Rebuilding Families Part 2 - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/16/06 - Lufkin

Rebuilding Families Part 2

by Donna McCollum

A split up with a girlfriend left Thomas McGraw holding a six month old baby. They've been together ever since. Tim McGraw is now four years old. About a year after Tim was born Thomas learned his ex girlfriend had a baby girl. He discovered Alisha's existence in the nick of time. "My daughter was fixing to go to adoption and I stepped up and said wait," explained McGraw.

Thomas had no doubt that Alisha was his child and Timothy's sister. But he had to prove it. "They had my daughter in foster care and I took a DNA test . It was positive," said McGraw. Immediately the 42 year old man began parenting and counseling classes. Background checks and sensitive court cases followed. After close state scrutiny McGraw gained full custody of three year old Alicia, just last week. McGraw said, "I've missed the first two years of her life. I got a lot of time to make up."

McGraw credits the child welfare agencies CASA and CPS for allowing him to rebuild his family. Both agencies are attempting to rewrite the scripts for foster children's future. The Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, known as CASA applauds McGraw for doing what they would like to see more dads do. A CASA spokesman says in Angelina, Houston and Polk counties that half of the children in the foster care system are returned to their biological parents. Few single dads go through the custody process.

"They really have a hard job. Got to give them credit. Got to step up. I just couldn't see me without my kids. And I have the CPS to thank for that," said McGraw.

McGraw knows he has a tough job ahead of him. A four and three year old can keep you running. This dad is determined to make it work. "I settled down 4 years ago to make a life for my kids and I'm gonna do it one way or another. I'm gonna do it."

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