I stayed behind with Brewster in the campground while Hubby took the kids to see their birth dad. The visit went very well. It was good for the kids to see their dad in his own environment. They walked around, ate dinner at a taco place in town, and went back to Birthdad's house to look at pictures.
We didn't have any pictures of Ms. D before she came to our home at four and a half years of age. It was always a little sad that Mr. I had a few baby pictures, but Ms. D had none. One of the hard things about adopting older kids is that they often don't have pictures of themselves as babies. This makes it harder for them to piece together their life story.
When Ms. D came back to camp, I saw the pictures that Ms. D took of the photos. I told her the girl looked just like her, thinking they were of a relative. She said, "They are me!" Now Ms. D has some photos of herself when she was little!
I am so glad that the kids were able to visit their birth dad. It would have been disappointing if we had travelled to the same state he lives in, yet didn't see him. I was thinking of letting the birth dad and kids know we might visit him before we left, but I didn't want the birth dad to get cold feet again, or have the kids get all excited, only to be disappointed by another no-show.
Waiting until the last minute to arrange the visit also prevented a difficult decision for us. We found out later that two of the brothers in San Jose had a "J ride", or stole a car, and were caught. The younger brother slept through a hearing and was in even bigger trouble. If we had told the family we were going to Arizona before we left, they would have asked us to take that younger brother with us to go to his father. While I know that the brother does much better with the guidance of his dad, I do not want to get mixed up in helping someone escape the consequences of his actions and the law. If we would have said no, then the birth family and our kids would have been pretty angry. Instead we were able to say sorry, we didn't know. I'm so glad we kept our vacation secret until we were well underway.
An interesting thing happened with the kids after the visit with their birth dad. They came back to camp happy and wanted a lot of hugs from both Hubby and me. It was as if taking them to visit the birth dad made them even more attached to us. This is really the first time something like this has happened. Before, it usually took the kids at least a few days to reattach to us after seeing someone in the birth family, like they could only be a part of one family at a time. It was good to see that they were able to receive love from both.