After a while, life with Timothy became ours. We found a daycare we trusted, who loved him and was willing to work past regular hours to help us get through volleyball season. We taught, we coached, and we loved life with Timothy. But, the moments came that reminded us we were foster parents, and he was our foster son. We had monthly meetings with our social worker, paperwork to maintain, a life book to create (for the family, should he return), and then there were the visits. Oh, the visits. While sharing our story is my goal here, many details are very private. What he experienced before coming to us is not for public consumption, nor are the few details we have of his time on these visits, so forgive me for glossing over those facts. But, what I will share is from our perspective. What this time was like for Scott and I. But to do so, I need to share another very intimate moment... About 10 days after Timothy arrived, during an average afternoon, Scott was on the couch with Timothy, no doubt watching a game and within minutes, he fell asleep and we could not take our eyes off him! To understand that this 1 year old was so 'at home' snuggled there, comfortable and loved (not because it was nap time or late at night), but knowing he belonged and was safe enough to sleep, was such a warm sight. I was in and out of the kitchen, unable to stop looking at them. My son....10 days ago we were still praying. 10 days ago we had NO idea this would happen. 10 days ago all we had was an empty crib. 10 days ago..... and I could not stop taking him in. During this sweet nap I had an overwhelming sense that he would be ours. That somehow, things would work out and we would adopt Timothy. That evening, after dinner, bath and bedtime, Scott...something obviously on his mind...came into the kitchen where I was and whispered through his tears, "He's never leaving." My own tears only allowed a simple response, "I know."
I will tell you here and now, God reassured our hearts that day, and though there would be shaky times ahead, we knew we had to hold on, to be there for Timothy, and get through whatever happened, because that's what you do for your kids.
Back to the visits, with the understanding that emotionally, Timothy was our son-- The biological family has rights throughout the foster care process until those rights are terminated. To what degree, is up to the court to decide, then the biological and foster families are required to maintain the court ordered visits through the social worker, if needed. In this case, Timothy had visits with his biological father every other weekend. Exactly how those visits went, we may never know, but we came to dread them immediately. We met him in a parking lot half way between our homes to drop Timothy off. The first time or two, Timothy went to him and they drove off without much incident. However, after that, Timothy would very literally try to claw over whoever was holding him to get away and closer to our car. He would cry, kick and scream and refuse to go. Scott finally had to put him in the car seat himself for him to go. Understand, we had no choice, or we NEVER would have parted with our son. We had the choice to have the social worker come get Timothy and take him to these visits but we wanted to be as close to the situation as we could be. Otherwise, had we interfered with these visits they would have removed Timothy from our home. We kept social services notified of his behavior, but the visits were never cancelled, therefore we continued with this every other weekend. Once he was safely buckled in, we'd drive just out of sight, our breath caught in our chest, then pull over and cry. We could hardly breathe and had only the words to ask God to protect him while he was away from us. Faith was all we had and we held to it with all our might.