December 9th. That is court date that is set for severance of E's Mom's rights. Believe me when I say that am counting down the days until that exact date...because I am. I have been waiting for her to be ours forever. I was ready from the moment that she walked through our door. Yesterday we had an unexpected hearing for E. The hearing was scheduled for her younger sister and brother. Last minute, (late last week) we heard about this hearing and our Case Manager told us that it would be great if we could be there, including E. She was going to attempt to present something called a "drive by severance" to the Judge. This normally happens when there are other siblings involved and each sibling has a different court date for possible severance or reunification with their parents. They present this drive by severance to the Judge in hopes that if they are already going to do severance on the other siblings then why wait for the other child or children. Our Case Manager has warned us that it might happen and it might not so not to get our hopes up.
When we arrived at the court house with E, we walked in praying for God's will and His perfect timing. As we approached the courtroom to wait to enter, there was a man standing walking back and forth staring out the window. First glance I knew he was E's brother's Dad. He glanced over at us, especially E a few times then finally walked over to us.
"Is that E?"
"Yes it is. My Husband and I are her foster parents."
Tears came to his eyes. "Last time I saw her was when she was only 7 or 8 months old and her Mom was trying to give her away to her friend because she didn't want her anymore. I actually have quite a few baby pictures of her if you would like to have them?"
"Of course I would! That would be awesome. Thank you so much. Hey....I wish you the best of luck today and my Husband and I really respect the right decision that you have made to step up to the plate and care for your son. That will mean so much to him and he needs you more than ever right now."
We were finally called into the courtroom. As I sat down in between Josh and E, I really thought about why we were there. We were there to support E, to be a voice for her and to fight for her until the end no matter what the outcome may be. I cannot tell you how good that felt. Even thinking about it now gives me goose bumps all over.
The hearing only lasted about 30 minutes. It was interesting to hear the other cases for E's brother and sister. Towards the end, the Judge asked:
"Are the foster parents of E in the courtroom right now?"
"Yes your honor" as Josh and I raised our hands.
"I just want to first of all thank you for all that you are doing for this child and want to ask you if there is anything that we can do or if there is any kind of statement that you would like to express here today"
I immediately spoke up "Yes your honor I would like to say a few words. I just want to let you know that E has been in our home since April. She is such a special little girl in so many ways and such a joy to have in our home. She has grown and thrived tremendously and we love her so much"
"Thank you for your statement and thank you so much for taking the time to be here."
I could feel the hearing coming to an end and my gut was telling me that it wasn't going to happen...which it didn't. Instead of feelings of disappointment, I had feelings of peace and hope knowing that this is all in God's hands and in His perfect timing. I think it was a huge blessing and an advantage for us to just be able to be there in the first place. Being able to make a connection with E's brother's Dad, having the Judge see us there and being able to speak on behalf of E.
26 days today until December 9th! We are pushing forward with faith and hope in our God that is WAY bigger than the foster care system!
Wish us luck!