The post below was written by Selena and also appears in the latest issue of Represent Magazine.
When I turned 15, I made a big effort to improve. When people noticed I was changing, they said things like, “I like the new you better,” or, “Glad that the old you is finally gone.”
It made me feel good that they praised the change, but I also was hurt that they rejected the “old me.” I considered myself the same person turning over a new leaf, and I didn’t want to be judged by my past.
It felt like social workers had only judged me by my past behaviors until I met my socio-therapist, Cresa Gallarita. She didn’t look at my past and automatically judge me for it. When I was feeling some type of way, she knew and asked me what was wrong. She listened to me and gave me the best advice. She seemed to care about me, not the money.
She told me that I was beautiful and talented. She treated me more like a younger sibling than a case. We even had handshakes and nicknames for each other: I was “Chiquita Banana” and she was “Reese’s Pieces.”
No matter what I did or what people said about me, she believed in me. When things got tough, I knew I had her. It is hard to gain my trust, but she did. She is a beautiful, thoughtful, and caring person.
When I got adopted on June 25, 2015, I got discharged from the agency. They said I had to end my contact with those workers. I was sad to lose the strong bond I had with Cresa. Fortunately, they let adoptees keep a few workers as mentors so I got to keep Cresa in my life.
Cresa made a big impact on me. I love her because she is there for me and she never talked down to me. Chiquita Banana will always be grateful for her Reese’s Pieces.