It wasn't until Sandy sat down next to Ryan that Ryan was finally able to wrap his head around everything. He wasn't leaving. He was staying. Somehow he didn't blow the best thing that ever happened to him. The Cohens were his family, and sitting next to him was the man who wanted to be his father. This was the father who promised that everything would be okay, and he was right.

It was this father who very gently told Ryan about his biological mother's most recent whereabouts, and it was also this father who understood when Ryan explained that he wasn't ready to proceed with the adoption, not right now. Not that he didn't want to be a part of their family. Just the opposite. Knowing that Dawn was with an old boyfriend in Austin was enough for Ryan. They survived the nightmares of both Oliver and the Child Services investigation as a family, and Ryan was worried about what Dawn might do when she heard about the adoption. He knew she'd most likely try to cause trouble, and Ryan really just wanted to enjoy some stress free time with his family. Sandy said he understood, and he did, since he also wanted nothing more then for all of them to enjoy some stress free Cohen family time. But Sandy told Ryan he'd only give it a month before moving ahead with the adoption. Ryan belonged with their family, and Sandy was going to do everything in his power to ensure that would forever be the case. Sandy knew Ryan was afraid to face Dawn, but he also knew he would be the one who handled Dawn and whatever stunts she was willing to pull. Sandy would make damn sure that Dawn would never again be Ryan's problem since legally, as well as emotionally, she would no longer be Ryan's mother.

And speaking of mothers, Sandy quickly reminded Ryan that they needed to call Kirsten as soon as possible, or they would both be in big trouble. They also needed to call Seth, or spend the rest of the night, weekend and possibly the year listening to him complain. It was only after Sandy mentioned Kirsten and Seth, and their possible reactions that Ryan was finally able to relax, smile and even laugh.

Kirsten dropped everything as soon as Sandy called. She hung up so fast that Sandy didn't even get a chance to tell her it was good news. All she knew was that they received Mrs. Dawson's decision, and she wanted to rush home to comfort Ryan and promise him that they would continue to fight for him. She told Caleb that she had to go, and for once, he didn't argue. He didn't understand why Ryan was so important to his daughter, but he obviously was, so Caleb had no choice but to accept the kid as his grandson. He didn't like it, but he'd try to accept it.

When Kirsten got home, she found Ryan and Sandy sitting by the pool. They were talking and laughing. They both stopped as soon as they saw her. She looked sad and scared and very, very confused. Ryan thought she would understand as soon as he said, "here, Mom, this is for you." as he handed her Mrs. Dawson's letter, but she still didn't get it. Until she read the letter, and then she started to cry. And of all the possible reactions Ryan had expected from Kirsten, crying wasn't one of them. She just stood there as tears quietly rolled down her face, unable to say anything at first. The idea that Kirsten would actually cry over him scared Ryan, and not knowing what else to do, he apologized. Over and over again, until Kirsten started to laugh and warned him that if he apologized again, she'd give him something to be sorry about. Then she hugged him and told him that she loved him. And for once, Ryan hugged her back, and told her that he loved her, too.

They weren't able to get through to Seth. Either he didn't have his cell phone on him, or he turned it off, which meant they would have to wait until Summer was tired of shopping at Fashion Island. They all knew that could take a while. While they waited, Sandy said it would be okay if Ryan wanted to call Marissa and give her the news.

She also started to cry when Ryan told her, but that was at least a reaction Ryan had come to expect from Marissa. Ryan kept his conversation with her short. He knew that now that he was staying in Newport, she would push for more from him. She'd never be happy as just friends, but friends was all Ryan was willing to be for now. Maybe some day they could be more, but not right now.

After Ryan hung up with Marissa, he rejoined Sandy and Kirsten out by the patio. Rosa had brought out some ice tea and sandwiches for them, and he was really enjoying spending some time with them. He knew Seth would tease him about sucking up to the 'rents' again, but he didn't care. Seth had almost seventeen years of alone time with Sandy and Kirsten, and now Ryan wanted his turn, not that he'd ever admit it. What teenager would ever admit to wanting to spend time with his parents?

His parents. It still sounded weird to Ryan. He liked it, but he doubted he'd ever really be totally comfortable with it. He also doubted he'd ever be able to bring himself to calling them "Mom" and "Dad," except maybe in passing, or joking. Having a Mom and a Dad to most people was a good thing, but not to Ryan. A Mom was someone who had too much to drink or one too many drugs, who beat on you or let some guy do it for her. She was someone who threw you out of her house, abandoned you. And a Dad was no better. He was a criminal, a drunk and a child abuser, too. But having a Kirsten and a Sandy, that was a good thing. They were parents, and having parents was a good thing. That meant they cared, they loved you, and would do anything for you. Maybe it didn't make complete sense, but it made enough sense to Ryan that he was happy. Finally happy.

Seth and Summer came home an hour later. Ryan, Kirsten and Sandy were still on the patio, talking. Since it was rare to see Ryan sitting around talking to the parents, Seth immediately knew that something was up. He had hoped that Ryan was just in trouble, again.

Ryan did his best to look very solemn as he told Seth that Mrs. Dawson had stopped by and left her decision. It was a cruel joke, but Ryan couldn't resist. As he handed Seth the letter, Sandy and Kirsten had to turn away. Otherwise, they'd both start to laugh, and give it away. After Seth read the letter, he told his "little" brother that this now meant that he had all the time in the world to plot his revenge, and Ryan should be afraid, very afraid. Ryan reminded him that he wasn't Seth's little brother, but slightly younger brother, and a slightly younger brother who could kick his ass. They both started to laugh when Kirsten warned them to play nice.

Summer, not usually one to be sentimental, promised Ryan that she wouldn't call him Chino anymore. She thought Newport sounded better. And just like he did back in August, Seth again told Ryan that he was a Cohen now. This time, though, it meant more to Ryan. It was no longer a joke. It was a family, and it was his family.