Noah and Nicholas were born 16 months apart, both drug-affected and threatened by domestic violence between their parents. Still just babies, they were placed into foster care. Brenda was appointed to be Noah and Nicholas’ volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate. Against all odds, Brenda saw hope for a future with their father, Travis. She recalls, “I knew that if he just had a chance to better himself and become the parent he never had, he would be successful. He truly loved those kids.”
For more than a year, Travis refused to engage in services for anger management, domestic violence, and his dependencies on alcohol and methamphetamine. During this time, the boys’ mother was succeeding in court-ordered services…but before long, she fell back into drug and alcohol addiction.
Brenda strongly believed that Travis needed to complete a domestic violence program. Every time she went to a court hearing, she advocated for this to the judge. Travis and his attorney resisted all the way. Finally, the judge said to Brenda, “It sounds like you’ve had this figured out all along”, and court-ordered Travis to complete the program.
With the boys’ mother out of the picture, Travis began to realize if he did not step up, his boys would be adopted. He wanted to give Noah and Nicholas a better life than he had: Travis’s father had been a heroin addict, in and out of prison. Travis recalls, “I was tired of being beat down. I had had enough. A lot of my buddies that I grew up with were going to prison. It was only a matter of time until it was my turn, and I wasn’t going there.”
Brenda played a big role in Travis’s change of heart. Travis says, “I remember Brenda sat me down and said, ‘Travis, you can do this the right way or you can do this the wrong way, and it’s your choice.’ I remember thinking to myself, ‘What choice are you going to make here, Travis?’ When I needed Brenda in my corner, she was definitely there if I was doing the right thing. I used to call her a lot. You can’t do this on your own – I got high for 20 years, and you can’t just make that go away by yourself.”
Travis enrolled himself in drug and alcohol treatment, and Brenda watched him transform into the different person she knew he could be. After Travis completed one parenting class, Brenda pushed for additional classes, seeing that he continued to struggle with new parenting skills. Travis completed a total of three parenting classes. He also graduated from the domestic violence program.
After nearly three years in foster care, Noah and Nicholas were returned to Travis’s care. Brenda helped him complete the custody paperwork, and Travis was granted sole custody of his boys.
Today, six years later, Noah (now 9), Nicholas (now 8), and Travis are doing well. Travis has remained clean and sober. He has held the same job for eight years, compared when he could barely keep employment for more than a few months. He and the boys have lived in the same apartment all these years. Travis engages Noah and Nicholas in lots of activities, things he took for granted for a long time. They go to the coast and ride dune buggies, spend time camping, and have fun in the snowy mountains.