In honor of National Foster Care Month, one local family is sharing their story.
Ormond Beach resident Trish DeSimone will always remember Dec. 7, 2018.
It had been a bad day in court, she recalled. She and her husband were told that two of their foster children, a pair of young sisters that had lived with them for 16 months, would be removed from the home to be placed with the children’s great aunt and uncle out of state.
When they walked out of the courtroom, the DeSimones were told the Florida Department of Children and Families had already sent out representatives to pick up the children. The girls were at DeSimone's mother-in-law's house, and she made DCF follow them there so that she and the girls' birth mother, Alycyia Cason, could say goodbye.
“The last thing that we said was, ‘We’ll see you in a few minutes,’" DeSimone said.
That didn't happen. Neither DeSimone nor Cason have seen the girls since that day, but they have hope they'll see them again soon. The DeSimones and Cason are in the middle of staging an intervention adoption to get the children back, so that the children will be able to live with the DeSimones again, which is where Cason wants them.
“We’ve come to learn that our case is not uncommon," DeSimone said. "It’s happening all over the state and all over the nation, and so we really just felt this pull in our heart to try to bring change — and everyone tells us that it’s crazy, there’s no way you can fight city hall.”
But she's not giving up. There was once a time she used to be scared of everything, she said. Now, her forearm is a reminder of staying strong: a tattoo reads "Faith over Fear" in looping cursive.
'I was at peace'
Cason told DeSimone in December 2017 that she wanted her to adopt the girls.
“I was so at peace with the fact that they were in their home and knowing that they were doing well," Cason said.
Now that they’re gone from DeSimone's home and are out of state, and Cason is only able to talk to them over the phone once a week, she always worries about them. She said she only got a five-minute phone call from them on Christmas.
“It’s just mind-blowing to me how much the system has failed,” she said.
Hoping for a good outcome
DeSimone said she and her husband felt the call to foster children one day after attending Calvary Christian Church. That was two years ago, and since then, they have fostered 10 children.
At one point, she had a total of eight children in her house (the DeSimones have three biological children). Still, she felt like there was more she could do.
That's where her inspiration for "Flippin Scripts" came in (search for “Flippin Scripts - Foster Care Change” on Facebook).
Through this new organization, DeSimone advocates for foster children, hoping to unite foster families with birth families to create normalcy for the children, always with the children's best interests in mind. She mentors birth parents and assists foster families as they navigate the system (including things like babysitting and help with lawn care). Flippin Scripts also aims to bring awareness about foster care and adoption and to gather people to bring about change. The goal is to develop a resource or community center one day. Email [email protected] or call DeSimone at 386-235-9038.
Change in the system is coming, DeSimone said. She can see it.
“If we come together, we can do what’s best for the kids," DeSimone said.
Her legal battle to get the girls back has fueled the fire behind the organization, she said. Their trial will take place this month, and DeSimone said that whatever happens next is God's will.
“I know they’re coming home," DeSimone said.
“Just when?” Cason asked.
“Soon," DeSimone said. "I know they are.”