Wednesday, August 22, 2012

All For Nothing

The phone rang in the middle of the night. The father swore and fumbled for his cell phone and glasses. The mother sat up in bed and rubbed her face.
"Who died?" The mother said.
"Someone better have died calling at this hour," The father said. He picked up the call.
"Hi, I am so sorry to be calling this late. It's your adoptive worker through the county. I know you're not a foster home but we kind of have a situation here. Two boys, a baby and a one year old, just came to us and need placement. We are overrun with children at the moment and don't have enough foster placement options available. Would you be willing to take these two boys?"
The father turned to confer with the mother. Before he was finished with his first sentence she was out of bed and getting dressed. He loved her more for it.
They drove to the social services office. There they were handed two baby boys.
"We tried to clean them up a little," The social services worker said. The boys were filthy. Long unkempt hair snarled and matted the one-year-old's head. The baby skin was an unhealthy white. His body was lean and weak. The father turned him over in his arms and ran a finger over the flat back of the babies head. The hair was missing in a wide circle.
"I don't think they let him out of his bouncer much," The social worker said.
"That's putting it kindly," The father said, "What do we do now?"
"You take them home," The social worker said, "I will be calling you tomorrow to set up a home visit and go over your responsibilities for supervised visits with the biological family. Do you have car seats?"
The father and mother shook their heads no.
"The seats the children came here with are in pretty rough shape," The social worker said, "I can lend you some from our office, but you have to bring them back tomorrow. We don't have any more."
The father and mother took the children home.

Over the next several months the children's health improved. The hair grew in on the back of the babies head and it formed better to a proper shape. When the baby first entered the home his crying was soft and with disinterest. The father said it was because the baby didn't think anyone gave a shit. The mother told the father not to swear in front of the baby. Now the child squalled with fury. His screams sounded beautiful to the mother and father. The screams meant "I exist! I have worth!" The father said he liked the child better when he wouldn't cry. The mother scolded him.
The one-year-old began to babble instead of scream. He still panicked whenever he saw food and grabbed as much as he could get his hands on. In company, he went from lap to lap pointing and screeching for whatever the person was eating. The father said it was probably the only way the kid used to get any food was to beg it off whomever was eating. The mother agreed.

The children had their visits with the biological family. The mother and father could only watch as they fed the children soda, ice cream by the ton, candy and worst of all - apple juice.
"Please don't give him apple juice," The mother would say, "It hurts his stomach and give him a rash that bleeds. His skin is so fair."
The biological family gave him juice anyway.
The baby cried. The biological family called him fat and spoiled. They told him he was rotten.
The one-year-old would be so up from the visit that he would scream and scream in the car all the way home, through the evening and into the night. The baby would be so overwhelmed that he would just fall asleep until the visit was over.

The father and mother lost sleep. The children were never on a regular schedule. Visits were held during nap times. The children were handed back from day-long unsupervised visits with words of - "The kids didn't sleep all day. Only little cat naps." The children would scream through the night.

The Mother and Father prayed that the children would stay with them. They could make them a good home. They would be good parents to them. They wouldn't hurt them. They prayed for it every night.

It wasn't an easy way to live. The Mother and Father's marriage suffered from the emotional roller coaster their lives had become. Their finances strained. Their lives seemed not their own; run by court dates and supervised visitation.

Ten months passed, then twenty. The children grew up strong in the father's and mother's home. The court hearing for permanency placement arrived. The children's biological mother and father didn't follow the courts steps on how they would get their children back. The father and mother went to court looking for a miracle. Two miracles. They didn't get it.

"The children are to be reprimanded to the custody of the maternal grandmother," The judge said.
The father's heart broke. The mother's heart broke.
The boys were taken away by the social worker. The children were going back to the home they were taken away from. A trailer which already housed five people. The boys would make seven.
"Why did we care for them only to have them be taken back to where they were abused?" The father said.
The mother didn't answer.
"You know they are just going to hurt them again. What the fuck is the point to all this?" The father said.
The mother didn't answer. She started to cry.
"These boys were with us for twenty months," The father said, "That means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Especially with them being so young. We did nothing. A week of starving and slaps back in that fucking trailer will ruin twenty months of our love here. Fucking pointless!" The father shook with rage, then sat down by his wife and they both cried.

Years passed. At first the mother and father thought of those boys every day. After awhile those times where the children passed their minds stretched to weeks, then months. Now the mother and father were old and memories of the children came as sad, unexpected surprises. It reminded them that a person cannot forget anything about their lives, everything eventually churns to the surface sometimes.

The father died. He entered heaven, greeted friends and family long passed on. Every once and awhile the father would spend some time with Jesus.
"Hi," the father said, "I'm the guy that slapped you five on the way in. Bet that doesn't happen too often to you."
"More often than you think," Jesus said, "What do you want?"
"How are my sons?" The father asked.
"They are okay," Jesus said, "They are on Earth."

The mother died. She entered heaven, greeted friends and family long passed on. Every once and awhile the mother would spend some time with Jesus.
"Hi," the mother said, "I'm the wife of the guy who bothers you all the time."
"You long suffering woman," Jesus smiled, "What do you want?"
"How are my sons?" The mother asked.
"They are okay," Jesus said, "They are on Earth."

Time passed. The father wasn't sure how much, but it felt like a lot. He went and talked to Jesus.
"Hi," The father said.
"Hi," Jesus said.
"I feel like I've been here awhile," The father said.
"Make yourself comfortable," Jesus said.
"How are my sons?" The father asked.
Jesus frowned and looked at the father with heavy, sad eyes.
"Where are my sons?" The father said. "Where are they Jesus?"
Jesus began to speak but then stopped. The father stared hard at Jesus then, in fury, ran to where God was. The father came to the place. He looked at God and was so filled with awe, love and understanding that it took all his will power to tear himself away.
He found Jesus behind him.
"Nothing," The father wailed, "It was all for nothing."
 The father found out that even though Jesus wipes away every tear in heaven, it doesn't mean that we won't cry.

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