Thousands of children enter the foster-care system each year. Most carry little more than the clothes on their backs. That’s why Rob Chasteen-Scheer (shown here with his spouse and four adopted children) founded Comfort Cases.
He is on a mission to provide the essential supplies to these children on their journey to find home.
An adoptive father of four, Chasteen-Scheer experienced the foster care system firsthand as a young adult. His story below inspired him to organize a drive for basic supplies for children in foster care. The drive exceeded all expectations and led to the formation of this nonprofit organization.
Scroll down to learn more about Comfort Cases.
The Power That Comfort Provides
By Rob Chasteen-Scheer
Five years ago, my partner (now husband) and I decided to adopt a child. As a person who grew up in the foster care system, I felt it only made sense for me to adopt in my own backyard, the Washington, DC, area. We began as foster parents. Truly wanting to adopt a child, we feared starting out as foster parents because we knew the primary goal of fostering was to reunite children with their biological family.
Reece and I felt that if we could change the life of one child, even for a short time, then this would be worth it. We were both so ready to have a child in our lives that we set up our two spare bedrooms in preparation. One we decorated for an older child, the other for an infant. We stocked our pantry with Puffs and other children’s foods.
On January 14, 2009, a social worker called, saying they needed a foster home for a 4-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother. We would become the third foster home to these children in less than three months. The next day, Amaya and Makai arrived in our home carrying a nothing more than a trash bag filled with a few outfits that looked like they had been worn a thousand times. Their whole life was in these bags.
I immediately flashed back to when I was 10 years old, arriving at my foster home with the same thing — a trash bag. More than 30 years later, I still remember that day. I remember my foster parents taking me to buy clothes for church because I carried only a tattered pair of pants and two stained T-shirts.
The night of Amaya and Makai’s arrival, we took the siblings shopping and Amaya picked out a pink Cinderella nightgown. She was thrilled to choose it on her own. Later that night, we watched her from the doorway, looking at herself from every angle in the mirror. Amaya wore a smile that was brighter than the sun; she was in her brand new pajamas, and they were only hers.
Four months later we got another call: Two more boys needed a foster home. We then welcomed two more sons Greyson, 2, and Tristan, 6 months. A social worker dropped them off carrying, you guessed it, just a trash bag full of used clothing. Our family grew from two to six seemingly overnight, and we couldn’t have been happier.
Five years later, we still have the original trash bags. I don’t know what we will ever do with them or if we will ever tell our children about them. Reece and I felt this was something we should keep, just like a child’s first blanket or stuffed animal.
Sharing our experience brings me to the reason I’m writing.
Our hope is to make sure that no other child arrives at a foster home the ways ours did. We want them to receive something that comforts them, something of their own. We want them to realize how important they are. With the staggering number of children that enter the foster care system, we as a community can make a difference while they are on their journey.
With your help, we hope to surpass our goal and be able to make the journey easier for many more foster children.
Learn more: www.comfortcases.org