Ruth still didn’t want us contacting Ava’s father. Our only other option to hope for relinquishment was to wait it out. Our attorney advised us to not do anything. We had to wait until Ava was at least a year old and see if her birth father contacted Ruth for visitation. After at least one year if he hadn’t called or asked for visitation we could base the reason for relinquishment partly on abandonment. We had two months until her first birthday.
Mykel painting Ava's fingernails
I tried to go on with my day-to-day living knowing at any time we could receive a phone call that would take Ava away from our family (darn those life changing phone calls!) I did all I could do on my end to be as prepared as possible. Because of Ava’s ethnicity, I had to find out if she qualified under the “Indian Child Welfare Act” (ICWA) and if she was an official part of the tribe her father belonged to. I spent several days making phone calls and researching ICWA and what it entailed. I knew that if Ava fell under ICWA, our attorney wouldn’t even touch the case because of the complexity of it all (she would be placed with a family in that tribe first before anyone else) which is exactly what Ruth didn’t want to happen. I finally made some headway and got the answer I needed, she didn’t qualify! We were one step further to having Ava be a permanent part of our family!
Next I had to figure out what to do with my schedule. I was still working full-time, but mostly from home. I only had to go to the office one day a week, which I usually did when Mykel was home with the boys. They were all in school during the day so that is when I attended class; I only had two semesters left before I finished my bachelor’s degree. I really just wanted to quit school and work at that point. My job paid for my tuition, but I had to come up with the money first and then after I received my grades and turned in the necessary paperwork I could be reimbursed. I had no idea what I was going to do for tuition because we had spent most of the money getting what we needed for Ava.
Then my brother-in-law Teryn called me the very day I needed to register for school. We would call each other randomly to check in (we are the same age, graduated from high school together and were still close friends). I told him my dilemma and asked him what he thought I should do (he always gave good advice!) His question to me was “is it only money that is holding you back from finishing school?” I told him that was part of the reason and he said “what is your account information, I will send you the $1000 that you need for tuition.” I knew I couldn’t quit then! He was always doing things like that to help other people. I am happy to say I was able to pay him back at the end of the semester!
I think this part of the story is even more meaningful to me because it has been almost two years since my brother-in-law Teryn passed away. I am having a hard time writing any of this because of each time I think of this moment in time my mind is filled with memories of him; his laugh, his generosity and our friendship. I wouldn’t have made it through this period of my life without him and his support of my family. Thank you Teryn, I miss you!
Stopping at Teryn's on our way to St. George (Teryn is on the left)
I plodded along with school and work and somehow the arrangement with a new baby worked. At the end of February we celebrated Ava's first birthday (one milestone down without a phone call). We hadn’t heard anything from Ava’s birth father and Ruth still didn’t want us to contact him. We just had to wait and hope.