Since I had been warned by Roger of the legal troubles I could be in, my first thought was to call him and let him know. I knew all this would do is bring the police and social services to my apartment ASAP and have Steven nonchalantly escorted, once again, from my life. As I looked in on him, I saw a peaceful Steven with a smile on his face. I decided right then to leave it until morning. I knew it was, once again, going to be a difficult separation.
Sleep was off and on all night. About 3:30 am I finally managed to drift into a deep slumber. I awoke about 5:00 am to a rather hefty kick in my leg. Although not painful, it was certainly hard. When I looked about, I found that Steven had crawled into bed with me and taken my hand and placed it around him. He was sleeping soundly so I could only guess that it was an involuntary movement on his part. I pulled him closer to me and returned to my deep sleep.
The sun was up and shining in the room when I awoke, as before, with Steven standing in front of me looking at me. I noticed that he had on the pajamas I had bought for him, so I guessed he brought his clothes with him. I sat up and lifted my feet over the side of the bed. In what was becoming semi-ritualized, he ran forward and lunged at me giving me a big hug. He then looked me in the eye and said, "Good morning daddy." I decided then that everything was alright, so I just smiled and returned the greeting and a big hug. We talked for a while about all sorts of things except the reason he was here and how it had happened. For some reason that never came up. I did know how he got in as he had seen me use the hidden key I kept outside.
About 20 minutes later I told him to go have a shower, get dressed and prepare for breakfast. That brought a big smile to his face and for the first time, he kissed me on the cheek and ran to his room. It dawned on me he did not know how to use the shower so I walked in as he was staring at it. I took the time to show him which direction was the hot water and how to make sure it was not too hot before he stepped in. I also showed him where the soap and shampoo were. He was in and through the shower when I caught up with him in the kitchen.
I made him some scrambled eggs, sausages, toast and jam, orange juice and milk for breakfast. He ate like he had not eaten in the last three days. When we were finished, we both cleaned up the kitchen and headed for the living room to have a chat. This was something I was not looking forward to.
I first asked him where he had been for the last three days. I indicated that I knew when he had left the group home. Answers were a little sketchy and not always coherent, but it seems like he is an expert at escaping out of windows and doors. I was not able to find out where he was hiding all this time. I did find out that he had eaten only scraps he could find in the garbage. This made me cringe.
Next, I told him what I had to do. This brought a frown to his face and once again he asked me why I did not want to keep him. While I tried to explain that it was not a matter of me wanting him, but rather the fact that I was not related to him, all he did was nod his head. I knew he did not understand any of this. It was time to make the call. First I sent Steven off to finish getting ready for the day and brush his teeth.
It took less that 15 minutes for social services and the city police to show up at my door. I was amazed how efficient they can really be – drats, was what I was really thinking. After giving my report to the officer, once again I watched as Steven was dragged unwillingly back to the group home. This time I noticed that he left kicking and screaming to really let everyone know what he thought about this situation. I was thinking, "Good for you – stick it to the man!" Of course, nothing changed from before.
That afternoon, I would take another drive by Steven's home to see if his mom was home. Once again, this time after I knocked on the door, still no one answered. I was really getting frustrated. Then it dawned on me that perhaps she had been picked up for something. I got in touch with Roger and asked him if a lady with the last name of Free had been picked up in the last couple of days. He told me that he would look into it and get back to me.
I went home and remembered the papers that Mac Redmann had handed me. She had told me that one set was an application to become a foster parent. I read through all that was needed and started to fill them out. I made a mental note to contact Mac and go through them with her just to make sure that everything had been done correctly. I know that being a single male was going to make it difficult, but I was up to the task and ready for the fight.
Later that afternoon I got a call from Roger that no one with the last name of Free had been picked up over the last 7 days or was currently in custody. I also learned, not too surprisingly, that there was an Evelyn Free who was known to the police from a string of misdemeanors and run-ins with the Calgary Police Service. Some drug related offenses, petty larceny and of course a few complaints of poor parenting. After I hung up, I started to roll this information around in my head wondering just where she was. As far as I could tell, it had been 8-9 days since Steven had last seen his mother. I called the morgue to see if she might have ended up there. I was very relieved to find out she was not there. I could only imagine the problems if his mom was found dead, and besides, I had this plan that required her very much alive.
It was late in the afternoon now and I had to get ready for my shift at the pool. Secretly I was hoping that Steven would once again show up. In reality, I was hoping that he was finally settling down with something more organized and direct in his life. Only time would tell.