Sarah Cash joined the Austin Angels’ board as Treasurer in early 2016. It was a volunteer position and Susan required all board members to be Love Box leaders. Sarah wasn’t sure she’d make a good Love Box leader, but Susan convinced her she could do it, and with the support of her church small group, Sarah was matched with a grandma raising two little girls named Anna and Izzy. They met for their Needs Assessment at Austin Java in March 2016.
Over the next few years, Sarah continued to show up for Anna and Izzy. They changed placements about a year and a half into the program and Sarah wasn’t sure where they were. Kathleen, Sarah’s case manager at Austin Angels, was able to make phone calls and found their new placement, with a woman who had previously done respite for them. Sarah was thrilled to reconnect with them and really begin cultivating deep relationships with Anna and Izzy.
The girls’ foster mom Christy wanted to help the girls find an adoptive placement and was able to connect with Lauren. Lauren had been Izzy’s teacher aide and had a relationship with her. The girls moved homes (for the last time!) to be with Lauren and her husband Nick. When they moved to the Weber/Krueger house, Sarah came with them. Lauren and Sarah had met previously when Sarah picked the girls up from school, so the continued relationship made sense. Lauren says,
"Sarah just came with the girls!"
What has surprised Sarah the most four years in after being worried she wouldn’t be a good Love Box leader when she joined the board all those years ago? “I didn’t expect to be here four years later,” she says. “I knew the program was all about relationships, but I thought I’d help the family in other ways, not in a way where I’ve created a relationship with kids I’ll get to see married and have babies. I couldn’t envision it four years later.”
Sarah has spoken many times about being a part of Anna and Izzy’s family for life -- for graduations, weddings, baby showers, and every other important relationship. Lauren and Nick know this to be true, and they also feel like Sarah has been there to support them through this journey of fostering. “When the girls first came to us, it was a lot for me,” Lauren explains.
“There were so many people who came into our home, we weren’t sure what all the rules were, and I relied on Sarah emotionally. I could tell her everything. She really listened to me. Nick and I knew she was there to support us and the girls. It wasn’t just all on us as a couple. We had support. We had another person who could help guide the girls, someone they look up to so much.”
Lauren says her favorite part of the Weber/Krueger family’s relationship with Sarah isn’t just the extra support, but the routine of being in someone else’s life -- hanging out and doing normal things together. Lauren says, “We also consider Sarah an extended part of our family… We feel so loved by her and her people. It’s overwhelming in a good way.”
Sarah means what she says about being a part of the girls’ life forever. When an adoption date was set, Sarah, now the Austin Angels’ CFO, made sure the staff knew about it. On April 17th (during the Coronavirus pandemic and shelter-in-place orders), a gray and rainy day in Central Texas, the Austin Angels’ team showed up with balloon arches, handmade signs, suckers, and a yard sign to celebrate the adoption of Anna and Izzy. Sarah honked her horn the loudest of all when the judge made them a family forever and took a walk around the block with Izzy (six feet apart, of course!).