This is the story of Debbie and Camille

Debbie shows Camille a beach for the first time
Debbie shows Camille a beach for the first time

When Debbie’s great niece Camille came to live with her 15 months ago, the little girl was “a mess,” recalls 56-year-old Debbie.  “She arrived with just the clothes on her back, dirty and abandoned.” Abused since she was a baby, Camille had never used utensils. She had problems with anger management, felt very insecure and was two years behind in school.

Until she became guardian to the troubled child, Debbie lived only with Rick, her “significant other,” for 25 years. “I didn’t have children and I never had to take care of anyone but myself,” she says, “so I guess I was pretty narcissistic and selfish.”  Owner of a successful court reporting business, Debbie took Camille in because none of the little girl’s other relatives wanted her. “Rick and I didn’t think it was an option to have her go to a foster home,” she explains.

left to right, Camille, Debbie, Rick and Makayla (Camille's half sister)
left to right, Camille, Debbie, Rick and Makayla (Camille's half sister)

Giving her “heart and soul” to Camille was “the easy part,” Debbie says. “Fitting Camille into our routines and making room for her in our lives was pretty difficult.”

Happily, Debbie, Rick and Camille have become a family. “She’s getting A’s in behavior in school and is more outgoing. “She’s been fine once we got her calmed down and provided her with a home,” Debbie reports.  “Rick has been a fantastic role model for her.”

Debbie and Rick also travel 100 miles round trip many weekends so Camille can “bond” with her half sister and brother, 7 and 2, who live with their father. “We have made great strides,” Debbie says, “but it’s been the hardest 15 months I’ve ever spent, a life-changing event. If ever I questioned why I was put on earth, I now know why.”

Friends often tell Debbie there’s a special place for her in heaven. “Will it be in an adult’s only section?” she jokes.

Debbie is one of many Fab Over Fifty women you’ll meet when we launch faboverfifty.com early in 2010. If you think she’s fabulous now, wait till you learn what else she does.

7 Responses to “This is the story of Debbie and Camille”

  1. Tammy says:

    I have had the pleasure of doing business with Deb and even though I have not met her in person I feel like she is a friend. What a lovely, selfless thing to do! I admired her before, but now – wow! What an amazing lady.

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  2. The Vintage Vortex says:

    Thank you for posting this about Deb and Camille. Stories like this about real people and generosity and love are the stories that feed our souls and remind us of the important things in life. Thank you Debbie for sharing this with me and thank you Fab Over 50 for sharing such a touching story with the world.

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  3. sharon says:

    Deb and I have been friends for 15 years. I have watched her and Camille grow and learn from one another this past year and I can tell you, first hand, Camille is a beautiful, loving little girl with the most special role models in Deb and Rick. My admiration for my friend has only grown as she has unselfishly taken on the raising and loving of a child in dire need. They are a wonderful family!!

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  4. LPC says:

    Wow.

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    • Geri says:

      Ditto Wow LPC

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  5. Couture Allure says:

    Thank you for posting this lovely article about my friend Deb. You’ve touched my heart this morning.

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    • Geri says:

      She was wonderful. She loves you.

      Geri

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