I went to get dressed for the day, planning on going to the office. “Boys, I’m going to my office today. Pete, you have my phone number, call me if you have any problems. Keep the doors locked, I’ll be home for lunch.”
I hugged each boy and left. I needed to see Lenny and then catch up on my work. I called Lenny and asked that he meets me at my home for lunch, then I tried to concentrate on my work. I found it difficult, my mind kept drifting. All I could think of what is Pete going to do. I recognized that he had grown up faster than his age would indicate. Responsibility tends to age a person, or at least makes a person have to think as an adult. The problem, without the experience and involvement with older people, sometimes the decisions made are not in the best interest of the individual. Pete was a smart kid who had to grow up fast, I wanted him to have time to catch up, enjoy being a teenager. Develop friends his age, smile, and laugh more. I knew that would not happen if he was in the system.
As much as I was concerned about the boys, I had work to do. Focusing on the markets in Japan and Germany, I got lost in my work.
“Are we going to lunch or not?”
I looked up and there was Lenny. I looked at my watch and it was 12:30. “I got wrapped up in my work, lost track of time. We can go now.”
“Before we go, take a look at this.”
I opened the envelope and it was a check for 100,000 thousand dollars. “Where did this money come from?”
“It is the insurance payout on Pete’s parents' death. Joey’s mother didn’t have any insurance.”
“I’ll ask Pete what he wants to be done with this. I won’t mention anything about Joey’s mother. If I guess right, Pete will think it covers both parents. Anything on the farm?”
“Still working on that. You need to decide guardian or adoption.”
“I told Pete he needed to decide today. Joey wants to be adopted.”
Leaving my office, I asked Beth to call the local deli and pick up two specials and two hamburgers with the works.
By the time I closed up my office and picked up the food, it was close to 1 when we arrived home. I was afraid the boys had already eaten. They had and when I gave them the hamburgers, they smiled.
While we were eating, “Boys, Mr. Alderson has received the money from the insurance company. What would you like to do with it, we could put it into a savings account to cover your college costs or we can invest it in stocks and bonds.”
“How much was it?”
“It was 100,000 dollars.”
I looked at Pete, he was thinking. “Could we do both?”
“Yes, we could. What did you have in mind?”
“I was thinking half in the bank and half for investments.”
“That is doable. Lenny, what do you think?”
“The bank will be a safe investment but the interest you’ll earn will be less if you invest with an investment firm.”
“Jim, you could invest that money for us.”
“Yes, I could but there is a critical matter we need to settle first.”
“Guardianship or adoption, to protect your investment.”
“Peter, you don’t want the Children’s Welfare Agency to be in charge of the investment of your money.”
“Why not, Mr. Alderson?”
“They would put it in a trust you couldn’t touch until you were twenty-one.”
“Pete, think about it. You don’t have to make that decision now. You have a more important decision to make.”
“What about grandfather’s farm?”
“I expect to be in court next week. Would you want that farm or the money?”
I looked at Pete, he was feeling the pressure of all these decisions. I saw confusion, pressure, and indecision.
We finished lunch, I told Lenny I’ll contact him later this afternoon but he’ll have an answer before morning. While cleaning up after lunch, Pete asked if we could talk. I fixed myself and Pete a cup of coffee. Only mine was coffee and his was half and half. “Let’s go to our office.”
We sat on the sofa in my office, I was in the middle with a boy on each side of me. Joey snuggles under my arm, Pete sat beside me, but no snuggles. “Joey and I talked this morning. Joey wants to be adopted. I’m not sure what I want, I like how things are right now. What would happen if something happened to you?”
“In Joey’s case, I would name a guardian for him in my will.”
“In my case, if we go along like we are?”
“Child’s service would take you until you are 18. If you are 18, then you would be on your own.”
“Could you appoint a guardian for me as well?”
“Yes, but Child Services would have to approve. Pete, the only way you can stay away from Child Services is if I adopt you. Then my word means something in court. Otherwise, Child Services will get involved.”
“What is the problem with Child Services?”
“The problem isn’t with the idea of what they are trying to do. The problem is having enough resources to do the job right. Kids fall through the cracks and get lost. It’s a case of a few people and short funds.”
“If Joey wants to be adopted and I want you to be my guardian, would that work?”
“Yes, until something happened to me. Pete, I think I know what you are afraid of. You have been with me now for several weeks, you should know me now.”
“I don’t want to give up my freedom.”
“What freedom do you have? If you go back and live in your shack, that wouldn’t be freedom. You remember the men, that could happen again. I guess I just don’t want to see you get hurt or being abused because of your age. I want you to grow up to be a good man, an educated man who can stand on his own and not have to rely on someone else.”
“Pete, let’s be adopted. I want to be adopted.”
“You can be adopted Joey if that is what you want.”
“I want you to be my real brother.” I looked at Pete, that was the turning remark. I could tell in Pete’s eyes that Joey had reached him.
“Ok, Joey we will the adopted.”
This was like Christmas for me.
“Pete, I have Mr. Alderson on the phone. Do you want to tell him?”
Pete took the phone, “Mr. Alderson we have decided that we want Jim for our dad.”
“Yes, sir, I’m sure. He wants to talk to you.”
“Yes, Lenny, no Lenny, I did not threaten him. Why don’t you come to dinner tomorrow night and bring your notary? Yes, 6 pm will be fine.”
Walking into the living room, Mr. Alderson will be here tomorrow for dinner. Think about what questions you may have, you’ll have the chance to ask him tomorrow night.”
Now I had to think about what to serve. But I didn’t have to think alone, “Boys, what should we have for dinner tomorrow night?”
“Grandmother on special occasions made a beef roast with mashed potatoes. That was good right Pete?”