Every week, when 8-year-old Chase met with LSI’s Pastor Dennis Bauer, he would ask to pray for “the same old thing: to find a good, loving forever family.”
Chase is in third grade. But in his young life, he has already experienced trauma most of us cannot fathom.
At age 6, he witnessed his mother’s desperate struggle with substance use and was removed from his home for his own safety. Eventually, his mother’s parental rights were terminated, and Chase felt even more alone.
Confused, terrified, and shocked – like any 6-year-old would be – Chase struggled to cope with his anger and emotions.
He acted out and became physically aggressive. Chase needed help, and LSI’s Beloit Residential Treatment Center in Ames offered that help.
After arriving at Beloit, Chase quickly became involved in LSI’s voluntary Spiritual Life program, where he participates in faith-based activities like art and music. Through regular meetings with Pastor Dennis, Chase says he is focusing on his faith and “trusting in God and saying prayers.”
Outside of Spiritual Life, Chase is also learning healthy skills through group therapy to help him cope on the difficult days. His favorite part of school is art class, and his Beloit team has learned to use his love of art to help him express his emotions in a positive way. His favorite ways to calm down are through hands-on activities like drawing, coloring, or building Lego structures.
“We’re really proud of what Chase has accomplished,” says Cassie, a member of LSI’s Beloit team. “He’s able to verbalize what he is feeling when he’s upset now, rather than acting out.”
Chase remembers the exact day – August 5, 2018 – when he decided he wanted to make a change for good.
“I was sad that I couldn’t see my mom, but I just decided I would try really hard to be good,” he says. “Once I did that, I thought ‘I should do this all the time!’ I’ve changed and it’s because of Beloit.”
Now, Chase is thriving. His confidence is building every day. Earlier this year, he attended Lutheran Day on the Hill, LSI’s advocacy day, at the Capitol building in Des Moines with 200 LSI team members, clients, and other partners to advocate for child welfare services in Iowa.
Chase has big plans for his future. He wants to be a surgeon when he grows up, and he dreams of learning to bake and do woodworking. He can’t wait for the day when he can bake brownies and make sandwiches and mac and cheese for his friends and family.
And the immediate future is looking pretty bright, too: Chase is in the process of being adopted.
During a recent visit with Pastor Dennis, Chase prayed a different prayer: “Thank you, God, for giving me a family.”