Many of you know that tomorrow is a big day for us. We will go into juvenile court @ 10 am for a hearing regarding our two little ones. Let me fill you in on all the details in case you don't know what to pray for:
In June of this year, I was contacted by a church member who was trying to place two little boys, ages 4 & 7. John and I had JUST completed the entire cumbersome process of trying to bring a child out of foster care into our home. It was a process that began in September of 2009 and came to a screeching halt the third week of June 2010 when I received a simple phone call from Florida, informing me that Josh (whom we had tried to bring into our family) was to remain in the custody of the state of Florida and would be reunited with his mom when she was finished with her prison sentence in December (next month.) Josh in the meantime was placed with a family friend whom he had known since he was little. I was heartbroken at the time, not knowing why we had spent nearly a year trying to bring Josh into our home. I was also exhausted from the process, one that we had navigated on our own with the help of Josh's guardian ad litem in Tampa. For those who don't know, I have fought a terrible battle with infertility and had two ectopic pregnancies and five female surgeries. I am a person who has cared for children since I was old enough to babysit. I have always dreamed of a big family and longed to be a mother. My husband has three precious children, I have a wonderful niece who lives with me, another awesome niece. and I have a beautiful god-daughter who calls me "mom." As a wise woman once said, "I have not had any children, but I have never been childless."
The phone call about two little ones came into my office just 4 days after I learned that Josh was not coming back to Georgia. My heart still aching for Josh, this was a wonderful opportunity. We entered blindly into an agreement with the little boys' mother, not knowing much at all about their circumstances. We took the boys on June 22 and fell in love with them immediately. While school was out, the boys got to know my step-children and niece and within two weeks were calling John their "daddy." We felt so blessed to have them in our lives, but we didn't know how long the arrangement would last. Originally, we would just have them for a few weeks, while their mother was receiving medical treatment. But the weeks turned into a month, and at the end of July we applied for guardianship with the boys' mother in full support and agreement. The boys didn't have much of a relationship with their dad. He is a resident but not a citizen of this country. He never paid child support or kept up with visits to them while they lived with their mother. It wasn't until AFTER we got guardianship that the boys' dad started harassing us about trying to take them. We had already enrolled them in school and suddenly he wanted to be a dad. He was living in a shelter and unemployed at the time of his first petition to the court. His first and second petitions were dismissed. But by the time he came back with a third petition to terminate our guardianship, he had gotten a job and hired a lawyer. In the meantime, the boys' mother has continued to have health problems, several hospitalizations, has lost her home, and has just about lost everything she ever had. The kids see her regularly, though, and both are doing well. They both made honor roll at school and we have the oldest child seeing a therapist, whom he loves. With this third petition and dad's attempt to take the boys from us, I began getting nervous. I was worried that since we did not have legal representation, we would fall flat on our face and the kids would have to go with a man they hardly know - a man who has a history of domestic violence. Last Monday, I asked everyone I know to pray for this situation. Right away, the prayer request spread and I got emails from Arizona and Texas from people who were praying for us. One email was a typed out prayer right to God from someone I never met before. I started researching child advocates/ family law attorneys. I talked to a wonderful lady with a non-profit organization that finds lawyers to represent children in need. She sent a brief synopsis to each of the members of her organization. Within 24 hours I had four offers from attorneys willing to represent our boys. The first attorney sent me an email that read: "I am coming to court with you next Tuesday." Tears filled my eyes as I read the second email from a woman who offered to postpone her family Thanksgiving trip to represent the kids in court. Two more offers, also very kind and generous. I was overwhelmed. The next day, I explained to the boys that God had provided them with a lawyer. The oldest child understands what is going on but the five year-old not so much! I explained that a wonderful lady had offered to go with us and speak to the judge in court on their behalf. The boys were in the car with me on the way to pick up Georgia from her mock trial meeting at school (imagine the irony.) Georgia got into the passenger seat and said hello to the boys. Jeremiah said: "Georgia . . . do you know I gots a yawyer?"
So, I want to thank everyone who has been praying and I want to ask you to please continue to pray for us, but especially for the boys. God knows what we need- and what they need. He has sent us a guardian angel/ attorney who we will meet tomorrow morning one hour before our hearing. She says we already have everything we need to prove that it's in the children's best interests to remain in our home. We truly love these little boys.