One Year with R. Our Foster-To-Adopt Journey
The photo is R watching the construction site near our house.
Fear. Anger. Hurt. Immense Sadness. Those are the feelings that have been wrestling around in my heart lately, and they are also the reason I have avoided sharing recent updates on our Foster-to-Adopt journey. However, I know many of you are praying for our family or walking a similar journey, and you can’t support us, nor can we support you, if we don’t share the hard stuff.
6 weeks. That’s how much time we have left before the judge decides whether our foster son returns home or stays with us permanently. And as of right now, things are not leaning in our favor, and we could very well be forced to say goodbye to him.
Exactly one year ago today, my husband and I drove downtown to pick R up at the Family Crisis Center. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of him living with us, we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and will take R to the restaurant of his choice (Chick Fil-A) for a fun, family dinner tonight. The hours inbetween he is spending with his birthmom for a 5 hour visit. I’d hoped by the one year mark, we’d have answers…..but we still have no idea what the future will bring.
We’ve now spent 12 months, a year’s worth of holidays and special occasions, and all four seasons with him.
The summer, where we spent our days in the backyard with sprinklers and slip ‘n slides, and our nights by the fire pit roasting marshmallows.
The fall, where he had his first birthday party ever, complete with 20 friends, a bounce house, and a piñata- all to celebrate him.
The winter, where we went sledding until our toes were frozen, then retreated to the house for hot chocolate.
And now Spring, where we’ve been jumping on the trampoline until it’s dark (sometimes in pajamas) soaking up every last bit of daylight.
Could this really be the end?
We’ve spent the year helping him learn to speak, eat by himself, dress himself, use the potty, and interact with other people appropriately (all things he didn’t know when we first met him). I taught him the “ABC’s”, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, and “Jesus Loves Me”, since he had never had someone sing songs with him before. We took him to the zoo, the museum, and the mountains (all places he’d never been) and to park after park after park. But mostly, we were helping him heal from the first 3 years he spent in utter chaos and craziness. And, BOY, was it hard! Every day was hard.
Every. Single. Day.
But it was worth it. To see the glazed over look in his eyes disappear and to see a child come out. To watch him grow and learn and become a normal kid who got to do normal kid stuff. And to watch the little boy who was so scared, sad, and angry that his eyes wouldn’t focus and his words couldn’t form, now singing, “Let It Go” and bossing his friends around and expressing his feelings through words- it’s amazing. And so, so worth it.
Could we really lose him?
We’ve tucked him in for 365 consecutive days. I’ve wiped every tear, put a bandaid on every scrape and cut, and driven him to therapy, visits, doctor appointments, screenings, and school. I gave him his first time-out ever (followed by at least 500 more) and worked so hard to create boundaries, consistency, and a safe environment. I’ve watched him make new friends- best friends- and seen him gain, not only a mom and dad, but a brother, two sisters, a dog, grandparents, aunts, cousins, and friends, friends, and more friends.
And he could lose them all.
How is it possible?
Not only is it possible, but it is likely. I don’t want to get into the details of the case, but unless something drastic happens in the next few weeks, the County believes he is safe to live with her. Unfortunately, often in the foster care system the rights of the birth parents trump the needs of the child. And so the case has been reduced to simply, “Can she keep him alive?”
There are people involved in his case who don’t agree with the County, who think if he did return home, it’d only be a matter of time before he’s removed again. And, sadly, the trauma only intensifies with each removal. I am so thankful for the people who are advocating for him and his future.
But everything comes down to one day in court and one judge’s decision.
So now we wait. 6 more weeks. Will we have to say goodbye to this little boy who’s carved out a place in our hearts? Or will we be able to welcome another Watson to our family?
This is extremely hard to write, and though our hearts are breaking into pieces, we have not lost hope. We are resolved, as a couple and as a family, to trust God through this. There is nothing we can do to change any of it. But we know, know, know that God loves R infinitely more than we ever could.
So we will trust Him. And Wait…..
We’d appreciate your prayers during this time.