The battle between the family in Colorado and the Nevada family was about to begin. Or so we saw it… that we needed to fight with the family in Nevada to prove to the judge that it was in Heath’s best interest to stay in Nevada. Nevada is where his other siblings lived AND this is where WE lived. Our social worker agreed that meeting together as often as we could would show a relationship between Heath and his birth family. So we quickly agreed to meet weekly. Every week, we would call the social worker so she could document the visits. We always met in a neutral location like a park or the play place at the mall. The social worker did not want the family coming to our home or for us to go to their home and she wanted to be notified of every visit and every phone conversation that we had.
I will be completely honest… these visits were horrible for Scott and I… at first. Not because we didn’t enjoy the people who we visited with but primarily because it was a realization each week that Heath wasn’t really ours. Our family seemed like a family until we would get a call from the social worker, do the birth-family visits, or even receive something in the mail from the state. Now if you recall from earlier posts that we gave him the ‘nickname’ of Heath. We hadn’t disclosed this to the birth family so each week we would have to call him by his given birth name. This never felt right to us deep down and it was what was a small dagger to our hearts as we would be reminded that he wasn’t our child yet.
As time went on, these visits transformed from what was to prove to the judge that there was a documented relationship to an actual friendship and love between two families that were brought together by an innocent child. This was such an amazing experience. We were able to get to know them and hear stories of his birth mom and siblings. They were so supportive.
The scheduled hearing (for when Heath is 6 months old) was on July 5th. During this hearing, the judge would decide if they would be having a TPR (termination of parental rights) hearing in the near future and what they should be doing with the paternal aunt from Colorado who was still trying to get custody of Heath.
The Nevada family wanted Heath to desperately stay in our home and they wrote the kindest letters to the judge expressing their feelings of keeping Heath in Nevada. They showed support for us and wanted us to feel loved. They never had to call us Heath’s parents or his family but they did from day one. I love them for their kindness, respect, and empathy that they showed to us through their actions and words.
I know that in many circumstances meeting with the family either isn’t an option or isn’t a healthy option. Luckily, in our circumstance it was such a delight and I believe will be so helpful and good for Heath to forever know ‘where’ he came from and who his ‘other’ family is. He won’t ever have to question it.
July 5th was a terrifying day. As the day drew closer, we were so nervous to go to court. What would the judge rule? Will he give more time to the parents? To the Colorado Aunt? Will he ignore us as an adoptive resource? Every question bombarded our thoughts because the future was in his hands.
We did know that the judge we had was extremely ‘pro’ to reunification; so obviously that was not a favorable thing for us. Leading up to this day, we had many family prayers and family fasts.
Similar to Christ’s days and similar to other Christian Religions… in the LDS religion we believe in fasting which is refraining from all food or drink for a period of time, in so to humble ourselves before the Lord for an answer. When you are able to come together in prayer and fast I believe you become closer as a family and closer to our Heavenly Father. If you would like to learn more about fasting and prayer read here.
Scott and I decided to go into court with confidence but to know that whatever the judge decided… that it was the Lord’s plan for Health. For He has a plan for all of us. We had many family members and his birth family there in our support.
It was a miracle, the court lasted all of 3 minutes. Our social worker spoke on our behalf saying how she believed Heath needed to stay in our home. That this was in the best interest of the child. She told the judge about how they were STILL waiting on a response from the Colorado Aunt’s Social Worker but that she still believed she would be denied. The judge immediately responded with, ‘We are NO longer waiting for an answer on behalf of the Aunt and we will reconvene in November with a TPR hearing.’
We all had tears of joy. We were astonished this was a judge who we thought wouldn’t be quick with a decision to TPR. It was truly an answer to prayers.
What a celebration! From this point on I was no longer nervous. I had always had the ‘feeling’ he was mine from the beginning, but this just confirmed it even more. Our visits continued with the family but they were more natural and sporadic. We didn’t have to notify the social worker and they just felt more natural and heartfelt.
In late August, FINALLY, we received a denial from the beautiful State of Colorado that the aunt didn’t pass the background check. She was no longer considered an adoptive resource for Heath. So in the 2015 battle between Nevada and Colorado… Nevada Wins!!!!
To come… I will take you through the happiest time that my family could have… the TPR court hearing, the adoption hearing, and the sealing of a new forever family in the LDS Las Vegas Temple. HIP HIP HOORAY!!!
* Foster Care is so near and dear to me as you can see, so I plead with anyone struggling with infertility, or not, to please ponder about fostering a child in need. These little angels need homes, good homes. They need you and more than that, YOU NEED them. They will teach you far more than you can comprehend.
Will it be EASY? Nope! Worth it? ABSOLUTELY!