Desirea and her siblings were taken into foster care at a young age.
“My mom was mentally ill and caused me and my siblings to be taken away from her,” says Desirea.
She was placed in 20 different homes and then aged out. And in her last year at 18, she became a mom.
“I got pregnant unexpectedly, with my son while I was still a senior in high school. And basically my foster mom…she kicked me out, and I was homeless,” explained Desirea.
But thanks to a Guardian Ad Litem, also known as G.A.L. she was able to find stability and a place to call home.
“So then I had a G.A.L., and her name was Angel, and basically she sent out mass emails to churches and schools and everything like that, to see if they knew of anywhere that I could go live because I had nowhere to go. I was still in school and everything; I was by myself,” adds Desire.
A Guardian Ad Litem is someone that volunteers to be your advocate to the judge for a child that is in foster care. The G.A.L. makes several visits throughout the week to see how things are going and reports back to the judge.
“And I was not ready to be by myself yet with a kid and I was still in high school so basically after that um, my G.A.L took me to the Wests home, and it was like immediately as soon as I got there I felt like it was a sign from God that I was supposed to be there because I felt like I didn’t have to worry about going anywhere, this is where I was going to stay, “ says Desirea.
Desirea later moved into her own apartment with her son, and has been apart of Say So for 9 years. She is currently a Say So Regional Assistant.
“Well Say So does really good about keeping us connected with the resources that we need. So I don’t want to say I’ve never been in a situation where I want anything or need anything because Say So always makes sure I have the resources and the people and the tools I need to succeed in whatever I’m trying to do,” expressed Desirea.
Desirea has been working hard with local and state government officials to bring change when it comes to the foster care system in North Carolina. Areas she would like to change come from her own experience.
“Trying to keep siblings connected, that was one thing that I struggled with because I haven’t talked to my siblings in like three years. So that’s like one thing that we’re working on, making sure that siblings get to see each other, visitation and staying connected,” says Desirea.
For more information on how you can become a Guardian Ad Litem, check out their website at https://volunteerforgal.org/