We had our last court date today.
I haven't really been talking about it. I was angry after our last court date and it wouldn't really be nice of me to just sit there and shit talk all over the place. And trust me, I was pissed enough to just talk about any and everything, including name calling, which...quite frankly would have been completely unnecessary on my part and I don't need to resort to that. (If you can't say somethin' nice....) (Also, my poor husband got to hear the majority of my complaining...)
But I cooled down and today, when we went to court, we thought it was going to be difficult.
Right before our last court date, Reilly's natural father wrote a letter to the courts contesting the adoption, stating that he wanted to be more involved in her life, not less, and that while Brad was a good father, he was "just her step-father". He stated that he has tried to contact her and always willing to pay child support, etc...etc...etc....
Well, nothing happened. There was not a phone call or anything to be had. Personally, I find it incredibly hard to believe that someone wants a relationship with their child when they don't even try. Even if he didn't want to deal with ME, that is for sure not a reason not to try to have a relationship with your child. I will be her mother, that has to be "dealt with", for the next 13 years regardless. But I digress.
I know that Brett and I do have some mutual friends and that's okay. I know most of, if not all of, our mutual friends have known him longer. And that's okay too. And some people may not agree with my decision to go forward with the adoption, however, that is not anyone's choice but mine and my husbands...and it's mostly mine at that. As her mother, I feel like this was the best possible choice for my daughter and honestly, I would be surprised if anyone in my position made a different choice. I could go on and on about why we made this choice...but ultimately, what it comes down to is that I gave ample opportunity and never discouraged a relationship. And in all honesty, had there been more of an effort, this wouldn't have been the road we went down. I am the first person to think that a father should have a relationship with their child and Brad agrees with me. However, at the end of the day, no contact for an entire year other than a birthday card is not considered a relationship. At all.
This road was costly and time consuming, and I would have much rather spent those thousands of dollars somewhere else. But my daughter having the best father she could have was more important.
So court today went surprisingly well, and for what it's worth, I give Brett kudos for stepping up and consenting to the adoption. I can't imagine making that decision...though, I haven't ever put myself into a position where that would even come close to being a decision I would have to make. But anyway. The adoption will be finalized and will be back dated to 11 August 2011. Reilly is officially an Oberklaus now. I imagine sometime down the road, she'll have questions...and we will do our best to answer them. I'm not a fan of shit talking (or at least, not generally and most definitely not in this situation), but I am going to be honest with my daughter. And if later on down the road, she wants a relationship with him, then we will support her. But at the moment, she has all she needs...a mother and father who care about her, support her and would do anything for her.
Now we just wait for the paperwork and everything to get done and that's it. We are so happy. Obviously, Reilly would be loved by Brad regardless of a piece of paper. He's been acting like her biological father for over four years now, and if the judges decision had swayed the other way, we would have gotten over the loss and continued being the same family that we are. This just makes it all legal.
I know that this is a hard thing for some people. I know people are going through this, that or the other thing when it comes to their own children. And I think jumping the gun on taking parental rights away is unnecessary. But this has been four years in the making. And what is best for Reilly.
I know some people can't even imagine needing to take this step. But most parents would try harder. This isn't to say that he never did or doesn't love Reilly...because that's not my call to make nor do I believe that. However, what is blatantly apparent to me is the obvious lack of relationship. And that is not okay. Reilly hasn't even mentioned him since her birthday (in March) when she got a birthday card from him. When you have access to the tools to have a relationship with someone, especially your child, but make a decision not to, I can't feel sorry for you. I am not even talking about monetary support. I'm not a cold hearted bitch. I'm not a gold digger. I'm realistic. Brad and I have always been able to take care of our kids, put a roof over their heads, keep the lights on and food in our fridge and in their bellies. We've never needed the support. Reilly didn't need that support. She surely would have benefited from having an actual relationship though.
So there's that! We'll be going out to dinner tonight to celebrate and this is just one less thing we need to worry about now. Until we get all the paperwork for the adoption back and have to deal with health and social services for the birth certificate and then the social security office, the military and then her school. But other than that, we are done and have nothing else to do other than continue being the family that we always have been.
In all honesty, I hope that he understands that he did make the best choice for Reilly. And as I said earlier, if she wants to have a relationship with him later on down the road when she is older, she is more than welcome to...Brad and I won't be offended and we will fully support her decision to have that relationship. But it needs to be known that it is HER choice, not anyone elses. We will not pressure her to have a relationship that she does not want and we will not allow anyone else to try to pressure her into a relationship. I also hope that he takes this time to consider the chain of events leading up to this and he can decide to have an amazing relationship with his other children. They are both amazing kids and they deserve it.
All in all, we are very happy. It feels kind of different...even though nothing has really changed. Reilly is still loved. Very much. She just has another name now. :)