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The phone woke me up from a very sound sleep.  The previous day with Steven had worn me out and sleep was no problem.  Mac was checking to see if I was still planning on going through with the parental rights assignment of Steven.  She had talked with Evelyn and found her to be lacking in many departments so, as long as a judge approved, then it should just be a formal matter of a hearing and ruling by a judge.  She did remind me that it could be a rocky hearing since this was as far away from the norm as it could get.  At this point, I was resolute in my actions to give Steven a fighting chance at life.

When Evelyn arrived to drop Steven off, I wanted to have a chat with her about all of this since there were still many questions in my mind that had remained unanswered, the biggest of all being, why she would want this.  I sent Steven off to get washed and cleaned up while Evelyn and I had a chat.  That is when all the lights finally came on.  In a quiet and subdued voice, Evelyn told me she was dying of AIDS and had not told Steven about this.  He simply knew she was sick.  When I asked her how long she had, she was very evasive and never did answer the question.  It did however, let me know why all of this was coming so easily for her.  She wanted Steven in a safe and loving environment where he could grow up to be a great man of his own accord.

At the end of this she got up and left.  My mind was working overtime from this information and how hard these decisions of hers had to be.  My revelry was broken by Steven coming back from his bath with comb in hand asking if I could show him how to do this.  We stood in front of the mirror and I showed him how to comb his hair, so it looked neat and tidy.

The rest of the day went without incident and by dinner we were both exhausted and tired.  After changing into his pajamas, we cuddled up to watch TV, but it was only about 20 minutes before I could feel the smooth steady breathing from Steven indicating he was already asleep.  I took him to his bedroom, tucked him in and kissed him on the forehead before shutting out the light and closing the door.  It was not long after that I was also in my bed sound asleep.

I awoke next morning to the sight of Steven standing beside the bed staring at me.  I said good morning to him just before he lunged at me and piled on top of me.  We had a tickling and hugging match for about a minute before I sent him off to get ready for the day.  I did the same and then we went to the kitchen to have breakfast.  I decided to make French Toast sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Steven was amazed at this and with his glass of milk, finished off at least three slices.  I was glad that he had such a great appetite.  I was still worried about his health since he was so skinny and frail looking.  I thought today would be a good day to get a checkup at the doctor's office so after breakfast I called and made an appointment for later in the morning.

When we arrived at the doctor's office, Steven seemed quite apprehensive to enter.  I asked him what the matter was and, he told me he was afraid of getting shots.  He did not like these as they hurt so much.  We discussed this for about 15 minutes before the nurse called us into the examination room.  Steven was asked to take his clothes off down to his underwear, so I helped him with this and then sat with him on the padded table.  When Dr. Brian Phillips walked in, we greeted each other, and I introduced him to Steven.  I did tell Brian that I had parental permission to have this done as I knew that Brian was aware, I did not have any kids.  

Steven was a trooper as Brian checked all his vitals, measured him, asked him about being sick and then took some blood samples.  There were tears in Steven's eyes, but he did not cry out..  After this was all over, I helped Steven get dressed and a nurse came to take him while I talked with Dr. Brian.

Brian and I had been friends since high school, so he was most interested in the story of Steven and how he ended up with me. I gave him the short version and told him about his mom with AIDS.  Brian asked if it would be okay to add an AIDS check to the tests and I thought it would be a good idea.  The examination did not show anything I was not already aware of.  Steven was underweight, malnourished and showed some growth deficiency. Brian was also worried about Steven's liver and kidneys. He gave me some pamphlets on nutrition and health for young boys on my way out.  I thanked him and told him he would be the first to hear if something came up.  My understanding of medicine was almost non-existent.

I found Steven with the nurse who had come to get him.  She had given him a lollipop for his best behavior when he was having the blood taken.  He was asking her all about the equipment in the office area and how it worked.  In her best, seven-year-old explanation, she answered every question he had.  I thought it was about time to rescue her, so I called out and Steven ran to me to show me that he got a lollipop for being good with the doctor. I lifted him up, hugged him and gave him a kiss on the forehead letting him know I was proud of him and his behavior.

The rest of the day was quite routine but when we got home from the park, the phone was ringing.  Mac Redmann was on the line letting me know that the hearing for appointing parental custody was set for the day after tomorrow at 10:00am.  I asked if she would be there and she agreed it would be a good idea.  I called Evelyn to make sure she knew about it and could make the hearing.  With this taken care of, Steven and I played a game of Crazy Eights before dinner, then watched TV until his mom picked him up. She let me know that tomorrow was her day off, but she was wondering if Steven could still come over as she had some appointments to take care of. I told her it was no problem at all.

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Harold Daw
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