The Forgotten Child

“That poor little boy across the street…” she began telling her husband, as he walked in the front door that night.

“Why? What happened?!” he asked, removing his scarf and coat.

“His mom abandoned him and her parents to run off to Pennsylvania with her new boyfriend.”

“What? I thought she was married…” her husband exclaimed.

“What we saw from across the street, hon, was not the truth of Katie’s situation at all,” she began to tell him, sitting down at the kitchen table. “Katie and her little boy, Jerry, were living with her parents… our landlord told me she moved in with them shortly after Katie’s ex-husband abandoned her and Jerry.”

“And now she is abandoning him by running off with this new guy? Hmmm, that’s not too cool. So, where does this leave little Jerry?” he asked, plopping his body into a chair across from her.

“Most likely he’ll be put into a foster home since the grandparents couldn’t care for him… Let’s pray and hope that Jerry doesn’t have to go into a foster home; that his grandparents change their minds about taking care of him and don’t feel they’re too old to do so.”

“Yes, let’s pray and wait and see, baby girl. We could inquire about adopting little Jerry, if and when the situation calls for it. First, speak with his grandparents, see what they’re going to do,” her husband said, gazing at her lovingly.

“The only thing is our lifestyle is not conducive to having a child living with us, sweetheart.” she said, sighing.

“I know but we shall see what develops. All we can do for now is pray that Jerry does get cared for by either his grandparents or another couple…”

She began praying: “Dear God, I’m praying today for that scared little boy, Jerry, and his family who live across the street from us. Even though I was always jealous of the attention Jerry’s mom payed to my darling hubby, I always had lots of affection for the little boy … poor kid, now his mom abandoned him after she herself was abandoned. Please take good care of little Jerry and give Katie’s parents the strength and courage to also take good care of Jerry. Amen.”

She ended her prayer by making the sign of the cross, and said to her husband, “Actually, sweetheart, I was told by our landlord that the police took Jerry to the Medical Center because some neighbors reported Katie was neglecting him…they had noticed he wasn’t being very well-cared for, the house was beginning to fall down around them, and the weeds were so overgrown it was an eye sore and a health risk to all. Katie didn’t seem to care or she and her parents didn’t have the money; don’t know which it was.”

“Then there were signs of abuse to the boy, too?” her husband asked.

“Not sure about abuse, just neglect. But the neighbors felt since Katie ran off with her new boyfriend, maybe the grandparents weren’t able to care for little Jerry and called the police themselves. The neighbors who called 9-1-1 said that two 9-1-1 calls had gone into the police station; one was from the grandparents themselves, the other from that neighbor. I’m sorry, sweetheart, but that’s all I myself know and I got this info from our landlord earlier this morning. I’m not even sure she knows all that really happened across the street.”

“In any case, I’ve been sitting here all day thinking of a way to help little Jerry. Maybe as soon as they discharge him from the hospital, we can inquire as to who will be taking care of him. Would it be possible to put him in our home – even though I’d rather adopt him, we could be his foster parents until they find another home for him, if the grandparents aren’t going to retain custody of the little boy?” she asked, sitting back down at the table and taking a sip of her hot coffee.

“Baby girl, you know our lifestyle is definitely not suitable for a kid…” he began, gruffly getting up, almost knocking over his coffee in the process. He began to pace the kitchen, said, “Especially not for a three-year-old boy!”

“I know,” she agreed, solemly. “Now I feel as if our hands are tied… I want to help Jerry, but don’t know how we can or what to do.”

When she had realized the good Lord wasn’t blessing them with any biological children of their own, she figured she could give all the love she had to give to children of the world who needed help. But, as her husband said, the truth of the matter was that they were both in their late-40’s and only had two cats to take care of, which left them able to come and go as they pleased. This is what made it so hard… they both knew there was no way the courts would even consider them as foster parents or adoptive parents because of their age, never mind the fact they had never taken care of a 3-year-old before, and were used to coming and going as they pleased.

“What a shame,” she sighed again, “It’s not fair, I tell you!”

“I know, baby girl,” he said, getting up from his chair and putting his arms around her.

As she fell into his embrace, she was remembering what he and her mother had told her numerous times – that charity began at home – she hated to admit it but they were both right. Besides sponsoring a Guatemalan child years ago, the only other charity she had done was for her sister and her sister’s two daughters… whene her sister’s ex-husband walked out on her and their two girls shortly after Thanksgiving one year, she began to help her sister out whenever she could by babysitting as much as she possibly could so her sister could go out with friends on occasion, and she would often help her nieces’ with their homework right after shcool or, when the girls were little, read them bedtime stories until they fell asleep so that her sister had some free time to herself.

Another thought that kept going through her mind was, “That poor little Jerry… now he has no family to speak of. His mom abandoned him, along with her own parents to run off with her new boyfriend, and I do not understand how or why a mother would abandon their own child!”

“Go make the call, baby girl, I’m in your corner,” her husband said, patting her on the back. Almost as if he had heard her thoughts. He disentangled them from their embrace and went to sit back down while she walked over to the wall telephone.

Picking up the receiver, and with a smile on her face, she dialed the Medical Center where the landlord had told her the police took little Jerry. She figured she would just inquire at the hospital as to how the little boy was doing and find out what was going to happen to him. Also to find out about foster parenting Jerry if the grandparents couldn’t take care of him.

The hospital receptionist answered, and she said, “I would like to inquire about a little boy named Jerry. How is he doing? And how can a couple go about either foster parenting the boy or adopting him… he was brought in for observation after being neglected by his mother and grandparents…”

Copyright January 2006 by Rosanne Catalano (a.k.a. R.C.Kayla)
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief and Writer/Author
Publisher: “The Cat’s Meow for Writers & Readers Ezine” (A Progressive Online Magazine)
Author: “Touch of Tomorrow – In Loving Memory” (book of poetry) and numerous short stories, poetry and articles published online and in print.

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