TL Chapter 34

 

*** Friday, August 7th (Continued. Peter's Birthday)
***
David put his arm around me. He was shaking lightly. Dad did the same thing. Jeremy took a deep breath in then held it.



Type of test: Paternity DNA Matching
Report Date: August 4, 2009

Paternal Subject: Peter Scott (Jamison) Blake
Paternal Date of Birth: August 7, 1994 (Age: 14)
Paternal Sample Source: Blood (Test subject has no history of blood transfusions.)

Maternal Subject: Dawn Lane
Maternal Date of Birth: February 16, 1993
Maternal Sample Source: Amniotic Fluid (TAL) (Test subject has no history of blood transfusions.)

Calibrated Result: 096.59% Within Variance Percentage Points: .001% +-

Incidental Notes:
Fetal Gender: Female

Chromosomal Aberrations: None
Blood Type: 0-

*** End of Report ***



"A daughter? Really? Oh wow. Oh man, that's awesome. I don't know what to say." I said. At the same time tears were flowing freely from my eyes not from sadness, pain, worry or uncertainty, instead the tears were from happiness, awesomeness and exhilaration.

David squeezed me firmly then let his arm drape across my shoulders. He reached in kissing me on my lips. His eyes were wet though they weren't leaking, at least not right then, they'd come later when we were alone.

Ella had stepped back to allow us to experience our initial emotions and reactions. Once we were regaining control she stepped back up joining in our gratitude and solitude.

Dad took me aside. David was right there with me. Dad said, "We'll have a family meeting. I'm with you all the way. I'm happy for you. There's going to be some legal issues... custody, financial support... those kinds of things. Let me get everybody together as soon as everybody's gone."

I nodded. David squeezed harder, as if that were possible. David kissed me again then when dad walked away he said, "Come on daddy, let's get everybody together. God, I love you more and more every day."

I grinned like a Cheshire cat. I can't ever remember feeling like I did.

Once we showed Alice, Horace, Jason and William, and some other people I didn't know out the door, we headed into the kitchen where we made drinks and then headed into the TV room. Allen and Angel took one sofa; Jeremy sat on its end. David and I sat down at the other one while Judge Matheson, Ella, and dad joined us.

Before anybody could say a word, or ask a question, I said, "I'm going to be a daddy. She's a little girl."

Jeremy, Allen and Angel looked at me with shocked expressions on their faces. I shrugged my shoulders not knowing what else to say... their looks caught me off guard.

Then what they were shocked about struck me. I said, "Yeah, I've been with a girl one time. It happened right before David and I got together. Dawn was her name... we were lonely, and I guess I was curious... she was too. Well, we did it."

Ella cleared her throat which caught our attention. She said, "Peter, your baby girl was born yesterday early in the morning."

My immediate concern was for the baby... and yes, Dawn too. I asked, "Is she healthy? Is everything okay?"

"Your daughter is just fine. She's healthy and seems happy. She's being well taken care of."

"When can I see her?" I asked anxiously.

"That was my next question, Peter. The baby is being adopted. They'll be taking her home from the hospital. Sometimes when this happens the biological parents don't want to see the baby for fear that they'll bond with it then have great difficulties afterwards."

"No, I want to see her. Can I hold her too?"

Ella looked at dad. He replied to her unspoken words, "This is totally Peter's call, Ella. He should at least meet his daughter."

Ella nodded.

I then asked, "Dawn didn't change her mind about adoption then..."

"No. She gave me no reason other than to say she couldn't care for the kid as she should. She doesn't want children."

"Okay. But why wasn't I given a choice? Why wasn't I asked about what I wanted to do? Doesn't the guy have any say so?"

Ella answered, "Peter, it's not that simple when minors are the parents. Right, wrong or indifferent... it's true that the mother usually gets the last say so on what happens to the child."

Judge Matheson said professionally, "It's true Peter. The only real times where that unspoken rule is not exercised is when both parties make a marriage commitment, or when the mother is unfit such as her being a practicing alcoholic or drug addict, or when the baby's life be in danger, or when the child is born with fetal alcohol syndrome or is born `drug sick'... each case is weighed differently. I'm sorry but had you been at least 21 years old then things might be different... even then we look at a man's ability to support and parent a newborn baby."

"That's not fair." Allen said. Angel nodded.

Jeremy said, "Dad, can't we do something? Peter wasn't even given a voice in this huge decision that affects him and David... actually it affects us all... were you contacted?"

Dad replied, "Peter, boys, this is all new news to me. I found this information at the same time you received it. Ella, since paternity has been established, where do we go from here?"

"Jim, the truth is that the girl didn't want us to track down the father, that's you Peter, but since she's receiving state aid then Dawn had no other choice but to disclose the information to CPS if she wanted to continue receiving care for her and the newborn. Judge, can you give them some additional perspective?"

"Yes, thank you Ella. I want you to understand that I'm not giving legal advice so I suggest you consult with counsel. That being said, this state is a bit backwards in its approaches to unwed mothers who are under the age of majority. The father is even more removed from the equation. No precedents exist giving sole custody to a minor male child even though he's been determined to be the biological father."

Dad spoke up, "Let me see if I have this clear... in order for Peter to gain custody then the issue would have to be tried in the courts. What are his chances with me and our resources behind him all the way? Then again, where would the baby child be at during the legal wrangling?"

"Jim, the legal proceedings could take years. The legislative processes are quite slow and cumbersome. I'm not saying a precedent is not possible but I am certain that it would take quite a bit of time. Ella?"

"The child would be put in foster care until such time a decision was rendered by the courts, then again, and correct me if I'm wrong Judge there's the very real possibility of dragging the case through the appellate courts."

"That's correct, Ella."

Ella added, "Peter, I have personally met with and evaluated the prospective adoptive parents. They're really good people. In my heart and on paper you couldn't have a better couple to take care of your child. Judge, I've been thinking. I don't believe it would be out of the question to request at least supervised visitation between Peter and the couple on a schedule approved by all concerned. What do you think?"

"Adoptions are technically closed in this state. Peter, that means `no contact' between the adoptive and biological parents. Precedent has been established to the contrary however. It's dependent if all parties are agreeable. The mother of this child has made it known that she doesn't want any contact with the baby or the prospective adoptive parents... I don't see you having visitation with the baby as any business of hers from a legal perspective. Ella, do you have the name of the guardian ad litem representing the baby? Peter, a guardian ad litem is an attorney who legally represents the child in legal proceedings... you were appointed one for your adoption proceeding."

I replied, "He was a dip poop. He jumped to conclusions without having facts to base them on."

Ella said, "Judge, I transmitted a request for an appointment to the court just today. Peter, I am going to ask you a question. <I nodded. David took my arm in his, and dad made his presence known by standing by my side>. Do you and your family wish to start a legal proceeding to determine placement rights?"

"Uhm, if I can have visitation, at least once, then no. I need to see and hold my baby because it will be the only one I'll ever father. Also, if it's possible then I'd like to interview the parents just for my own peace of mind."

"They'd have to approve your requests after they take the baby home. Right now, the baby is in states' custody so anybody who I approve can see the child. I'll make the arrangements. I'll also ask them if they'd visit with you remember Peter that it's totally up to them."

"Dad, does that sound okay?"

"You're very grown up. I'm proud of your selfless attitude. Yes, I'm behind you all the way. The rest of us are too, right guys?"

Everybody gave some form of approval to dad's statement and my desires for visitation.

"I have a reason why I asked to interview the parents: I promised myself when I was a really little kid that if I ever had a child then that child would never ever be treated as I was treated, and that it would be loved completely. The promise was and still is a solemn oath. I'll not back down."

David said, "What if Peter decides the prospective adoptive parents aren't what he wants them to be like? What then?"

"Good question. I wish my answer was more simple the short of it is that a decision would then have to be made regarding taking it thru the court system so that a precedent could be set. Peter, there's always the possibility that the petitions would be denied clear to the top of the ladder. The battle could literally last for years... all that time the child could be in foster care."

"David, we couldn't do that to her. I won't do it to her." Turning to Ella I said, "Will you please go ahead and try to arrange a visit with the baby's parents? I'd like to see her as soon as possible, what do we need to do to make it happen?"

Ella spoke up when dad looked at her "I'll see what I can do Peter. I can't promise that they'll see you. I'll try; this is all I can promise. Are we understood?"

"Perfectly."

Shortly thereafter, Ella and Judge Matheson made their exit.

"Thanks everybody for a wonderful day. I'll remember this day for the rest of my life. I love you all so very, very much."

"Can we go swimming now?" Allen asked dad.

"Excellent idea. I'll be out in a little while."

Needless to say, a pile of clothes (including a Leg, straps included) was left in the dining room, several splashes were heard and felt... we got into a lively game of water soccer that is until dad made a flying leap into the pool and swamped everybody with a huge cannon ball. A splash fest ensued.

Just before midnight, exhausted tired, David and I made our way upstairs to the bathroom then hit the bed. We were asleep in seconds.

*** Saturday

Our first stop was the jewelry store at the mall where we were the first customers for the day. We told the man what we needed to do and that we needed it done as quickly as possible since we were leaving for at 11:30 for Oahu He reassured us that the ring would be ready. I chose the inscription: "Till death do us part. Love Peter." The jeweler smiled at us warmly then said he and his partner had been together 33 years.

While the ring was being inscribed we headed upstairs to the infamous underwear store. David had been having problems with strap chafing to the crevice area between his nuts and thigh. They suggested boxer briefs. Logically that made sense so David purchased 12 pair in various colors. Once the purchase was made he headed to the fitting rooms where he changed. He looked mighty sexy in them.

Dad was waiting for us near the cash register area. He told us that we needed to get a move on since we needed to check in for the flight. At about the same time the jeweler store paged us so we took off and picked up the ring. The work performed on it was flawless. Without delay I put it on David's ring finger. There were many customers in the store so we didn't tear each others' clothes off to celebrate nor did we kiss even though I really wanted to plant my lips on his. I said, "Later babe, I can't wait!" David smiled then whispered in my ear, "Promises!"

The flight to Oahu was uneventful. The morning was beautiful in that the sun shone brightly, the water appeared crystal clear, the reef brilliant, and I had the distinct feelings that all would be well.

Upon arrival, we hired a limo to take us to the hospital. The driver was cordial, welcoming, personable, and professional as he drove. Soon he delivered us to the hospital where the baby had been born.

After asking the Information desk where the maternity ward was located, a volunteer escorted us there but we weren't allowed to enter because of security concerns for the mothers and newborns. The volunteer did notify the maternity staff that we had arrived. While we were waiting, Ella exited the elevator. She walked to us sitting in the waiting room, smiled, and extended her hand to shake our hands. Dad caught her up with what we'd done thus far.

Ella then went to the reception desk, identified herself and why she/we were there and that we had an appointment at 1:30 to meet with the hospital case worker. About 10 minutes later two women approached us, introduced themselves as caseworkers and that they'd take us to see the baby. They then escorted us to a conference room located within the maternity ward.

A few minutes later a nurse brought a baby wrapped in a pink blanket and a cute bonnet like thing, kind of like a sock. Her fingers were so tiny but as soon as she felt mine, she clamped down like a vice grip causing me to get this huge lump in my throat and a tightness in my chest.

Once the nurses and social workers were assured that we'd not bring any harm or run off (they have to be careful because not everybody in the world is forthright, dependable, honest, and such stuff) the nurse laid the baby in my arms, and then they left us to ourselves for a 30 minute visit with her.

"She definitely has your eyes and your facial structures, Peter. Look at her, she's so cute. Oh my God, she's so precious. And those tiny little fingers holding onto you for dear life ..." Dad said raggedly.

"I know dad." I said with tears freely flowing from my eyes, not sad tears but from very, very happy.

Not knowing what else to do, I leaned my face then nuzzled hers then kissed her very gently on her forehead and whispered "I love you so much little one. God bless you."

Her response was immediate. She opened her eyes and smiled her huge little baby smile then her little hands reached to my nose, took it in a death grip and held on for dear life though her tiny fingers soon slipped off because my tears had thoroughly wet my nose.

"Peter, she absolutely has your smile and eye color. Oh my goodness she is so cute." Dad said happily and in awe.

By now, my tears had dried up and I was smiling from ear to ear. After repositioning her to where she was lying on my chest, I was better able to kiss the top of her head. She cooed, giggled, wiggled and smiled.

"Daddy? Did I just say daddy?" I thought silently.

With that thought firmly planted in my brain and heart, the tears began freely flowing once again. This time however, the tears ran onto the baby's head after they fell from my cheeks.

Dad gently wiped her dry then wiped my face as well and dried out my eyes because I was now under control once again.

"Dad, would you please keep that Kleenex safe because I want to take it home and keep it in my special place after putting into one of those baggies?"

"Can do. In fact, I'm headed to the nurses' station to see if they have a baggie available. I'll be right back."

When dad left, I whispered "God bless you child. Please never forget how much I love you. I love you with all of my heart, and then even more than that. My heart's is bursting. When I was a little boy I made a promise to you that you wouldn't ever be hurt, and that you WOULD be loved and cherished."

I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and calmness and contentment wash over me like I was being held in a soft warm blanket on a cold winters' night.

As the baby and I continued to communicate in our own very unique way dad entered. He a sealable bag like thing in his hand then gathered up the baby's tissues and closed them up tight.

"Thanks, dad."

"Are you okay son?"

"Uhm hmm, yeah, definitely I'm just fine. Would you please take a bunch of pictures of us then send them back home? David's got to see this."

Dad then clicked off several pictures then transmitted them to our Family Group. Soon, I received notification on my phone that they'd arrived at their destinations.

"When we get home, I'm going to put the best one up on my computer as a desktop background. Can we put them into our family album?"

Dad, although I had sensed he was on the brink or losing control, coughed and sputtered then got up, "I'll be right back son."

A couple minutes later Ella entered the conference room, smiled warmly then asked, "Where's your dad?"

"He went to the rest room. He'll be right back." I replied happily, knowingly.

Dad arrived a few minutes later. Sure enough his eyes were red, his face was blotchy, and he was moving a little bit slower than he normally does. He sat down next to us. His eyes went from me to the baby then back again.

"I love you dad. Thanks."

Dad nodded while giving me a lopsided smile then replied with a raggedy voice "I love you too, son. I sure hope that you and David can adopt some day... you two would make terrific parents."

Dad leaned over to look directly in her eyes. I transferred her to my other arm so that he'd get a direct visual. I then asked, "Do you want to hold her?"

"Yeah, I'd like that. I'd like that whole lot." Dad said choking up.

Easily, expertly he took her from my arms, pulled her to his chest, and then started saying little sweet things softly just above a whisper.

A few minutes later the nurse who had brought the baby to us returned. She said that our time was up. Reluctantly, Dad handed her back to me. I held her close, whispered again how much I loved her, and reminded her of my promises, and that I'd meet with her parents to give them my promise so that they could pass it on to her.

A feeling went through my heart as she once again grabbed hold of my nose and held onto it firmly. All the while her eyes never left mine, not for a second.

I said to the nurse, "You've made my life complete today. Thank you so much. I love you so much little girl." I said to the little baby as the nurse took her from me. No sooner than the nurse took her the baby began crying... man she's got a strong set of lungs on her!

Dad stood up, talked softly to Ella then turned to me, we silently hugged deeply, held on for a moment as the emotions passed. Ella said, "Peter, Dawn's anxious to see you. We have only a few minutes before the appointment with the adoptive parents."

Dad said, "I'll wait here. Ella and I need to talk for a little while. We'll be here."

Ella took the lead after I nodded to dad then led me to a room down the hall on the left side. She then said, "I'm going to leave you two alone. I'll be with your dad."

I walked in the room. Dawn was sitting in a chair by her hospital bed. She smiled at seeing me, "Hey there stud. How's it going? Long time no see."

"Yeah, it's been about 9 months or so, how are you?"

"I'm okay. Come on, come sit with me, please."

Slowly I made my way over then sat down in a chair next to her.

She said, "I sort of disappeared too. When I found out about the pregnancy, I left that area and headed here. I received a lot of help from a couple organizations who have a lot to offer for teenage mothers. I've learned a lot about myself. But, enough about me, how are you, what are you doing?"

"Uhm, I'm sorry that you had to do it alone. Uhm, well, I mean, my mom's in jail. Things got pretty bad... they got really, really bad. I reached out for help too. This family took me in and adopted me. I'm happy."

"I know what you mean. My parents actually started giving a fuck. Our relationship is on the mend. Mom was great during my, uhm, well you know."

"Well, my mom said a bunch of nasty shit. Uhm, I need to tell you the truth about me. I'm gay. I've met a guy who I'll be spending the rest of my life with. Here's our ring. David has one just like it."

Dawn looked me. Surprise was on her face then its tightness released. She said, "I'm happy for you. But how did you..."

I giggled, "I'm young and horny. I didn't mean that the way it sounds though... we were curious about each other's anatomy. I'd never been with a girl up to that point, and I've not been with a girl since that time <chuckling>... David is young and horny too... but it's different... we have a deep love second to none."

Dawn giggled, "I'm young and horny too. And yes I was curious too." She then broke out laughing hysterically... "I can't believe we did it standing up!"

I laughed hysterically thinking of our coupling.

When we recovered, I pulled my phone out, pulled up a perfect picture of David then showed it to her.

"Oh my God, all the really good looking studs are gay... what's with that?" Dawn chuckled, her eyes shining brightly.

When the moment passed, an uncomfortable silence washed over our time together.

"Dawn?"

"Uhm hmm."

"I saw our baby. She's ..."

"Don't Peter, please. I'm dealing with this in my own way."

"Do you even want to see a picture of her? She has your facial structures."

"NO. Maybe you should go now." Dawn said sadly, averting her gaze to somewhere on the wall.

"Yeah, I agree. Dawn, have a really good life. You take care. And... thanks."

With that, Dawn stood. We hugged then quickly kissed. We then stood apart. There was absolutely no magic with our touch.

"Good bye, Dawn. I only wish you the best and hope that your life is happy and fulfilled."

"I hate good byes', Peter. See ya later?"

"No Dawn. This is a good bye. Take good care of yourself." I said then headed to the conference room without looking back but needed to stop by the restroom to take care of business.

After finishing with that task, while washing my hands dad entered the room. He looked at me with a question I clearly understood, "Yeah, I'm okay dad. No problem."

"Okay, it's time for the appointment. Shall we?" Dad said.

"We shall."

When we returned to the conference room, two new people, a man and a woman, maybe in their late 20's, were sitting in tall backed chairs and looked expectantly at us as we walked in.

The lady had beautiful blond-sandy hair and warm and inviting piercing soft blue eyes. Her hands were delicate with clean and well manicured fingernails. She wore a trendy pink blouse and what appeared to be black jeans.

The man was maybe a little bit overweight, but not by much. His face was round but not Pillsbury dough boy round. His eyes were dark brown and inviting and sat underneath well styled black hair. His eyebrows were bushy but were not grotesque. He was clean shaven and wore a navy blue button up shirt and what appeared to be black jeans as well.

After Ella made first name only introductions she said "Ron, Ann, Peter, would it be okay if I stepped out into the hall to allow you all to talk together without me here? I don't want to infringe upon your time. I might be an influence."

Dad said, "We'll be right outside."

When dad and Ella left the room, the couple, my child's prospective parents, and I sat across from each other yet nobody would or could speak. We just sat there looking intently at each other then Ann softly spoke up in order to break the silence cloaking the room "Hello Peter. There's no reason to be afraid of us. I guess we're just as nervous as you appear to be. When Ella told us that you wanted to talk to us, she said that you actually wanted to conduct an interview. We were, at first, quite nervous but then my husband and I talked it over then decided that since we've nothing to hide we'd do it."

"We have two other children. They are both boys and their names are Daniel and Michael. We call them Danny and Mike. Danny's 4 and Mike's 6. I work full time as a consultant to one of the few computer firms on the islands. My wife, Ann is a full time stay-at-home mom."

"Thanks. I appreciate your being here. Who's taking care of your kids while you are here?" I asked warmly.

"My mother and father live here on Oahu together, the kids adore them. The feelings are mutual. By the way, our other two children are adopted."

"That's good. So am I. The man who was sitting next to me is my adopted dad. We kind of just adopted each other. You guys have already passed my tests <giggle, then I turned very serious>; I saw my answers in your eyes and from your willingness to come talk with me. Thanks, I really, really appreciate you guys."

"Yes, I saw you through your eyes too, Peter. You are a good young man." Ann said solemnly.

"I try to be. I fail sometimes. I get very afraid that this is all a dream and that it will end. I'm getting better though."

"We understand that you've had a very rough life ..."

"Can I ask you a question first? I mean that I keep calling the baby `her' or `she' or `the baby'."

"Your daughter's name, if it's okay with you ... we wanted to run the name by you before we put it on the papers, is Nicole Ellen. Nicole is Ron's mothers' first name. Ellen is my mother's first name." Ann said.

"I like that. I like that a lot. You really wanted to know if her name was okay with me, really." I said while feeling incredible forces tugging at the very essence of my being.

"Yes, absolutely."

Overcome with happy and incredible emotions, I slowly backed the chair away from the table then put my face down into my cupped hands and started crying softly.

Very soon, after maybe a minute had passed, I felt two pair of hands warmly lying on my shoulders and rubbing little circles to comfort me. When I looked up it was Ron and Ann whose hands were comforting me.

When I regained my composure I picked two Kleenex from the box sitting on the table then wiped my face and eyes dry.

Ron and Ann went back to their seats, sat down then got their own tissues to dry their eyes with.

"Do you want to know a little bit about me and where I came from? I can't say a whole lot about some things because there are court cases pending against some people. I'm not on trial, but there are some people who are because of what they did to me."

"Peter, we saw you on TV speaking with the president to receive the award that you had coming to you for your bravery and resilience and helping others. That says a whole lot about your personhood, and how your life has turned around. But yes, we would like to hear whatever you'd feel comfortable sharing." Ron said softly.

"Uhm, well, I did some pretty bad things in my life. I stole a lot and learned how to live on the streets of Honolulu because home was not a good place to be. I got knocked around a lot, and well, I was uhm, basically a street whore. I'd never felt loved or safe until my dad and his sons took me in with them. While I was afraid I really didn't get tough like a lot of people I knew out there. I just get scared a lot but it's getting better day by day."

"Your family is really special then, Peter, because I do not see you as a street tough guy. In fact I do believe you are tougher than you give yourself credit for. I deeply sense a very tough person inside of yourself, Peter, yet you have a profound softness and gentleness." Ann said. Ron nodded caringly and agreeably.

"I try. It is starting to be `normal'. It is starting to feel `normal' to be loved and cared for. I can't really explain it but I do feel it. I am also able to give it back."

"You probably want to know what happened, how Nicole got here."

"Peter, <Ann chuckled>, we know how babies are made <Ron's eyes were dancing on top of his not too well hidden smile>." Ron said.

I cracked up and nearly rolled on the floor <they smiled and giggled) and when my composure was back I added "Okay. Well yeah. What I mean is that it was our first time. We were standing up and well, uhm, things just happened. We were on the beach. Okay well, uhm, anyway, well you know. That was the only time we did `it'. I mean, well, we were not a couple in the usual way. We were both lonely, and curious, and well, you know, I mean, it just happened."

"Standing up?" Ron said amusedly.

"Standing up. Yep. It just kind of sort of, well, anyway it just kind of slid in. And well, okay that is how our daughter got here." I said then felt the hot crimson blush of embarrassment wash over my entire body.

"Anyway, I wanted to tell you one more thing about me. It scares me to tell you ... just give me a second, okay."

"Uh, guys, I have a boyfriend. I'm gay. I always was gay. Dawn and I, sorry I dropped that name on you, please forget it, please. Well, she and I were curious and, well, I mean, yeah were both ready ... and well ... you know the rest. I mean we were physically ready. Dad says boys my age can ... oh shit ... sorry."

"I was a boy once upon a time, Peter. I understand what you are saying. Ann knows that I had sex with other boys when I was growing up. I'm not gay, but I understand what you are saying."

"Good. Thanks. Do you want to see a picture of David? He's the love of my life. We're soul mates. I love him so much. And he's waiting back home for me. Back on Maui that is, to be more precise."

Without waiting for an answer, I flipped my phone out, pulled up a full screen picture of David then passed it to them. They took turns looking at my David then smiled their appreciations and approvals.

"Peter, Nicole has your eyes, your nose and your smile. She's definitely your birth daughter without a doubt, and if I may say so, you make pretty babies ..." Ann said then laughed.

I blushed. I couldn't help it.

When we recovered from our laughs and blushes, respectively, Ron said "Peter, Ann and I talked on our way here today. We have two questions for you."

I nodded.

"Would you allow us to raise your child?" Ann asked solemnly.

All I could do once the question sunk in was to nod affirmatively because I once again became overwhelmed with emotion as my heart was bursting with humility on all sides.

"Why would you ask my permission?" I asked solemnly.

"You're Nicole's biological father. That's why." Ann said resolutely.

Ron said, "Peter, share with us what's on your mind... I can see the wheels turning round and round in your head."

"Okay. This is hard. When I was a very little boy and even when I've grown up to now, I made a promise. I promised that if I ever had children then they wouldn't be treated like I was, that they'd be loved, cherished, fed and nurtured, and that I'd listen to them. Since I've come to live with my family... my promise has gotten even stronger. Can, will you make my promise come true?"

"Of course Peter. There is no doubt in our minds that she'd be taken care of... that each and every promise you made will be ours to carry out."

I choked up finding it difficult to figure out what I wanted to say, and then being able to say what I needed to say. At the same time, a burden lifted from my shoulders after, for sure, realizing that they were indeed telling me the absolute truth more than hearing their words, I felt them to the core of my being.

Once everyone was able to speak again, Ron then took Ann's hand in his and said, "Peter, we'd like for you to be a part of Nicole's life in some way. Would you do that for her? Would you do that for us, please?"

The question smacked me upside the head. I sat there disbelieving. Me? Be a part of my daughters' life, really? It couldn't possibly be true. Yet they asked the question.

As tears began falling freely from my eyes and onto my cheeks, I nodded then attempted to say but the only thing that came out was "Yes. Yes I'll live to make that happen."

I then began sobbing uncontrollably. My head went down to the table.

Then I felt hands on my shoulders. They were holding me firmly yet softly at the same time. Life took on new meaning. That moment was one of those indelibly etched in my brain and heart for all eternity.

The door to the conference room opened I only heard those tears being shed were completely blinding my vision. Dad asked, "Are you okay, Peter? What's going on here?"

"We've asked Peter if he'd be an active part of Nicole's life. He's agreed."

I looked into dad's eyes then totally and completely lost it. I said, "My promises can come true, dad."

He took me in his arms then whispered, "I love you. You'll be a good dad. David's going to be so happy."

*** To be continued

(Edited and Reposted June 8, 2011)