HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- When Joy and Glenn Timmerman met their daughter Josslyn for the first time, they instantly knew their lives were about to change.
Of the 5,000 children in Virginia’s foster care system, more than 600 kids are ready to be adopted, according to the state.
Josslyn is a creative, energetic, and engaging 11-year-old who loves drawing and reading. The Timmermans say they will always remember the first time they met at a local bowling alley.
"It was just we had really instant chemistry, I think that's why we knew it was the right fit,” Joy said.
More than a year and half ago, Joy and Glenn began the process of fostering a child with the intention of adopting through the Children’s Home Society of Virginia. The non-profit works with local social service agencies to identify children in the foster care system and pair them with families who will allow the child to thrive.
Joy and Glenn admit they were scared when they began the process, which experts say can last from months to years depending on the circumstances.
After several months of training and education, Joy and Glenn finally met Josslyn. They fostered her for several months, until about six months ago when they became Josslyn’s adoptive parents.
"It felt like someone was waiting there for me, and I had someone waiting to go home to. I never had that feeling and joy ever since the day my parents gave me up,” Josslyn said while snuggling close to Glenn.
"Definitely a roller coaster. You go through highs and lows, but the highs just help your heart expand,” Joy said. “In the last year, I think our hearts have expanded more than we expected.”
The Timmermans said there have been plenty of awkward moments and family adjustments. With the support they continue to receive from Children’s Home Society, they said the process has been much easier.
One year into calling themselves a family, the Timmermans said the genuine love they feel for each other has been life changing.
"As family, we love each other unconditionally, and we'll always be there,” Glenn said.
"When I hear the word family, it means love, someone that cares for you,” Josslyn said.
The Virginia Department of Social Services reports 60-percent of foster care youths are adopted by their foster parents.
To learn more about the foster to adopt program through Children’s Home Society of Virginia, click here.
For more information on becoming a foster or adoptive parent, visit the Department of Social Services website.