I initiated the planning of the trip via letter to both D and J. D is currently in jail and wont be out for several years so I asked if she was OK with me contacting her family. J I gave two months for him to respond to us and let us know if he wanted a visit. Once we didn't hear anything back from J and D I went forward and contacted Baby Girls birth grandmother (D's Mom) by letter providing her with a few options for weekends that both DH and I had off.
Baby Girls older sister e-mailed baby girls e-mail address with a weekend they preferred and a weekend was officially picked. The trip seemed really far off initially. Baby Girls sister wanted to go to a museum and zoo since she knew we didn't have either where we live. Plans were vague for a while until I set up a Google Voice #. I had her Birth Grandmother give me a call to make plans. Google Voice allowed me to provide a local number that can easily be changed- although I have no plans to change it it is nice to have a number that if it were ever to be abused in the future (i.e. text in the middle of the night) I can ask that text not be sent and if they were to continue I could just delete the number. I think it give me the control over my # again. If (and I stress if) its needed I can delete the number without having to start with a fresh number (I've had my number for long enough that I would find it hard to change).
In the initial call her Birth Grandmother wanted to know if it was OK for us to visit her house since she is having more trouble moving around. I told her I'd talk to DH and in time I was able to convince him. She also asked in that conversation if we could tell her our last name now that the adoption was finalized. I told her that our agency discouraged it (its more complicated then that but I'll touch on this in another post). We made tentative plans to possibly go to the museum, and swimming the first day, then the zoo and a family get together the second day. I got off the phone feeling overwhelmed.
My biggest concern during all the planning was making sure that we are not providing preferential treatment to her extended family. In the same breath we also have grown to trust her extended family and have had greatest communication with them. Her birth grandparents and siblings have no involvement's with the law which also gives us an added level of trust for them. I felt like I was on this teater-toter and was worried i'd make a mistake at any point. Once the mistake was made it couldn't be taken back.
In the mean time my mother fell and broke her leg and my focus on the trip was distracted at best. I e-mailed her birth sister about ten days before the trip apologizing for our silence. At that point it was too late to reserve tickets to the museum and we also were planning on leaving later then initially anticipated. Her sister suggested ice cream and swimming Friday and the zoo saturday. It was also in this e-mail I learned that the family get together was her sisters birthday party!
The weekend before we left I had one last conversation with her grandmother. We confirmed the plans for the weekend. By this point I was excited and confident in our decision. I could tell they were looking forward to seeing Baby Girl again.