If Eva had been angry the first time she met Patricia Hidalgo, her court appointed advocate, it wouldn’t have been a surprise.
Her alcoholic and drug addicted father had molested her and two of her sisters and made their brother perform backbreaking work from a young age for no pay. He insulted their mom, beat her and laughed when she tried to stand up for her kids. Their home, riddled with holes from floor to ceiling, provided little protection from the elements.
To Patricia, the surprise was Eva’s bright smile, her courage in the face of unthinkable hardship and her commitment to channeling her anger to change her family’s life forever.
Child Protective Services had placed 15-year-old Eva and her four siblings with her 23-year-old sister, Maria, who’d run away from home when she was a teenager to escape her own abusive childhood.
Patricia visited the home regularly to ensure the children were safe and had everything they needed to grow and flourish. She celebrated birthdays with them, monitored their father’s criminal case and most importantly, she made sure they saw doctors, dentists and therapists to heal the wounds their father left on their bodies and in their hearts.
Eva’s father pleaded guilty to sexual assault and both parents relinquished their parental rights, paving the way for Eva and her siblings to be adopted by Maria and her husband.
Today, the family is thriving. Eva’s older sister, Flor, graduated fourth in her class from high school and is now a student at Texas Tech University. Eva is preparing to graduate and plans to attend Sam Houston State University, where she wants to major in forensic sciences.
Even though her case is closed, Eva still relies on Patricia for help with life’s challenges. And her smile is even brighter as she looks forward to the promising future she richly deserves.