Credit: Tony Rivetti/ABC Family

On the summer finale of The Fosters, the time has finally come: Callie Jacob (Maia Mitchell) and the family prepare to enter the courtroom as Callie‘s adoption could be on the horizon. But with all of the recent curveballs thrown her way, will everything go as planned?

EW caught up with Mitchell before the finale airs to get the scoop on Brandon (David Lambert) and Callie’s (very) complicated relationship, what goes down inside the courthouse, and whether the episode will leave fans clapping — or screaming.

The summer finale of The Fosters airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Last week, we saw Callie and Brandon make the decision to sleep together thinking there was no way the adoption would happen. Can you talk a little bit about that choice?

MAIA MITCHELL: She’s convinced the adoption’s not going to happen and she’s chosen to put herself in that position where she’s sacrificed her adoption for Rita [Rosie O’Donnell] — which she feels like was the right choice. She’s grieving and super sad, but she’s also at peace with her decision because it is the right choice and it is what’s best for Rita. Callie will always try to do what’s best for other people before herself. Of course, Brandon is this sort of beacon of hope for her — this light in this dark tunnel of failed adoption. [Laughs] He’s there, and they’re both vulnerable and they’re both at peace with what’s happening. I think they just let themselves give into their feelings for each other — which have always been there. They’ve been denying them and they’ve been distracting themselves but, you know, it’s always been there. They are in love — or in lust, young love, first love — whatever you want to call it. It’s very real for them and they chose to give into it. I think it comes with sadness as far as the family not being an option for her, but she’s at peace with it and she’s at peace of being with him and dealing with the repercussions of her actions.

Callie’s adoption has faced so many hurdles thus far. Do you think she will ever catch a break as she prepares to enter the courtroom of a judge she has history with — someone she may not be on the best side of? Do you think there’s hope for the situation?

I think the thing with Callie is that she always wants to do the right thing. She always wants to stand up for what is right. You’ve seen that with her work at the drop-in center and her work with Fost and Found and creating these videos, outing people involved with the foster care system who are potentially letting it down and letting the kids down. This includes the judge who she really needs to be on her side in order for the adoption to go through. You see her making some really bold moves and standing up for what is right. That’s where you’ve seen everything go wrong — that’s what she did with Rita when she sacrificed herself to do what’s right. You see her really struggling with what is the right move and what is the right thing for her. It does affect the adoption — there are a lot of curveballs in the courtroom.

What would be your advice for Callie going into the finale? What would you tell her?

I think Callie and I are quite similar at this point in Callie’s development. I don’t know what I would say to do differently. I’m really proud of the way she’s being written and how she’s standing up for herself and for others, trying to do what is right. Whether or not choosing to be with Brandon at this point was the right move — obviously not, but she’s 16, and there’s a lot to be said for a 16-year-old girl in love. She just carries a lot of pressure on her shoulders. She’s constantly trying to fix things and juggle things. The only thing I would say is to just let yourself be a kid and let yourself off the hook a little bit. I’m very proud of the decisions she makes for the most part. She’s a pretty amazing girl for all of the things she’s been through. She tries to turn it into good and I think that’s pretty admirable.

What do you hope fans get out of the episode?

I think there’s some important lessons in there. You see Lena [Teri Polo] and Stef [Sherri Saum] really working through their relationship. At this point, Stef is feeling very betrayed by Lena, so you see them dealing with their marital problems in a communicative, open and loving way — which I think is a really positive relationship to have on TV. You see Callie and Brandon struggling to find what is right and I think there’s a lot to take from that. Everything that develops with the courtroom and the adoption is definitely very exciting, and I don’t know, I’m not sure if people will be screaming at Callie or clapping her on. But you’re either going to be totally for it or completely frustrated and furious. So, I have no idea — I think it depends on the person. [Laughs]

What do you think Callie’s dream future would look like?

I think she wants to be loved, feel safe, and have a family. I think she will definitely want to have children and a husband. But I think professional, she’s going to do something in the field — she’s going to be a social worker or she’s going to be creating start-ups or something in order to help people. Her life will always be about helping people whether that’s her family or foster kids. I think that’s where her head always is and where she hopes to be able to channel everything.

•Photo exclusive: A first look at ‘The Fosters’ summer finale

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