopted by that family and Kaylin was adopted by Kristy and Jason Huddle on August 6, 2020. Kaylin loves her adopted family, but she wondered about her birth mom. The Huddles agreed to reach out to Casey.

“Kristy found me online and messaged me,” Casey says. “She explained who she was and my heart stopped. I couldn’t believe

what was happening.”

Kristy and Casey talked for hours. She learned about the Huddles and that Kaylin was doing well. “It was all such good news. I didn’t know what to think.”

“We only knew Casey by what we had read in a report,” Kristy says. “Casey was so much more. A lot of grace needed to be given to her.”

Casey began by writing letters. When Kaylin responded, Casey was overjoyed. There were phone calls and a video chat. It went slowly and Kaylin set the pace. Casey could hardly believe Kristy when she asked her to meet Kaylin for a visit. “I didn’t know what to expect,” Casey says.

“This was her life now and after all that I had done, I didn’t know if I would ever see her again.”

It gave Casey so much peace to know that Kaylin was happy. At 12 years old, she looked “grown up.”

“She was more than I could have imagined,” Casey says. “We both shed a lot of ‘happy tears’ that first visit.”

Casey and Kaylin did see each other again. Casey attends birthday parties and makes sure she attends Kaylin’s cheer competitions when her schedule allows.

“It’s been great for Kaylin,” Kristy says. “It has saved them both a lot of heartbreak. Healing is taking place.”

Casey has a good job. She is working on her bachelor degree in business administration, earning a 4.0 after her first session. Her oldest two sons have renewed their relationship with their mother, too.

“If I was able to choose from anyone in the world to love and care for Kaylin,” Casey confides, “I could have never found anyone better than Kristy and Jason. She needs them. God had bigger plans. It wasn’t all for nothing.”

Casey made a wrong turn. But a wrong turn did not mean she wouldn’t end up in the right place—a place of peace and healing.

There's more to the story! Read the journey of the Huddles, Kaylin's adoptive parents, in part 1 and then Kaylin's personal story in part 2.

NOTE: There are more than 10,000 children in the NC foster care system. Learn how you and your church can be the answer to this incredible need through the EVERY CHILD foster and adopt partnership between Baptist Children's Homes and NC Baptists.  

Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children

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