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Eleven-year-old shares her story

The Saylor Family on August 17, 2018 when Ella and Emma were adopted.
The Saylor Family on August 17, 2018 when Ella and Emma were adopted.

MARION, Ind (NewsLink) -- Ella Saylor is only 11-years-old and has already lived in 18 different homes. She decided to take a trip back to her first home where her struggles began, and we came along for the ride.

4 p.m. marks the end of the school day for students at North Side Middle School. But for Ella, it was just the beginning of going back in time to Marion, Ind. 

"This is where I lived..." Ella said, "Oh look, cigarettes, broken glass, a diaper...it basically, describes my childhood life."

"Just don't go in there or you'll get covered in flees," a neighbor mentioned.

As Ella was visiting, the memories started flooding back.

"Imagine being a little 4-year-old sitting on the floor just making a milkshake and then you just have a whole bunch of cops storm into your house, terrifying," Ella said. 

Ella said the house hasn't changed much from the time she used to live there.

"I think the only thing that's the difference is that there's a broken door."

The house didn't even have running water, which meant she had to walk to a gas station a couple blocks away by herself to have access to that. Ella has faced many struggles: from taking care of her newborn sister when she was only 5, to not even having access to basic human needs like food.

"This young lady right here," her dad, Phil Saylor said, "I'm so proud of her, she had to be an adult at a young age, and that has been the struggle since she has been in our home."

Ella's savior was her C.A.S.A  Kim Dunham, who would try to do anything to get Ella out of those living conditions.

Kim called the Saylors three times, but..."We kept saying no," Ella's parents said. 

"I even told the Saylors if you guys don't keep these girls, I was going to stop being a C.A.S.A and I was going to keep the girls myself," Kim said. 

The Saylors agreed to adopt Ella and Emma. They were told that the first two weeks after adoption are called the "honeymoon phase."

"This young lady...no break at all...no honeymoon phase," Ella's dad said. 

Ella's parents were ready to give up but.."I kept saying to stay positive," Kim said. 

"We didn't like those words sometimes but that's exactly what we needed to be told," her parents added. 

It became their motto.

If the Saylors hadn't stayed positive, they wouldn't have..."a smart, intelligent, wonderful child, that we do," her mom added.

Kim stated, "[to] give these kids a chance, give them that forever home, They deserve it. It's not their fault. but they deserve that forever home and the girls got it so thank you."

If this story inspires you to help, you can start by being a casa.

If you would like more information on fostering, adopting, or becoming a casa you can contact Ella's mom, Elizabeth Saylor here.

The Delaware County Casa Program is holding a pre-service volunteer advocate training on Sept. 28. The link to the application is here.