After 1 or 2 more court appearances, and a foster care review board meeting, Mary’s birth parents signed away their rights in court in March. It was a bitter sweet day for all of us.
Enter the gray zone. No longer are we bound to the DSS agreement that provided weekly telephone calls and monthly visits (most of which were skipped anyway). Not ready to put the open adoption plan into work since the process is not complete yet. What to do?
Then it happened. Mary decided on her own that she no longer wanted to talk to them. It started when she resisted a call. We insisted. Then it dawned on us that we don’t have a legal obligation to insist anymore. So we talked to Mary’s counselor about it, and she agreed that Mary is old enough to decide for herself who she does and doesn’t want to talk to. From that point on, we would ask her the morning of the expected call if she wanted to talk to them. A few hours later we would ask again, just to make sure she hadn’t changed her mind. Week after week it was the same, no. I started to notice that the constant question was becoming uncomfortable. I decided that maybe just one blanket question would be enough, so we had a talk and I asked her if it bothered her. She reluctantly agreed that it did so we made an agreement that we wouldn’t ask, but that she could tell us when she was ready. (Of course, at her age I don’t really expect that she will tell us so every once in a while I’ll pose the question anyway!)
We took our first family vacation together! We flew from New England to Florida for a week. We visited with Mary’s maternal grandmother for a few days, then rented a car and drove up to Orlando for a few days at Disney World. What an amazing time we had as a family!
Each night we returned to the hotel to participate in our church’s international convocation events, specifically the evening Eucharist. On our flight to Florida, Mary looked at me and said, “Thank you for taking me to Disney World!” Her smile melted my heart yet again.