The slamming of the side door caught both their attention. They looked up just as Adam came in, visibly upset. As he started up the stairs, Jay called out to him. “Adam, what’s wrong son? You seem upset.”
Adam responded tersely. “It’s nothing. You guys continue doing what you were doing.”
Kyle put down his guitar as Jay turned off his keyboard. Their jam session could wait. Something was bothering their beloved son and they wanted to help. “Yes, I can see it’s nothing.” Jay retorted. “Come over here, sit down and tell us what’s wrong.”
Adam did as he was told, reluctantly. “You guys are going to get pissed off when I tell you.”
“You know you can tell us anything. What’s on your mind, Adam?” Kyle asked, the parental instinct to protect one’s child kicking into high gear.
“Dads, I think someone wants to take me away from you and break up our family.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Someone from Child Protective Services has been questioning my teachers and some of my friends about me and what kind of parents you are.”
“Why would they do that, I wonder?” Jay was perplexed. Kyle was visibly angry.
“There’s no way in hell anyone is taking you away from us. You’re eighteen, legally an adult. They can’t touch you.”
“I’ll check into this. Don’t worry, son. There’s no way anyone is going to take you away from us. They have no legal grounds.”
“But what if my mother is trying to get me back, not that I believe she would after all this time.”
“She can’t. If she tries, she’ll be charged with child abandonment. I’ll see to that. Relax, Adam, ain’t gonna happen.”
“Thanks, Dads. I’m sorry to have interrupted your jam session. You guys don’t seem to have much time for it anymore.”
“Well, why don’t you go upstairs, get your guitar and join us while I order some pizza for dinner.”
Adam went and grabbed his guitar and the three men spent a wonderful evening just relaxing, playing music and eating pizza.
The next day, Jay had intended to make inquiries as to why they were being investigated by Child Protective Services, but the demands of the job left him no time. Shortly after arriving home and changing his clothes the doorbell rang. On the other side of the door a representative from CPS was waiting.
“Am I addressing Jayson or Kyle Matthews-Williams?” The woman asked.
“I’m Jayson Matthews-Williams. What can I do for you?”
The woman held up her identification. “My name is Connie Adkins, and I have a very important matter to discuss with you, your partner and your son. May I come in?”
Jay, suddenly nervous, stepped aside and allowed the woman to enter. She looked around and remarked “What a beautiful home you have here.”
“Thank you, Ms. Adkins. KYLE! ADAM! CAN YOU GUYS COME INTO THE LIVING ROOM FOR A MINUTE?” He yelled. “Please sit down. Can I get you anything to drink?”
“I would appreciate a glass of water, if you please.”
“KYLE, BRING A GLASS OF WATER WITH YOU, PLEASE.”
As Kyle and Adam entered the room, introductions were made and everyone took seats. “What can we do for you, Ms. Adkins?”
“I’m here to discuss a very important family issue with you.” Noting the apprehensive looks on the three men’s faces, she continued. “No, I’m not here to take Adam away from you. I’m sure that by now you are all aware of the fact that we have been questioning Adam’s teachers and friends about what kind of person he has become while in your care, and what type of home life you have provided for him. We are very pleased with the results of the investigation.”
“Why is CPS investigating us? Have there been any complaints filed against us?” Kyle asked.
“No, not at all, we were investigating your family because we have a special request to make of you.”
“And that request would be…” Jay prompted.
“We would like to know if you would consider being a foster family to a sixteen year-old girl who has been thrown out of her house and legally disowned by her parents because she is a lesbian.”
Adam’s face went white as he was reminded of the fact that he was found abandoned in a dumpster. Jay noticed Adam’s reaction as did Kyle. He said, “Wow. Of course, we need to talk this over. When do you need an answer?”
“As soon as possible. The sooner we get her settled into a loving home, the better.”
Jay spoke up. “Does she have any kind of history, such as alcohol or drug abuse, thievery or anything else that would impact on our decision?”
“No, she’s a straight-A student, and up until she was thrown out of her house, very outgoing, personable and popular.”
“You’ll have our decision by the end of the week, Ms. Adkins.” The three men stood as one, then walked her to the door.
“Here’s my card. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions.” She handed Jay her business card as she turned to leave. “Thank you for your time and goodnight.”
The three men said goodnight to her, then returned to the living room to discuss the surprise request. While Kyle and Jay discussed the benefits and ramifications of being foster parents to a sixteen-year-old, Adam was strangely quiet. His eyes were unfocused and his brow furled, indicating that he was in deep thought. His fathers hadn’t raised him for thirteen years without knowing the signs that outwardly, he was calm, but inwardly he was seething. “Okay, son, it’s obvious that something is upsetting you. Care to talk about it.”
Adam’s eyes refocused. “I can’t understand how any parent could turn their back on their own child. So what if she’s a lesbian? She’s the same person that she was before she came out.” He said, gritting his teeth.
“Son, not every family is as open as you wish them to be, unfortunately.”
“What about you guys’ parents? How did they react to you coming out?”
Jay spoke first. “My parents were killed in a car accident before I was able to tell them. I was a sophomore in high school. I went to live with my grandparents. I told them I was gay and they said as long as I kept it out of their house, I could be with anyone I wanted. They didn’t want to know about it.”
It was Kyle’s turn to share. “When I came out to my parents, my mother took it very hard at first. Her problem was that she wouldn’t have any grandchildren from me. Other than that, she told me she just wanted me to be happy, and if it was another man instead of a woman that made me happy, so be it. My dad was cool about it. As far as he was concerned, God made me the way I am. They were both very supportive.”
“My parents never gave me a chance to tell them that I was straight.” Adam spat. “They got rid of me just as soon as they could manage. I don’t know where I would be if it hadn’t been for the two of you. I’ll never forget how you took me in and gave me a home. I, for one, would love to have a little sister to look out for.”
“The biggest problem I see is where will she sleep?” Kyle said, turning over possibilities in his mind.
“She can have my room.” Adam responded.
Typical Adam response Jay thought. “That’s a generous offer, son, but where will you sleep?”
“I can sleep on the couch.”
“And what about your clothes and stuff?”
“That stuff can go into the storage room in the basement.”
“I have a better idea. You can have the studio.” Jay offered.
“Wrong answer” Kyle interjected. “There’s nothing in the storage room downstairs that can’t be stored in the attic over the garage. We can have it expanded into a bedroom and bathroom. Erik’s wife is an architect. We can see if she will draw up some plans and we can find a contractor to do the work.”
“She will need furniture.”
“We can take her furniture shopping while the renovations are being made. We can also have her pick out paint for the walls, and get her anything else she will need so that everything is ready for her when she moves in.” Kyle ticked off each point on his fingers.
“Sounds like you’ve already made up your mind.” Jay said with a grin, knowing he was right.
“I have, but it’s not my decision alone. We all have to be in agreement.”
“Like I said earlier, I’d love to have a little sister to look after.”
“Then it’s a done deal. How long do you think it will take to get everything ready?”
“Probably two-to-three weeks.”
“Okay, let’s get everything started.”
“Uh, Jay, don’t you think we ought to meet her first, before we start tearing things up and spending a lot of money?” Kyle’s question was like throwing a bucket of ice water on Jay, dampening his enthusiasm.
“You’re right, of course. We don’t even know the girl’s name.” Jay turned to Adam. “I wonder if you might know her from school.” Jay remembered how Adam’s popularity with the girls in school was a major bone of contention when he and Kelly first stated dating until she realized that monogamy was Adam’s middle name.
“I might, but I won’t know for sure until I meet her, or at least find out what her name is.” Adam wondered if he knew her and if they were friends. If so, that would be icing on the cake as far as he was concerned.
“Honey, why don’t you call the social worker and see if we can set up a date and a time to meet her?” Kyle suggested.
Jay got out the card the social worker had given him and dialed. “Ms. Adkins, this is Jayson Matthews-Williams. My family and I have been discussing your request, and we’re wondering if we could meet and talk with the girl before making our final decision. I see. When would be a good time? A half-hour?” He glanced at Kyle and Adam, who both nodded yes. “That would be fine. What’s her name? Fine. We’ll see the two of you soon. Thank you.” He hung up. “They’ll be here in a half hour. That gives us enough time to get a couple of pizzas. Her name is Janita Conklin.”
“Janita Conklin?” Adam repeated, his face lighting up, which did not go unnoticed by his fathers. “Janita is awesome. She’s captain of the cheerleading squad, captain of the women’s softball team, she’s in the debate club, the drama club and chorus. I already think of her as a little sister. It would be awesome to have her living here with us.” Adam exclaimed, the enthusiasm in his voice unmistakable.
Kyle and Jay exchanged amused glances over their son’s exuberance. “So” Jay began, “I take it that you are already acquainted with her?”
“Funny, J-dad, very funny” Adam continued to talk about her until the doorbell rang. Kyle got up and answered it while Adam hid in the kitchen.
“Come in, please. I’m Kyle.” He extended his hand to Janita who took it warily.
“I’m pleased to meet you. Janita, this is my husband, Jayson.”
Her eyes widened as Jay was introduced. A flicker of hope flashed briefly in her eyes. She had been told that she was being taken to meet a family that was considering taking her in, but she did not know that the family consisted of two gay men. Up until then, she held little hope of finding a decent place to live. She was an out lesbian which, in her mind, severely limited her options. There was no way she was going back into the closet, and if her foster family couldn’t deal with it, then she’d go back to the shelter.
“Hey there, Pipsqueak” Adam came out of the kitchen and surprised her, holding out is arms to her.
“ADAM!” She screamed and ran into his outstretched arms. “What are you doing here?”
“I live here. These are my fathers that I told you about.”
“You’re joking, right?”
“No, he’s not, Janita. He’s completely serious.” Kyle said. “Why don’t you come and sit down while we wait for the pizzas to arrive. We have some details we need to iron out before you can move in with us.”
She sat down, hanging her head. Here it comes, the thousand questions that will eventually lead them to decide against taking me in. She had been down this road several times before and despite how awesome Adam told her his fathers were she expected to end up back at the shelter.
Jay began. “Before you can move in with us, we have to do some renovations because this is only a two-bedroom house. It used to be three-bedroom, but we knocked out the dividing wall and made Adam a bigger bedroom out of the two smaller ones. He’s is going to give you his room, and we’re building a room for him in the basement.” Her head jerked up and she looked at Jay in disbelief. “When would you like to go pick out a color for your walls and your furniture?” Both Janita and Ms. Adkins stared at him. Of all the questions that could have been asked, neither woman expected that.
“One thing you need to know about us. We’re very open and honest with each other and we hope you’ll be the same way with us.” Kyle added.
Ms. Adkins smiled, knowing she had made the right choice approaching the Matthews-Williams family. Janita burst into tears and was immediately enfolded into Adam’s arms. These three men, in five minutes, showed her more loving kindness than her family had in years. “I-I-I don’t know what to say.”
“Well, you can start by answering the question. When do you want to go furniture and paint shopping?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never been shopping before.”
“Not even for clothes?” Adam asked, incredulous.
Janita hung her head. “No. My parents bought everything from a thrift store, or got me hand-me-downs from my cousin.
“Kelly’s working Saturday. I’ll take her clothes shopping. Kelly will flip over Janita living here. She’ll be ecstatic. The two of them are like sisters.” To Janita he said “Do you want to meet me at the mall, or would you like me to pick you up?”
She sniffled. “I can’t. I don’t have any money. Besides, I wouldn’t even begin to know how to shop for clothes.”
Kyle, brokenhearted over what Janita obviously had to endure growing up, spoke up. “Kelly has excellent fashion sense. She’ll be more than happy to help you pick out some nice clothes. As far as the money goes, it’s a parent’s responsibility to see to it that their children are properly clothed, a responsibility I can’t wait to take on.”
Jay decided this would be a good time to jump in. “It is also a parent’s responsibility to provide proper living accommodations for their children. I can’t wait to take you furniture shopping.”
“We can’t wait.” Kyle interjected. “It’s settled. Adam can pick you up on Saturday and take you to get a complete wardrobe and all of the accessories a young teenage girl needs, then Jay and I will take you furniture shopping on Sunday.”
“Provided” Jay interrupted “that all of your school work is done. We’re quite strict on that.”
“That’s the understatement of the millennium.” Adam said, rolling his eyes.
“Do you have a cell phone?” Jay asked.
“My girlfriend does.”
“That’s not what I asked. Do you have a cell phone?” Jay insisted.
“No. I’m not allowed to talk to anyone except in school.”
“That changes as of right now.” Kyle responded vehemently. “Jay, add a cell phone to the list, one with a camera and a full texting keyboard.” To Janita he said “so when do we get to meet your girlfriend?”
She started to cry softly. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen or talked to her since I dropped out of school two weeks ago to get a job.”
Jay and Adam exchanged looks while Kyle stared at the social worker, who was caught totally unaware.
“You dropped out of school to get a job?” Ms. Adkins asked.
“I had no choice. They’re not going to let me stay at the shelter forever. I have to get a job so I can get a place to live.”
“And did you find a job?” Adam asked.
“No. No one but McDonalds would even consider hiring me since I don’t have a permanent home.”
“You don’t need a job. You need to get your butt back in school young lady. You have a permanent home, at least you will very shortly, as soon as the paperwork is finished.” Jay gave the social worker a look that said the paperwork had best be completed quickly.
Adam rose and started up the stairs.
“Adam, where are you going?”
“Upstairs to start moving my stuff down into the basement. I’ll sleep on the couch until my room is ready. There’s no way she’s saying in that shelter another night.”
“I’m afraid it’s not that simple. We can’t allow Janita to move in here unless she has her own room.”
“She will have shortly, as soon as I clear out all of my junk.”
“Again, it’s not that simple. Technically, Adam, you are being forced out of your room, which is against regulations.” Ms. Adkins responded.
“How is it against the regulations? I’m doing it voluntarily.”
“Since you are not yet 21, and are still living under your parents’ roof, you cannot be displaced from your bedroom.”
“So what can we do?”
“I’m afraid there isn’t anything we can do. Unfortunately, Janita will have to stay in the shelter until a proper bedroom can be created for her, and not by you moving your stuff out and sleeping on the couch. Is that clear, Adam?”
“I understand you want to help, and believe me, I wish I could just snap my fingers and have a mansion built for her, but I can’t.” She turned to Janita. “I understand you want to get out of the shelter before you’re thrown out, but rest assured, while you are a minor you will not be required to leave the shelter until we find a permanent home for you.
“Okay, so we need to get in touch with an architect to draw up the plans, a carpenter, electrician and plumber to do the work. We need to get estimates, and we need to do this like yesterday.” Jay said, rolling things over in his mind.
“Don’t worry about any of that. I’m taking care of all of the details. I can have a representative from the city’s architectural firm come to draw up some tentative plans and a construction foreman come and survey the job in order to provide you with estimates. Do you have an idea where you want Adam’s room to be?”
“A few years ago, we had the basement finished and turned into a rec room. We never use the pool table and were planning on donating it to the youth center. The dartboard, which we do use, can easily be moved up here, since it’s free-standing. I think it would be cool to turn the entire basement into an apartment for Adam, complete with a full bathroom and kitchenette.” Jay responded with increasing enthusiasm in his voice.
“Well, I doubt I can sell installing a kitchenette to the bosses, but the rest is completely doable.”
“I don’t think I’d need a stove or oven or stuff like that. I can get by with a microwave, a mini-fridge and a toaster oven. The only things that I would need that I couldn’t do myself would be a sink, cabinets and counter space.”
“Well, if you could provide the materials, I’m pretty sure we could cover the cost of the installation. Sometimes hardware stores offer free installation when you buy the materials from them.”
“I think we can handle that.” Kyle responded. “Would you like to see what we have in mind?”
“Yes, I would.” Ms. Adkins responded as they all rose and headed for the basement stairs. She looked around at the immense space. “Wow. This space is huge. It would make for a very nice apartment for Adam.
“Actually, I could get by with about half this space.” Adam said. “There’s more than enough room for me and the rec room. I don’t need any more space than I have now. Just put up a wall and call it done.”
“Let’s see.” Jay began. “If you wanted a smaller space, all we would have to do is put up a wall and a door here.” He paced an imaginary line. “This half could still be the rec room and this half would be Adam’s apartment. Over there” he pointed towards a door “is a door with stairs that lead up to the garage, so he would have a private entrance. I’m still in favor of converting the entire room. We could put a wall here and here” he indicated where they would be “which would be the bedroom and bathroom. The rest of the space would be a living room-slash-kitchen area.”
“I like it. Eventually he’s going to want a place of his own, and I really don’t want him that far away, so this would be perfect. Of course, we’ll have to charge him rent. I’m thinking around fifty dollars a month. What do you think, Jay?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
“Wait a minute, dads. I really don’t need this much space. Besides, I don’t have furniture to put in here.”
“Adam, when was the last time any of us used this room, other than to play darts?”
“I can’t remember ever doing anything down here besides that.”
“So the dart board gets moved upstairs, unless you wanted to keep it down here, which is fine. You use it more than your father and I do. Wouldn’t you like to have a nice place of your own where you can entertain your friends without worrying about whether or not it’s going to interfere with our plans? We can easily have cable installed down here. Since we gave you the forty-inch LCD TV and home theater system for your birthday, you’d be able to have your friends over to watch sports, movies, what-have-you. Even though you know your friends have always been welcome here, very seldom have you invited them over. Now you will have no excuse.”
“But” Adam began to protest.
“No buts. You worked your butt off in school and graduated top of your class, Mr. Valedictorian.” Ms. Adkins raised her eyebrows. She knew he did well in school, but not that well. Her confidence in Kyle and Jay as foster parents went up a few notches. She felt completely justified in her choice of them as a foster family for Janita. “Consider this the rest of your graduation present. When we go furniture shopping for Janita, we’ll get you some living room furniture, a dining room table and chairs as well. We’ll also get you a two-burner hot plate, cookware, dishes, silverware and glassware.” Adam started to protest, but one look from Kyle stifled whatever protest had formed in his mind.
“Ms. Adkins, do our plans for Adam’s apartment meet with your approval? He’ll still be living under our roof, just in a bigger space.”
“They do indeed. I wish all of my clients were as lucky as Adam and Janita obviously are. Well, we’ll leave you to hash out whatever details need to be discussed. Good evening, gentlemen. We’ll show ourselves out.”
“Wouldn’t you ladies like to stay for dinner? Not knowing what you food preferences were, or if you had any special dietary needs or restrictions, I didn’t know what to prepare, so I ordered a couple of pizzas, which should be here any time now.”
“That’s unfortunate, because Kyle’s quite the Kitchen Witch.”
“Kitchen Witch?” Ms. Adkins asked.
“A Kitchen Witch is someone who can grab a whole bunch of seemingly random ingredients and make a five-star gourmet meal out of them.” Jay explained.
“K-dad’s an expert at it. He should have his own show on the Food Network. Wait until you taste his spaghetti or his lasagna. They’re to die for.” Adam chimed in.
“K-dad?” Janita asked.
“K-dad” Kyle pointed at himself “and J-dad” he pointed to Jay “are nicknames we came up with so we would know who Adam was talking to if we were both in the same room. We would both be honored if you would refer to us that way also.”
“So, Mr. Matthews-Williams, I take it that you like to cook?” Ms. Adkins asked.
“Please call me Kyle. I love to cook. Jay’s a pretty good cook too.”
“When you let me.” Jay retorted.
The doorbell rang, announcing the arrival of the pizzas. As Jay went to get them, Kyle started setting the table. Everyone grabbed their slices and sat down to eat. Janita warily took the smallest slice she could find and went and sat in the corner on the floor. “Janita, what in hell are you doing?” Adam demanded before anyone else could speak up.
She immediately put her plate down and cowered. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to break the rules. Did I take too much pizza? I’ll put the rest back. I only ate two bites.”
Everyone exchanged looks of shock. Kyle and Jay began to wonder exactly what her home life had been like. Just then they heard the side door open and close. “Anyone home?” Kelly asked, entering the room and taking in the scene.
Adam knelt beside the obviously terrified girl. “Janita, that’s not the way things are done here. Everyone sits at the table and eats their fill. There’s more than enough pizza for you to have six slices if you want. Please, come and sit at the table with the rest of us.”
“I can’t. That’s not allowed.” She asked in a trembling voice.
Kelly, having noticed the Child Protective Services insignia on the side of the car parked in the driveway, was quick to grasp the situation and knelt down beside Janita and Adam. “Janita, I know you’ve had a terrible life, but this family is very different. They’re warm, kind, loving and way beyond generous. You don’t have to abide by Adolf and Eva’s Gestapo rules anymore. You’re no longer living under their roof. You have to abide by the rules of this house, one of which is that no one eats in a corner on the floor. Another is that everyone eats as much as they want to, or at least until they’re full and can’t eat another bite.”
“Kelly’s right. Not even when I misbehaved growing up did I have to be in the corner. Come, join us at the table. Your pizza’s getting cold. I’ll nuke it for you, or if you’d rather, I’ll throw it out and get you another slice.” Adam said gently.
Janita’s eyes grew wider and wider as he spoke and gradually filled with tears that eventually overflowed. She grabbed and clung to Kelly as if she were a life preserver. Kelly let her cry herself out while Adam warmed up her pizza and placed it on the table. From the look on the social worker’s face, there was going to be hell to pay at the Conklin residence. There was no way in hell she was going to allow them to get away with abusing Janita like that. Janita was an only child, so she didn’t have to worry about taking any other children into protective custody, which was exactly what she would have done had Janita have any brothers or sisters. When the tears subsided, Kelly gently lifted Janita to her feet and led her to the table where she saw nothing but love and compassion on the faces of everyone there.
Jay began. “Kelly, grab yourself a plate and get some pizza. There’s more than enough.” He shot Kyle a ‘you-over-did-it-again-we’ll-be-eating-pizza-for-a-week’ look. “We’ve been asked to be foster parents for Janita. We can’t wait for her to move in and become part of this family.”
“Oh, Janita, I’m so very happy for you.” Kelly cried out, hugging Janita tightly. “You couldn’t ask for a more wonderful, caring, generous family. Do you remember when I was hospitalized with severe endometriosis and had to have a total hysterectomy? They were there every single day. When my parents were summoned for jury duty, both Kyle and Jayson took leaves of absence from their jobs to help take care of me. My parents, Danielle and I must have put on fifty pounds in one week due to the incredible meals they prepared for us. This is so wonderful. When do you move in?”
“You’re okay with me living here?” She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“Of course I am. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Aren’t you afraid I’d try to take Adam away from you?”
“First of all, I trust both you and Adam completely. Secondly, if you remember correctly, I was the first person you came out to. Even if you weren’t a lesbian, I still wouldn’t have a problem with you living here. I think it’s great. After everything you’ve been though with your parents, you deserve to be part of this family.”
“No, I don’t. I don’t deserve their kindness, and I so don’t deserve their generosity. Would you believe they are planning on remodeling the basement into an apartment for Adam so I could have his room? They want to take me shopping on Saturday for clothes and furniture shopping on Sunday. They even want to get me a fancy cell phone. I wouldn’t even begin to know how to use one. I was never allowed to use a regular telephone. I can’t let them waste all that money on me. I’m not worth it.”
Okay, we have some major self-esteem issues here that are going to need to be dealt with, and quickly. Kyle thought to himself.
“Hey, what happened to the carefree, happy-go-lucky Janita I used to know?” Adam put his arm around her shoulders.
“I know what happened.” Kelly answered him. “Those Bible-thumping, ultra-right-wing conservative, no-good f-ing hypocrites that brought her into this world, then dumped her when they found out she was different!” She ranted, drawing shocked looks from Adam, Kyle and Jay, who had never heard her utter an unkind word towards anyone, let alone slam anyone so vehemently.
Kyle got up and went to her, kneeling and taking her hands in his. “It’s all over, Janita, or at least it will be in a couple of weeks when you move in. Please understand, we’re not at all like your parents. We accept you for who you are. We already love you and are proud to call you our daughter. If we could, we’d adopt you on the spot.” He shot the social worker a wistful look. “We’re going to give you the life we feel that you deserve, one that’s full of fun, happiness, laughter, music, and good times, if you’ll let us.” His words undid her completely. As she broke down into hysterics Kyle gently lifted her to her feet and pulled her into his arms, motioning Jay to join him. They held tightly to the hysterical girl, both whispering words of love and comfort. Ms. Adkins started to object, but was silenced by both Adam and Kelly shaking their heads.
Well, I picked them to be her foster family. I have to start trusting them to take care of her emotional well-being as well as her physical well-being. Being a school teacher, Kyle is equipped to help her initially. I’ll have to follow up in case formal counseling is required. Wait until I get my hands on her parents. HOW DARE THEY TREAT THEIR ONLY CHILD LIKE A PIECE OF TRASH! She glanced at her watch. Damn! I have to get her back to the shelter in fifteen minutes or they won’t let her in. I wish I could just leave her here, but I can’t. Not until the living arrangements are settled and the paperwork is completed. There must be a way to expedite everything. “I’m sorry, everyone, but I have to get Janita back to the shelter immediately or they won’t let her in. Believe me when I say that I’d like nothing more than to leave her here with you, but I can’t until everything is squared away. I’m going to do everything I can to expedite matters. Thank you for opening your home to us and sharing your meal with us. We’ll talk again very soon. Goodnight everyone.”
Reluctantly Janita, Kyle and Jay separated. “We look forward to this weekend. Please make a list of everything you need in the line of clothing and accessories, personal hygiene products, music, wall colors and the type of furniture you would like. Do you need an alarm clock? What about a TV and a boom box or an iPod?” Janita just stared at Jay, dumbfounded. “Ms. Adkins, what do we need to do in order to take Janita shopping with us this weekend?”
“Nothing. Since she’s sixteen, she can come and go as she pleases during the day. She just needs to be back at the shelter by eight pm.” She walked over to Janita and placed her hand on Janita’s cheek. “It won’t be much longer, my dear. Hang in there for just a little while longer. On the drive back to the shelter Janita was quiet and withdrawn. “What’s on your mind?” Ms. Adkins asked, stealing a quick glance at her charge.
Janita shook her head. “I can’t believe it. It’s like a dream. How could they possibly care about someone they don’t even know?”
“Some people are just that way. Don’t forget they adopted Adam. Originally he was found in a dumpster outside County General when he was a baby. They adopted him when he was five. They fought the system tooth and nail for over two years until they finally found a judge that would allow a gay couple to adopt. It cost them thousands of dollars in lawyer fees. I’m totally not surprised at the lengths they’re going to in order to make you a part of their family.”
“That’s another thing I don’t understand. I’m black. They’re white. How could they possibly consider taking me in?”
“That’s your parents talking. They wouldn’t care if you were purple with pink polka-dots. They see you as a person with two arms, two legs, a torso and a head, just like them. They’re color-blind when it comes to skin color. I know it’s going to be hard, at first, to shake of your parent’s conditioning, but with their help, you will succeed. Give them a chance. Remember how Adam and the other girl…”
“Kelly” Janita supplied the social worker with her name.
“Kelly reacted when they found out you were moving in. As I recall, Adam referred to you as ‘Pipsqueak’”.
“That’s because of the differences in our heights He’s six-foot-two and I’m five-foot-five.” She responded, giggling.
“That’s better. Well, we’re here.” Ms. Adkins said as she put the car in park. “It’s just a few more days. I’m going to do everything I can to expedite the process and get you out of here and into your new home. Goodnight, Janita.”
“Good night, Ms. Adkins, and thank you for what you are doing for me. I appreciate it.” She got out of the car and wandered into the shelter, not daring to get her hopes up, considering how many times she went down the same road over the past several months.
Meanwhile, in the Matthews-Williams house, the Kyle and Jay went upstairs to Adam’s room. Kyle opened Adam’s small closet. “This closet will be way too small for her. Any ideas?”
“Yeah, we can knock out this wall” Jay indicated the wall that was shared with the attic over the garage “and create a walk-in closet and bathroom for her. We don’t use even half of the space in the garage attic. The current closet we can turn into a study area.”
“I like that idea. We need to add a desk, chair, lamp and computer to the list.”
“You’re going to spoil her rotten, aren’t you?”
“We need to make up for what she has been going through with those ass-wipe parents.
“We will, baby, we will.”