Guest Writer Feature: The Light at the End of the Tunnel


Danielle Bell

Freshman Nikki Schwalbach

by Nikki Schwalbach, Guest Writer

He sits in the car while a cop talks with a woman outside of a building. His brothers cling to him, frightened. He looks and reads the sign: CPS Offices. Suddenly, it hits him: he’s a foster kid now.

“It was just a normal day,” 11 year old Lyric said. “It was just my mom, my brothers and I. We didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Lyric, who was eight at the time, was spending the day with his mom and half-brothers at their mom’s house. They were playing in their mom’s room when someone knocked on the door. They looked out the window and saw cop cars and cruisers surrounding the house. The policemen tried to come inside, but the front door was locked. That’s when they went to the back door and broke it down. Pretty soon, the police were flooding inside the house.

“They came upstairs and took me and my brothers away,” Lyric said. “Mom was still on the bed and was crying. That’s all I remember.”

Lyric and his brothers were loaded up in a car and taken to a group home shortly after the raid. Lyric, not knowing where he was at the time, assumed it was some sort of camp, but found it strange that one of the kids confessed that he’d been there for three years. After a while, Lyric’s stepfather, who was the father of his half-brothers, showed up and took them out of the group home.

“He told me I couldn’t see my mom for a while,” Lyric said. “I had to stay with my grandparents because my step-dad took my brothers. I was with my grandparents for a year and I couldn’t see my mom very much.”

He wouldn’t know until later, during a session with his therapist, that his mom had been arrested due to a past drug problem. After a year of living with his grandparents, with no news of his mother, they finally received a call: her parental rights had been terminated. She had a year to comply with the services the state required in order to get her son back, but failed. She was no longer allowed to see her son anymore.

“After that, grandma said she couldn’t adopt me,” Lyric said.  “She and grandpa thought they were just watching me until mom got back, but things changed. She was worried something would happen to her and grandpa. That’s when I was placed with my first foster family.”

Lyric’s first family made plans to adopt him, but after six months the family decided not to go through with the adoption because the family already had two older boys of their own and didn’t think that he was a good edition to the family.

“His case worker said that that was the only time she saw him break down,” his adopted mom Michelle Schwalbach said. “He was devastated. It affected his opinion about the type of family he wanted.”

He went to his second placement that was considered a foster placement rather than an adoption placement because they didn’t want to get his hopes up again. He was there for six months, and by then the family was thinking about adopting him, but CPS wasn’t sure if it was a good fit because they were concerned about the stability of the marriage.

“That’s when we found out about Lyric,” Schwalbach said.

CPS then started looking for an adoptive family and contacted the Schwalbachs, who have been licensed and fostered for the last couple of years. After six months, the Schwalbachs adopted Lyric on July 23, 2014.

“I want to thank them for adopting me,” Lyric said. “I have friends now and I feel safe with them.”