The Martins’ story begins when Aleida and John Martin were shopping for cars in Owasso when they got “the call.” A few hours later, they were parents.
Their new son, Dae’quelin, who was then seven years old, had been shuttled through an astonishing 17 foster homes before he found a permanent home with the Martins.
“Dae’quelin stole my heart from the beginning,” recalls Aleida. “We said ‘yes’ to the adoption in five minutes.”
“This family was meant to be,” said Christine Po, Dae’quelin’s CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer. “I could not have hoped for a better outcome for him.”
Christine, who has served as a CASA volunteer for five years, remained at Dae’quelin’s side through numerous court appearances, doctor’s appointments and all of those foster home placements. “He and I have been through a lot together,” she says. “We’ve met with judges, DHS case workers and therapists, telling our story over and over.”
When Christine first met Dae’quelin, he was struggling with the challenges of multiple placement changes.
Last year, Christine was named CASA Volunteer of the Year and coordinated the organization’s annual gala. She has served as an advocate for seven children for CASA.
Today, Dae’quelin is nine years old and is in doing very well in the third grade in Kiefer, Okla., just outside of Tulsa. He plays soccer and basketball, and enjoys playing with friends and going to church.
Aleida operates her own housekeeping business but takes Dae’quelin with her when he isn’t in school. John, his father, works as a crane operator and part-time crane instructor.
“Christine and I say that he’s 99 percent mine and one percent hers,” Aleida says. “She has done so much for him. We will always be grateful.”
Aleida’s hope is that the Martins’ story means Christine will always remain a part of Dae’quelin’s life, and she plans to become a CASA advocate in the future.