Friday, September 11, 2015

Jenny Friends

People say that friends are the family we choose.

I have to say that I'd have a pretty dull life without mine.

Even though I'm from Dallas and grew up here -- and I'm lucky enough to have my family here too -- I feel like I don't have a lot of good friends.  Of course, I know hundreds of people I would call friends. But I'm talking about friends who know the real, true me and love me despite my faults and shortcomings.

Not counting family, I can count those real, true friends on 2 hands.  Some of them I've known forever, some less than 10 or 12 years.  Some I'm in almost constant contact with, others I only see every once in awhile.

What do you call these special best friends?

Some people call them "Ride or Die" friends.  Some call them "Besties".

I've started calling mine Jennys.

Here's why...

Cara was born to a drug-addicted mother and a father who spent most of Cara's life in and out of jail. Child Protective Services caseworkers were called when Cara was born and tested positive for drugs. She was placed into foster care as an infant and when her parents' parental rights were terminated, she became a ward of the State of Texas.  Even though she was a cute baby and later a cute little girl, none of her foster parents ever adopted her and no potential adoptive parents ever showed an interest in her.  She moved to different foster homes a lot.

Cara became more and more disruptive as she got older.  Her feelings were hurt over and over by foster parents, by other children in foster homes, by kids at school.  Cara was an introvert -- but one who acted out in rage periodically.  Since she moved to different foster homes a lot, she attended lots of different schools.  She had no friends.

Many CPS caseworkers were assigned to Cara, but with her years in the system extending and her caseworkers changing jobs or leaving CPS altogether, she didn't have much stability in her life -- until Jenny came along.

NOTE:  40% of new CPS caseworkers leave CPS within 9 months.

Jenny is a CPS caseworker in Dallas County who really cares about her clients, so when Cara was assigned to her caseload, things began to change for Cara.  At first, Cara wasn't used to having a friend, so she wasn't very open with Jenny.  Jenny kept trying.  Cara went into a rage at her foster home and had to move to a new foster home (again).  Jenny kept trying.  Cara got into a huge fight at school.  Jenny kept trying.

Finally one day after a particularly bad fight with her foster dad, Cara began to cry to Jenny.  Cara told Jenny that she only had one friend -- and that was Jenny.

And one good Jenny is enough.

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