"Hate crimes, Special Agent Connolly."
"Hey, Mark, it's Kyle. Is Jayson around?"
"Hey, Kyle. He's out on an investigation. Can I give him a message?"
"Please tell him to call me as soon as he gets a chance."
"Thanks Mark. Have a good one.
"You're welcome, Kyle. You too."
A couple of hours later, Kyle's phone rang. "Hey super-stud!"
"Hey, baby, I got your message. Why didn't you call me on my cell?"
"Mark told me that you were out on an investigation and I didn't want to interrupt you."
"You could have, you know. So what's up?"
Kyle could barely contain his excitement. "I got a call from Ms. Adkins today. Guess what? The anti-adoption law has been repealed!!!!! It took two damned years, but it's gone! Finito! Finished!" He cried, excitedly. "She's submitted the paperwork for us to adopt Janita!"
"Oh, baby, that's incredible news. When will it be official?"
"In two weeks. She's already talked to the judge and the judge agreed to sign off on the adoption. I can't wait to tell Janita! I'm so glad we submitted it when she first came to live with us."
"You were so right when you insisted that we file the paperwork two years ago. So, in two weeks it will be official?"
"She'll officially be our daughter?"
"YES!" Kyle yelled, no longer able to contain his excitement.
"Let's not tell her."
"Huh?" That simple statement took all of the wind out of his sails.
"Kyle, what's coming up in three weeks?"
"I don't know. Oh, wait a minute. Janita's graduation is in three weeks."
"Exactly, and I have an idea." Jay outlined his idea, to which Kyle wholeheartedly, and tearfully, agreed to.
Three weeks later found Kyle and Jayson, this time with Adam and Kelly, sitting in the high school auditorium. As one they rose to their feet when `Pomp and Circumstance' started playing. It had been a long struggle, but once they allowed Janita to help with the household chores she relaxed and adjusted to her new life very quickly. It was not uncommon to come home and find her either talking on her cell phone or surrounded by friends, all of which helped her make up the work she had missed when she dropped out of school. She worked her butt off to get caught up, then continued to work hard in school, earning a 3.71 grade point average, which earned her a scholarship award for the most improved student.
"There she is." Adam pointed her out to everybody. He had turned into the epitome of the awesome big brother and it was difficult to determine who was more excited that day, him, Janita or their fathers. He was deeply devoted to her and loved her dearly as a little sister. He had been beside himself with fury when the anti-adoption bill was signed into law. Luckily he wasn't big on watching the local news so no one but Kyle and Jay knew that the law had been repealed, nor did anyone know of the little surprise they had planned. It was easy to convince to high school principal to agree.
Shortly, all of the speeches were concluded and the graduates were called up to receive their diplomas one by one, in alphabetical order. A look of confusion appeared on many people's faces as the name `Janita Conklin' was skipped over. When Adam whispered something about it to his fathers, he was told `Just wait'.
At last the Principle got to the `M's. Both Kyle and Jay had tears flowing down their cheeks as the both knew what was coming. "Robert Masters." "Julie Masterson." "Terry Matthews." "Janita Matthews-Williams." Janita's mouth dropped open in shock as she heard the name she had longed for since becoming a member of the Matthews-Williams household. Wiping the tears from her face she stood and proudly walked across the stage and accepted her diploma.
After the graduation ceremony, she sought out Kyle and Jayson, giving them both rib-crushing hugs. She held out her diploma which read `Janita Matthews-Williams'. "Does this mean what I think it means?"
"Yes, darling." Jay responded. "Three weeks ago the anti-adoption law was repealed on the grounds that is was unconstitutional. When you first came to live with us, K-dad and I filed the paperwork to legally adopt you, hoping that the law would get repealed."
"The day it was repealed I received a call from your social worker telling us that she pushed the paperwork through. Your adoption became official a week ago. J-dad came up with the idea of not telling either you or Adam. We knew if we told Adam he wouldn't be able to keep it from you, no matter how hard he tried." Kyle gave his son a loving look. "He was so pissed about the law being passed he would have kicked the shit out of the lawmakers."
"Damn straight I would have kicked those self-serving, hypocritical ass-wipes' asses!" Adam vehemently agreed.
"So we met with the Principal and showed him the official name change documentation and asked him to make sure your new name was on your diploma, but to keep it secret. We wanted to surprise you."
It was all over. She would never have to deal with her ex-parents, and she loved how that sounded, ever again. After the two-month long trial that found her father convicted of child abuse, child endangerment, neglect, violating a lawful restraining order and multiple counts of rape, and her mother convicted of child abuse, child endangerment, neglect and accessory to rape, she had been worried about what form of retribution her parents would take. She no longer had to worry about that. She had a family now that loved her and would stop at nothing to protect her. With her family behind her, she could face anything and was finally able to look forward to her future.
"Shall we go home? We have a lot to do to prepare for your graduation party." Once again the Matthews-Williams household was the proud host of a graduation party. When they pulled into the driveway, there was a metallic-purple Subaru parked in the driveway.
"Wow, someone is here way early for the party. I wonder who it is." Adam asked, innocently.
"I didn't know anyone would be coming this early. The party isn't for another four hours. Well, I guess there's only one way to find out." Kyle said with a twinkle in his eye. They all got out of Adam's car.
Jay was fiddling with something in his pocket. "Oh, by the way, Janita, first thing Monday morning you need to take the name change documentation to the DMV and get your license updated."
"Will somebody be able to take me there?" She asked.
"No, K-dad and I will be at work, and Kyle will be at the Academy."
"Then how will I get there? Kelly, would you be able to drive me?"
"No need. You'll be driving yourself." Kyle interjected before Kelly had a chance to respond.
"What? How?" She asked.
Jay pulled his hand out of his pocket and handed Janita a set of keys. He pointed to the car in the driveway. "That's how. That's your car. Happy graduation!"
She started stammering in shock. "You didn't. You couldn't."
"They could and they did. How do you think I got my car? Mine was a graduation present as well." Adam replied.
K-dad spoke up. "Don't even start thinking that you don't deserve it, because you do. You worked your butt off to get caught up and graduated fifth in your class. Congratulations honey. J-dad, Adam, Kelly and I are all very proud of you. So, why don't you three kids go for a drive while we start setting up for the party?"
Eyes brimming with tears, Janita hugged both of her new fathers, then Adam and Kelly. The three of them went for a long drive in Janita's new car.
"That went over well. I'm so glad we were able to pull it off." Kyle said as he hugged Jay.
Kyle's phone rang and he saw that it was Tommy. "Hey Tommy. Thanks for bringing the car over. We appreciate it."
"How did your little surprise go?"
"It went great. We'll show you the graduation video when you come over. I don't know who was more surprised, Janita or Adam. We owe a big thanks to the social worker who jumped through hoops to push the adoption through. She's been invited to the graduation party. Are you guys still coming over?"
"Yeah, once Andy gets off work and gets cleaned up. We have a graduation gift for Janita."
"She's still planning on staying on campus at Boston University, right?"
"We got her a five-hundred dollar gift card for Sears so she can get a mini-fridge and microwave for her dorm room."
"Tommy, that's beyond wonderful. I don't know what to say. Janita's going to shit over that."
"What's she going to shit over?" Jay asked.
"Tommy and Andy got her a five-hundred dollar gift card for Sears so she can buy a mini-fridge and microwave for her dorm room."
"Awesome. I know Karin and Denise got her a couple of those one-hundred dollar grocery Visa cards so it's perfect." He grinned. "THANKS GUYS! " He yelled.
"Tell Jay he's welcome, and we'll see you guys at the party." He hung up.
The kids returned shortly, followed by the arrival of Kim, Bryan, Karin and Denise. "Well?" Kyle asked.
Janita threw herself on him. "I can't even begin to figure out how I'm going to thank you for the car. It's wonderful, beyond anything I could have dreamed of." She let go of Kyle and threw herself on Jay.
"We're glad you like it. You can thank us by driving safe and being happy."
"Oh I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am. You don't know how much it means to me to have parents that love me and care for me and not treat me like an embarrassment or a servant." She started sobbing. Kyle and Adam joined them for a family group hug.
"It's all over now, Janita. Nobody will ever treat you like that again." Jay said.
"And if they try, they'll have to answer to be and trust me, they won't want to do that." Adam interjected vehemently.
"In every way that matters, legally, emotionally, spiritually and every other way, you're our daughter now. Nothing can or will ever change that. We love you, Janita and are blessed beyond the capability of being measured to have you as a member of our family. And speaking of members of the family, there are some more here to see you."
The group hug broke up and Janita turned to see everyone standing there. Kim grabbed her and pulled her into a hug. "Congratulations, Janita. Bryan and I are proud to have you as our niece."
Bryan broke them apart so he could give Janita a hug. "We're very happy for you, honey". He let go of her as Kim pulled an envelope out of her pocketbook and handed it to Bryan. "This is from Kim, Jon, Chris and me."
She opened and read the beautiful graduation card. There was something still in the envelope. What was still in the envelope was a Target gift card for five-hundred dollars. Janita just looked at Bryan and Kim, stunned into speechlessness. "Use it to decorate your dorm room, get movies, music, food, whatever you want."
"I-I-I don't know what to say. Thank you just isn't enough." She pulled them into a group hug.
"Thank you is more than enough, honey." Kim replied rubbing the crying girl's back.
"Hey, it's our turn!" Karin interjected. When they broke apart, Karin handed her an envelope. "This is from Denise and me."
Janita opened the card and yet another gift card fell out of the envelope. It was a five-hundred dollar gift card to the campus book store. "This should take care of your school supplies and memorabilia."
Janita pulled Karin and Denise into a group hug, which seemed to be the theme of the day. "Thank you so much."
"Cool. I've always wanted to see a lesbian three-some!" Andy said as he and Tommy entered the living room. Everyone busted up laughing. They approached Janita.
Tommy handed her a graduation card. "This is from Andy and me." She opened the card and out fell a five-hundred dollar Sears gift card. She picked it up and looked at it curiously. "That's so you can get a small refrigerator and microwave for your dorm room." Again, she was speechless as she pulled them into yet another group hug, thanking them over and over.
Shortly all of the adults turned their attention to party preparations when Janine, who had to return to work immediately after the graduation ceremony, arrived. She found Janita sitting alone in the living room in a state of shock. "Honey, what's wrong?"
"I don't know how to explain it. For fifteen years I was nothing but a burden, an embarrassment and a slave to my parents. Now I have this amazing family that truly loves me for me, not what they can make me do for them or get out of me. Did you see that purple car outside?"
"Yes, it's a beautiful car and your favorite color as well."
"That's my car."
"Yes. My fathers gave it to me as a graduation present. And guess what? They've legally adopted me. My birth parents are out of my life for good."
Janine gave her a big hug. "Oh, honey, that's incredible news. I'm so happy for you."
"That's not all. K-dad's sister and brother-in-law gave me a five-hundred dollar gift card to Target so I can get stuff for my dorm room. K-dad's cousin and her wife gave me a five-hundred dollar gift card to the campus bookstore for school supplies and t-shirts and stuff. Their best friends Tommy and Andy gave me a five-hundred dollar gift card to Sears so I could get a refrigerator and microwave for my dorm room."
"Wow. You made out like a bandit. All this sure puts my graduation gift to shame." Janine hung her head is apparent shame.
"Honey" Janita began as she lifted Janine's face with her hands. "It doesn't matter how expensive the gift is. It's the idea that you got me a gift."
"Yeah, but two nights at the Waldorf Astoria, tickets to three Broadway plays and dinners can't compete with that." Janine couldn't hold it together any longer. She started laughing.
"You're such a bitch, but I love you. When do we leave for New York?"
Janita threw herself onto her girlfriend and kissed her deeply. "I love you so much."
"I love you too. Now let me go see what I can do to help with the party."
"Okay, let's go get this party rolling!"