The morning was certainly different since there was no Steven there as I awoke. I sat up with my legs over the side of the bed and brushed my hair back as I thought about my new found friend. I was still a little afraid of the situation since I had never thought about being a father, never mind having a young child thrust into my life like this.
After I had finished breakfast and once again cleaned up the spare bedroom, I remembered the card that Roger had given me. I found my wallet and pulled it out. On it was the name Mac Reddman, Family Attorney. Great I thought, a lawyer. I was never too impressed with lawyers or the entire legal system. While I am sure it worked, it always seemed so clunky and indifferent when I heard about it in books or on the news.
It was 10:00 am so I figured this Mac would be in his office. I called the number and a very pleasant young lady answered, "Paulson, Redmann and Shinto, how may I help you?" I asked for Mac Redmann and she politely asked me to wait one minute while she forwarded my call. When the call was answered, I was very surprised.
"Good morning, Mac Redmann here," a very powerful female voice said. I told her my name and when she asked how she could help me I ran through the last two days with her. I tried to not sound too emotional, but I am sure she already knew this was that kind of a call. What came next was both unpredictable and also reassuring. This Mac Redmann had a way with words that made me feel like I was talking to someone who really cared.
She explained to me that the system, no matter what I thought of it, was set up to protect boys like Steven from a number of possible bad scenarios. She did not elaborate but being well educated I thoroughly understood. She then asked if there was a time today that I could come and meet with her. She told me that any time from 2:00-4:30 this afternoon was open. I told her that I would meet her in her office at 2:30. Before I hung up, I got directions to her office.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. It was the middle of July and since school was out, I did not have to get anything done for my teaching yet. That would come in about a month or so. I decided to go to the track and get a run in before I went to meet Ms. Redmann. It felt good out in the sun to be running and I pushed myself to really get as much of the workout as possible. When I was done, I went in for a shower and then headed out for lunch. I had decided on Riddell's deli since it had really good Bratwurst.
By the time I was done, it was time to make my way to meet Mac Redmann. She was not at all what I was expecting. At about 6'-1" and wearing 3-inch heels, she came across as a very imposing woman. She was a natural blonde with shoulder length hair that was very well manicured. She did not wear much makeup as she was already a very distinguished looking woman. Her steel blue skirt suit was perfectly pressed and all together, she truly was beautiful. With the look of her office and the corporate offices around her, it was also obvious she was very successful.
She asked me to sit down and then proceeded to let me know what the possibilities were. Basically, it boiled down to parental rights. Until these were either willingly given up or taken away legally, there was nothing that could be done for Steven. I did let her know that my interest was in what was best for him but understood the situation. I also asked her if she had ever had parents give up their parental rights willingly. I was not really surprised when she said yes and indicated that it was more common than I would think. We then talked about what I could do while he was in the group home.
I found out that group homes are probably the worst situations for orphans or orphaned children. They are grossly understaffed and underfunded. Mac seemed to relay a mostly negative image of group homes. She said that for the time being, there was nothing else in the system to help these children. It made me sad to hear this, and think of Steven cooped up in one. I wondered how he was fairing.
I then asked if she could get me visitation rights for Steven. Once again, and with the same reasons as before, I was told this was impossible. Not being a blood relative left me with no options for Steven. I told Ms. Redmann that this seemed unfair and improper since there was a person like me willing to assist this poor boy. I also said, that I would bet there were others as well. She did tell me that I could apply to become a foster parent but indicated that since I was single, the chances were not good. I asked her about this and she told me the process and gave me the papers that were needed. I wanted to ask for her assistance but knowing what her fees were, I thought not at this time. Maybe later.
We talked for about another hour and I learned a lot about what was going to happen. Before I left, I paid her bill and then walked to the transit station around the corner.
All the way home, my mind was working through what I had learned and what I still needed to know. One other person I was going to have to stay in touch with was Madeline Small. I was not impressed with her, but I also understood that she was probably snowed under with a huge case load and not enough time in a day to complete everything. It was then that I remembered she said a house inspection would be done. I knew it was far too soon to ask about this, but stored it away as something that I wanted to check on later. I was also still inclined to see Steven while he was in the group home.
That is when it hit me. Steven did tell me he had a mom. Right now, she seemed to be absent in his life, but still, there was a mom out there somewhere. This might be a good starting point, but I had to think about the best way to handle this.
The rest of the day, and the next two days were all a little blurry as I went about my usual routine of playing tennis, riding my bike, and running at the track. Some friends called about a new movie, but I declined. I think they were a little taken back with this answer since I was usually the "movie hound."
When I returned to work at the pool, I actually walked around the trash bins several times secretly hoping Steven would be there. He was nowhere to be found. I could only hope that his group home experience was working out better this time. I quickly found out it was obviously not.
When I walked into the pool, Roger was there standing beside Madeline. When they saw me, I was almost bowled over with a bombardment of questions about Steven. When all the hot steam finally cooled, they told me that Steven had disappeared three days ago from the group home and had not been heard from since. They thought that perhaps he had come back to me. I reported that I had not seen him at all since the last time I escorted him to the police station and social services had taken him away. Finally, Madeline left, and Roger and I had a short chat where he warned me if Steven did show up, I MUST contact him immediately. Now it was much more problematic.
The rest of the night went as usual and when I left the pool, I once again walked around the trash bins and even looked in when I threw in the bags. Steven was definitely not there. Before I went home, I decided to drive by the house where Steven lived to see if his mom was home. Since there were no lights on, I presumed that no one was there so I left as I needed some sleep myself.
I walked into my apartment and noticed that some things were out of place. Nothing specific but certainly not as I had left them. My mind raced as I walked to the spare bedroom to find Steven all curled up and sound asleep on the bed.