After a 3rd District Juvenile Court judge on Wednesday ordered the state to begin the process to reunite Heidi Mattingly Foster with her children, the first thing she wanted to do when she saw her kids was hug them.
When she saw them on Saturday – the first time since February – it didn’t take Mattingly Foster long to make good on those plans.
“That’s the first thing [we did],” said Mattingly Foster, who has 11 children with polygamist John Daniel Kingston. “We didn’t make it in the house.”
Saturday’s two-hour supervised visit “was very, very chaotic and very hectic and very positive,” Mattingly Foster said. And while a visitation schedule will be worked out on Monday or Tuesday, she said Saturday’s visit was a good step toward a permanent reunion with her children.
After three days of testimony, Judge Andrew Valdez ordered therapists for Mattingly Foster and the children to immediately work out details for starting supervised visits, family therapy and a transition plan that will allow nine children to come home.
In July, one of two teens removed from her home in February 2004, was made the permanent ward of an uncle and aunt. Eight more children were removed from the home in October; an infant remained with Mattingly Foster. Her supervised visits with the children were stopped in early February of this year.
The children arrived at her Taylorsville house about 3 p.m. The family then took a tour of her home, which the children had never seen before. Mattingly Foster then took them to see her ailing father, who hasn’t seen his grandchildren since October.
The children really liked their new home, Mattingly Foster said.
“They were really excited,” she said.
The children may be home permanently in the next few months. Valdez has made it clear he wants the children to return there before June.
“They have a lot of things to look forward to . . . being home, mostly,” Mattingly Foster said.