2. Overcoming the Past

2. Overcoming the Past

A Chapter by Craig2591
"

Chrissy's past comes back to haunt her again.

"

Chrissy almost freaked when she found out that approval to be a foster parent could take up to nine months. They were informed that their application would be put on the 'fast track' because of Emily's situation, but it would still take at least three or four months.  Then there was the fact that Chrissy had a criminal record.  They were told that that wouldn't automatically disqualify her, but it wouldn't help, either.


As bad as the invasive background check and the parenting classes and the counseling sessions had been, the waiting was by far the worst part. Those were the times that really tested Chrissy's patience. She would rant and rave to Ian about the snail's pace that the whole process was taking while Emily's future was being held in the balance. Luckily, she held her tongue whenever they were with Emily's case worker, Carla Lopez or any of the other Children's Services staff, though Ian could tell it was with great effort. At other times, Chrissy became deeply depressed. She was sure that they would be turned down because of her past. Ian tried to encourage her, but it often had little effect.


On a Sunday evening nearly four months after they had first applied to be Emily's foster parents, Chrissy was sitting on the sofa with her computer relaxing and reading the online edition of Le Monde when the doorbell rang. It was Ian's turn to do the dishes, so Chrissy answered the door. It was Carla Lopez with a police officer. What does she want now? thought Chrissy.


“Good evening, Chrissy.” said Lopez, “Is Emily here?”


“No.” Chrissy answered.


“Do you know where she might be?”


Chrissy grew concerned. “No. Why? Is she missing?!” she asked.


“Well... she appears to have run away.” said Lopez, “She found out that the Ganns aren't going to foster her anymore.”


“Oh great!” Chrissy replied. She wondered who let that slip!


“You don't know where she might have gone, do you?”


Chrissy thought for a moment and then said, “Actually, I think I might.”


“Where?!”


“If she's where I think she is, I'll go get her and bring her back.”


“Out of the question!” said Lopez, “If you know where she is, tell me right now!”


“Please, Ms. Lopez, she trusts me. I'll get Michael from next door to go with me. He's a cop. That'll make it official.”


“Well... alright, but only if Michael goes with you!”


“What's going on?” Ian asked, coming out from the kitchen and drying his hands with a dish towel.


“Emily's run away.” answered Chrissy, grabbing her jacket from the stand by the door, “I think I know where she went. I'm going to go get her. Get them some coffee.” She pointed at Lopez and the police officer.


She ran next door and got Michael and then drove the two of them down to the Warehouse District. It was several blocks away and it worried Chrissy that Emily might have walked all that way by herself. They pulled up in front of Ian's studio and got out of the car. The first thing Chrissy did was reach behind the mailbox. She let out a sigh of relief. The spare key was gone! Emily must have taken it. She tried the door to the studio and found it locked. Good girl! she thought She locked the door behind her! She opened the door with her own key and flipped on the light switch. Michael followed her inside.


“Emily!” she called. There was no sign of her. “Emily, I know you're here. The spare key is missing.”


After a few seconds they heard a noise, and then Emily crawled out from behind the old sofa.


“Come on, Kid. We've come to take you home. Everybody's worried about you,” said Chrissy a tad sternly.


“I don't have a home!” Emily replied sullenly.


Chrissy wasn't sure how to respond to that. She didn't know anything about dealing with kids. She looked at Michael, but he just shrugged. “Marge and Henry are very worried about you.” she finally said.


“They don't care!” said Emily, “Nobody does! Nobody wants me!”


“That's not true. They love you very much. But Henry is sick and Marge isn't going to be able to take care of the both of you.”


“But I could help her take care of him.”


“It's... it's not that simple,” said Chrissy. How do you explain Alzheimer's to a kid? “I'm sorry, Kid, but it just wouldn't work. Come on, you have to go back.”


“I'll just run away again! Nobody wants me!” She started to cry.


Not knowing what else to do, Chrissy walked over to her and knelt down. She looked her in the eye and said, “Emily, I didn't want to tell you this until I knew for sure if it would be approved, but... Ian and I have applied to be your foster parents.”


Emily's face lit up. “You have?!”


“Don't get excited. It might not get approved,” Chrissy warned.


“Why wouldn't it?”


“I'm afraid they don't think that I would be a very good foster mother,” she answered.


“But, why not?”


“Various reasons, but mostly it's because I have a record. Do you know what that means?”


“You got arrested?”


“Yeah. More than once.”


“What did you do?”


“Oh, I don't want to get into that now, but it was a long time ago and I don't do that kind of stuff anymore. It's just hard to convince Children's Services of that.”


“I could tell them how good you are to me,” Emily said hopefully.


“I suppose that wouldn't hurt, but I don't think it would help much either.”


Emily whispered to her, “Maybe we could run away together.”


Chrissy felt a lump in her throat. She would’ve been lying if she’d said she hadn’t already considered that option. She swallowed it down. “That would be against the law,” she replied, “Like I said, I don't do that anymore.” She stood up and held her hand out for Emily. “And if I'm going to follow the rules,” she said sternly, “then you should, too.”


Emily put her hand in Chrissy's and dejectedly followed her out to the car.


Back at the apartment, Lopez was delighted to see Chrissy walk in with Emily in tow.


“Oh, Emily! Everybody was worried sick about you!” she said, “Come on, Henry and Marge will be so glad to see you.” She turned to Chrissy as she took Emily's hand and said, “Thank you very much!” They started toward the door.


“Ms. Lopez, wait!”


Lopez stopped and looked at Chrissy. Chrissy took a deep breath and let it out. “We've done everything you've asked,” she said in frustration, “Submitted to background checks, financial scrutiny, parenting classes, counseling... everything you wanted.” Her eyes began welling up. Ian was stunned! She's crying? The 'Frost Queen' is crying?! The strain of the past few months was finally getting to her. Ian was petrified that she was about to blow it! “I don't know what else I can do!” she continued, a tear rolling down her cheek, “But I'll do anything you want. Just give me a chance! I know I can be a good foster mother for Emily. Please!” Crying and begging. The River Styx just froze over!


“It's not my decision, Chrissy,” she answered without emotion.


“But they almost always follow your recommendation! You told us that yourself!”


After several seconds of silence, Lopez said, “I'll present it to them this week.  That's all I can tell you. Come along, Emily.” They left.


After a long silence, Chrissy wiped her eyes and said angrily, “That poor kid doesn't deserve all this s**t!”


“No, she doesn't,” Ian replied solemnly, “Hopefully we'll get a chance to change some of that for her.”


“Oh, Ian, stop! They're never going to let me take care of a kid!” she exclaimed in frustration, waving a hand through the air.


“We don't know that,” he answered, “I can't believe they'd make us jump through all these hoops just to tell us ‘no’.”


“It's the government, Ian! It's probably some procedure they make everyone go through whether they're going to get approved or not.”


“Maybe, but I'm not going to give up, yet. We've got some pluses on our side, you know.”


“Like what?!”


“Well, for one thing, we have some good, strong references. And don't forget that I'm half of this equation and I've already raised a kid. That has to count for something!”


She looked at him. “Do you really think we have a chance?” she asked.


He nodded, “I don't know how much of one, but, yeah... I do.”


“I hope you're right, Ian. I can't stand the thought of that poor kid being shipped off to another stranger’s house again. No wonder she thinks nobody wants her!”


“I guess we'll find out one way or the other this week,” he replied.



© 2013 Craig2591


Author's Note

Craig2591
I did some research and found out that having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify someone from being a foster parent.

My Review

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Featured Review

Awww, poor Emily! The sense of drama is very strong here. I also enjoyed the tightened bonding between Chrissy and Emily via Chrissy explaining about her less well-behaved past and the way Emily reacted to it. Rules and regulations can have an annoying habit of getting in the way of doing good for sure!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

9 Years Ago

Thank you very much.



Reviews

Awww, poor Emily! The sense of drama is very strong here. I also enjoyed the tightened bonding between Chrissy and Emily via Chrissy explaining about her less well-behaved past and the way Emily reacted to it. Rules and regulations can have an annoying habit of getting in the way of doing good for sure!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

9 Years Ago

Thank you very much.
Nice, dramatic chapter.

I have some beef with Michael - we've never heard of him and he doesn't do anything for the chapter, except let Chrissy talk to Emily on her own. Instead, I would have liked to see Chrissy take Lopez and co. to the studio and have Emily hide from them and only talk to Chrissy; proving that Emily likes her.

I like that she cries over this. Whether it's stress or loving Emily so soon, it's a new thing for the audience to see her doing that's totally human. I also like the part about the River Styx, because I'm a big nerd.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

11 Years Ago

That is a good idea. If I do a major rewrite I just might use your idea. I haven't introduced Mich.. read more
Not bad, and there's a very gritty feel to this piece that's definitely well-done. I question some of your word choice - there's places where it feels too simple - but overall, you've done very well with this. Good work.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

11 Years Ago

Thank you. Writing is a hobby for me, not a passion, and I've never had any formal training in crea.. read more
Excellent chapter. Seeing a side of her we don't normally get to see. She really cares for the little girl. I sure hope the decision goes their way for everyone's sakes.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Tears overwhelmed me also. A human side, for not liking kids. I'm going on...

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

She cried!!!! I'm having a hard time treating this like fiction! I'm so wrapped up in it!

Posted 12 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 16, 2012
Last Updated on April 6, 2013
Tags: romance, love, humor, parenting, foster parent, adoption


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Craig2591
Craig2591

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I am a visual artist with no formal training in creative writing. I get stories knocking around my head and sometimes I write them down. I decided to join this site to share them with other writers .. more..

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