When the day arrived, Cody and I drove to Mrs. Benish’s office in Pittsburgh. Entering the offices of Child Services, we were told Mrs. Benish was expecting us. The receptionist took us to a small conference room. Mrs. Benish came in and I introduced her to Cody.
“Mr. Bradley I have Miss Brown’s report. Evidently she thought you would be a perfect foster parent for the right child. It’s very difficult to find homes for older children. I have the records of two boys, brothers, who parents have deserted them. They are 12 and 14 years old. Based on the report that Miss Brown sent, she thinks that you could accommodate both boys in your home. I have the files of the boys which I want you to read before answering the ultimate question.”
She left the files for us to read but I knew from the start Cody would accept the boys without reading the file. However, I wanted to know a little about the boys before I said yes. Reading the files, the oldest named James had more or less taken care of his younger brother, Nelson.
From the files, the boys did very well in school and appeared to be well liked. Teacher’s reports indicate that they were polite and were good students. The reason for the abandonment by their parents was not in the report. There were pictures of the boys, you could tell they were brothers.
After ½ hour, Mrs. Benish returned. “Have you had a chance to read the report?”
Before I could answer; “Yes, when may we take the boys home?”I looked at Cody he had a big smile.
“Would like to meet the boys?”
Again Cody took the lead, “Yes, we would.”
Mrs. Benish smiled. “I thought so.”She left us and I looked at Cody. He just realized that I hadn’t said anything. I could see the shock in his eyes.
“It’s ok Cody, I would have said the same thing.” I could see the relief come over his face as he gave me a smile and a squeeze of my hand.
Mrs. Benish returned with two boys in tow. She introduced them to us, “I’ll let you alone to get to know each other.”
Cody had a big smile on his face and jumped right in, “Do you guys like to fish?” That seemed to break the ice and then I had to listen to the three of them discuss fishing. When Cody told them we lived on the Clarion River and could fish all the time, they looked at each other and their smiles grew larger, if possible.
Mrs. Benish returned and saw the smiles and heard the discussion going on. She signaled me to accommodate her to her office. “There are some forms you need to sign. I have their personal belongings and school records.”
“If their parents have abandoned them, is there anything of value that they would be entitled to that currently is tied up.”
“No, they lived in a furnished apartment. When they didn’t pay their rent, the landlord notified the police and that is how we found the boys. I’ll make a copy of these papers for you and then I’ll get their personal belongings. I suggest you take them to lunch as they didn’t have much of a breakfast.”
While Mrs. Benish made the copies and got their personal things together, I returned to the conference room. Cody looked at me and nodded yes. “Well guys it looks like we're ready to go home. Do you have your personal stuff?”
“There is one thing I want to know before we leave, I consider this a two way deal. It’s obvious Cody and I want you to come and live with us, but I want to know if you want to come and live with us.”
The two brothers looked at each other for a few minutes, “Yes sir, Nels and I would like to go and live with you and Cody.” Obviously Cody had given them his name while I was out of the room.
Mrs. Benish brought the copies of the papers for me and gave a rather large suitcase to each of the boys. I thanked Mrs. Benish, Cody took the suitcases and we left the office of Child Services as a family. Cody put the luggage in the trunk of the car, the boys got in the back seat and we were on our way home. “I’m going to stop at a restaurant in Greentree where I ate one time when I was here to see my architect. I’m assuming you are all hungry?”
Cody looked at me like I was crazy asking a 12 and 14 year old boys if they were hungry. I knew Cody was hungry, he hadn’t eaten much waiting for the news from Child Services. We stopped at one of the national chains, I ordered a light lunch but after Cody encouraged the boys to order what they wanted, the table was pretty well loaded with food.
The drive home was interesting as I listened to Cody and the boys talking about fishing again, and then what kind of home we had, could they sleep together or must they have separate rooms. From the way the question was asked it was obvious they slept in the same room at their old apartment. They had a lot of questions about school, did we have pets, and are there kids in our neighborhood their age. When we were coming down the road toward the Clarion River, Cody pointed out our house. Everything in the car became quiet. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the boys staring at the house. When I pulled into the driveway and then stopped the car at the garage, “Welcome home boys.”
Cody got out of the car, opening the trunk, he took out their luggage. “Follow me.” Opening the garage door, he led them to the bedroom next to ours. When the boys saw the room, they smiled and walked over to the window. Seeing the balcony, they opened the door and walked out. Then they spotted the hot tub. “Can we use the hot tub?” Cody nodded yes. Their smiles grew larger.
Watching them I wonder what kind of home life they had, they were too happy.Most kids being uprooted from their family would feel some loss. But these two didn’t show such a feeling of losing their parents. Then I heard the motor bike. “Looks like we’re about to have company.”
Going downstairs we met Andy as he entered through the kitchen door. He looked at the kids, “Andy this is James and Nelson. They’ll be staying here and need to go fishing this weekend. What do you say?”
“Yea, that would be great. Do you guys have a fishing pole?”
“Not yet, but we’ll get them one when we go shopping tomorrow. Andy, I’ll need to get them enrolled in school. Maybe you’d like to go with us when I do that.”
Andy did accompany Cody as he took the boys to enroll in school. Not only did Andy take a role in showing the boys around, he introduced them to his friends. Cody was proud to see Andy so receptive of the boys. He was afraid that Andy would feel left out and Cody didn’t want that to happen. He enjoyed having Andy around and now we wanted him to be the boys’ best friend. If that could happen, he would be very happy. It appeared that Andy was well on his way to being their friend.