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We arrived at Scott's office on Monday morning, right on time after the lab work. Scott took Sean into the examining room and I waited in the reception room. It was about a half hour later when Scott opened the door and called me in.
He went over the results of his exam and said that things looked good and that when he got the blood work he would call me. He said that Sean had put on 5 pounds, which he was very pleased with. He also cleared him to start exercising after I asked him if it was Ok.
Scott also addressed the wet dream Sean had had yesterday, and his onset of puberty.
"I talked to Sean about his personal hygiene when he showered, now that he's not shooting blanks anymore," he said with a grin.
Sean blushed beet red, and frowned. I didn't have to worry about that problem as I was circumcized, so I hadn't mentioned anything about the extra care with his hygiene in our father-son talk. I hadn't seen that part of his anatomy, so I hadn't even thought to mention it to him. I really felt bad for the kid, as Scott wasn't one to sanitize his language sometimes.
His face finally turned back to it's normal colour as we were going out the front door of his office to the car.
"How come you told Dr. Scott about my wet dream yesterday?" he said with a very annoyed tone to his voice.
"He's your doctor Sean; he needs to know these things so he can treat you appropriately. Dr. Scott's a jock like I am, and sometimes we use phrases that are a little crude. He didn't mean to embarrass you. It could have been worse; he could have said it in his waiting room as we were leaving!"
He cringed at that thought, and quickly got into the car.
Our appointment with Dr. Barnet was for 1 p.m. We arrived a little early, and his receptionist Mrs. Gallagher came over to us and made a big fuss over Sean. She was an older woman, and I think she was treating him like one of her grandchildren.
She went and got the candy jar, and told him to help himself. I wasn't too pleased with the offer, as I didn't keep candy in the house, as I tried to limit the amount of sugar both Sean and I ate.
Phil finally came in from his lunch and greeted us.
"Well how are you today young man?" he said with a big smile on his face. "I promise I won't bite today."
He put his arm around Sean and the two of them walked off into his office. While they were in there I thought I would go over to the gym where I worked out, and sign Sean up. They had a free fitness assessment and one hour session for each new member with one of their personal trainers. I signed him up and booked the appointment with a personal trainer for tomorrow afternoon, after Sean's session with Diego, now that Scott had given us the go ahead to exercise.
When I got back to Phil's office, Sean and he were finishing up. They came out into the waiting room with Phil's arm around his shoulder. Sean looked a whole lot better this week than he did last week as he came out of the appointment.
"If you promise not to run away on us this time young man, you can sit in the waiting room while your pop and I talk for a few minutes. Otherwise I'll have to lock you up in chains and put you in the torture room over there," he laughed as he looked at Sean.
Sean gave a chuckle and went to sit down in a chair. "I promise I'll be good Dr. Barnet."
Mrs. Gallagher piped in and smiled as she said, "Don't worry; I'm on to him this time."
Both Phil and I laughed as we made our way into his office. I sat down and I noticed that Phil's expression had changed from a jovial one to a very serious professional look. He started by telling me that he had explored with Sean a lot about his insecurities and some of the traumatic events that had occurred in his life. He also told me that indeed, as I suspected, he was somewhat depressed, but not to the point that we needed medication. I questioned his opinion on the severity of his depression, and told him I was quite worried at the unsolicited crying fit last night.
He took a big sigh and said, "Al, he's very insecure at the moment. He wants desperately to have a family and be loved. That's what was behind the meltdown last night. What he experienced with your family on Saturday is what he's been longing for. Subconsciously he felt like an outsider, not one of the members. As much as he was able to talk to me about how happy he was on Saturday his subconscious psyche didn't believe he belonged. That's why he didn't know what the reason was for his crying."
I broke in and said, "He's not an outsider, and he does have a family - mine- and we all love him, especially me."
"You used the word 'mine'. Forgive me for being blunt Al, but Sean doesn't think this is 'his' family," he said with a penetrating glare. "You've given him no indication that the arrangement you two have will become permanent."
I broke in and said that I had told him on a few occasions that I wouldn't bail on him, that I would always be there for him. He put up his hand in a very dismissive manner to stop me from talking.
"Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean to him, it's not good enough. Either you tell him you are going to bring some permanency to the relationship by adopting him, or turn him over to CAS and let them get him a real father and family."
It was the last comment that really hurt and made me angry. He didn't give me a chance for a rebuttal, and continued, "Please tell me what the problem is here. This kid has been the best thing in your life since Lorraine died. I haven't seen you this alive for years," he said as he paused and waited for an answer.
I was really angry, and didn't respond very quickly. He raised his eyebrows giving me the cue that it was my turn to say something. I realized my anger was not because of Phil's forthright manner, but was because he was right. I was angry at myself for not doing what I needed to do.
I slowly and softly spoke and said, "Your right Phil and I'm going to take care of that as soon as I get home. Thanks for waking me up, even though you virtually hit me between the eyes with a hammer."
He smiled and said, "Go take your son home, and I'll see him next week same time."
Sean and Mrs. Gallagher were having a great chat as I came back into the waiting room. Sean and I said goodbye to her and Phil and made our way to the car. I was a little subdued on the ride home, and Sean picked up on it right away.
"Was everything Ok with Dr. Barnet pop?" he said with a worried look on his face.
I assured him that everything was Ok, that Phil was pleased with his progress, and that I just had something on my mind. I smiled at him and changed the subject.
When we got home I made him a snack, and went into the den to make a phone call to Katharine while he was eating.
"Hi Katharine, it's Uncle Al. Can you go over the process again if I wanted to adopt Sean?"
I could tell from the tone of her voice on the other end that she was beaming from ear-to-ear as she outlined the procedure again and the paperwork that was necessary. She also told me that her boss, who was going to cause a problem with my application to adopt because of my age, had just announced that he was taking a job in another CAS office. She also told me that she would likely be taking his position when they posted his job.
She went on to say, "I'll have the paperwork couriered to you in an hour. Just sign where I've marked and we should have the hearing a couple of weeks after the March break."
I questioned her as to how she could have all the paperwork done and to me in an hour and she replied, "I filled it out this morning when I got to work. I was just waiting for you to come to your senses and call me," she said as she chuckled.
After I hung up, I felt a sense of peace and relief knowing that I just made the right decision. I also knew that I needed to make sure that Sean was Ok with the decision.
I went back into the kitchen and by now Sean was finished his snack. I told him we needed to talk and we moved into the living room and sat down on the couch. I put my arm around him and drew him into a cuddle. We sat like this for about a minute, as I was still searching for the words I wanted to use.
Sean finally broke our cuddle and looked at me and said, "What did you want to talk about?"
I took a deep breath and started, "Sean, do you like living here with me?"
He stiffened and I instantly knew that he thought I was going to ask him to leave. I brought him back into the cuddle and said, "Let me start again Sean. I want you to live here with me permanently. I want to ask you if I can adopt you, and I hope you say yes."
He broke the cuddle again, and looked at me with wide eyes. When what I said finally sunk in, I could see the tears of joy well up in his eyes. He put his arms around me and buried his head in my chest and softly said, "Yes".
We stayed like that for about a minute, neither of us saying a word. Finally he looked up at me and said, "Does that mean I can call you dad?"
"When things are finalized Sean," I said.
I quickly went on to explain the process before he got anxious. A court hearing had to take place, as well as an investigation of me by CAS. I reassured him that as far as Katharine was concerned there shouldn't be a problem and a couple of weeks after the March break everything should be all over.
"That's Ok, I've waited this long," he said with a calmness I hadn't seen before from him.
By now the courier had arrived, and dropped off the documents from Katharine regarding the adoption.
"Come on into the den, I've got something to show you," I said as I laid out the documents on the desk.
I showed him what they were and explained some of the parts, especially where it said that I was applying to adopt Sean Aiden McDonagh. I asked him if he wanted to keep his last name, or take mine, and he said very emphatically that he wanted to be know as Sean Aiden Burger. I was very pleased, and gave him a big smile and hug.
I signed all the papers as he watched, and when I finished, he put his arms around me and said, "Thanks pop. I promise I won't disappoint you."
"I know you won't either young man."
After I bundled up the package, I asked if he was Ok on his own for about 10 minutes, as I went to the post office to courier the package back to Katharine. He gave me an uncertain look, like he wasn't too sure. This would be the first time he had been out of my sight and unsupervised, but I felt it was time to start working on his independence.
"Just don't answer the door if anyone knocks, and I'll be back before you know it," I said with an air of reassurance.
He relaxed, and said he would work on his assignments from Diego for tomorrow's session, as he hadn't had a chance since we had been out all morning. I secretly crossed my fingers, and left for the post office.
When I returned, I was relieved to find him in the den working on his assignments.
"There was a phone call from a guy ... just a minute I wrote it down ... his name was Joe Hoskins. He wants you to call him back when you can," he said casually as he went back to his work.
Joe Hoskins was the private Eye I hired to investigate Sean's mom. Joe told me that the investigation turned out to be quite productive. He was able to establish that Sean hadn't been provided for according to Welfare guidelines, but that wasn't the juicy part of his findings. Apparently Sean's mother had another child, a girl, when Sean was 2 years old that died a week after it was born. The Welfare office had been paying all these years for that child as well as Sean, as they had the registration of the birth but not the death certificate. Needless to say Sean's mother didn't inform them. He told me that he had seen this scam before and it wasn't unusual for this type of thing to happen. He let me know that his report would be ready at the end of the week to turn over to the welfare officials to prosecute her. I was very pleased with the findings and felt that his mother deserved everything coming to her.
Sean and I had supper and cleaned up in time to welcome Scott and Rick over for a rare Monday night hockey game involving the Leafs and the Montréal Canadiens (Rick's favourite team). Scott and I went into the den to look over the lab results taken that day while Sean and Rick went downstairs.
"Everything looks like it's progressing well Al. The anemia is resolving itself, and there is just a tiny bit of blood in the urine," Scott said.
He also related to me that his AIDS results came back negative. That shocked me, as Scott had never mentioned that he had requisitioned that test, and I never thought about that problem.
"Does that mean that we are clear as far as the AIDS virus is concerned Scott?" I asked with a great deal of concern in my voice.
He couldn't give me 100% assurance, as he was going to take another sample at his appointment in a couple of weeks. We grabbed a couple of Stellas and went downstairs to join Rick and Sean.
Sean was a little reserved around Scott, as I guess he wasn't used to socializing with his doctor before. After a while though, he relaxed and joined in the trash talking that abounded, especially after Scott took him aside and apologized to him. Needless to say, our leafs didn't win, and both Sean and I were the butt of a few jokes.
The company left, and as Sean was getting ready for bed the phone rang.
"Hi dad," Katie said. "How's everything going?"
I wondered why the late call, as it was almost 10 p.m.
"Everything's fine. What's up?" I asked.
"Carol, Marty and I were talking on the way home on Saturday night about how neat it would be to spend some time with Sean and you at Disney World, so we agreed that we would join you on the March break. Besides, we wanted to make sure that Sean got a ride on Space Mountain, as we know you wouldn't go on it with him because you hate heights and you're such a scaredy-cat. Carol booked a suite down the hall from you for the three days you guys are going to be there. I hope that's Ok with you." she asked with a note of uncertainty in her voice.
I paused for a moment, and a big smile came across my face, as I said, "We'd love you to join us Katie. I'm proud of you guys for taking the initiative to get to know your new brother better."
"You said our new brother Dad, don't you mean Foster Brother?"
"No, Katie, I mean brother. I signed the adoption papers today, and sent them back to Katharine. All going well, two weeks after the March Break Sean's new name will be Sean Aiden Burger."
"It's about time, you silly old bugger. It's a good thing you couldn't hear the three of us talking in the car on the way home Saturday night, we weren't too happy with you," She said as she chuckled.
"You shouldn't swear at your father young lady," I said with a fake air of indignation.
After the trash talking was finished, she asked if Sean was free to talk. I called up to him to pick up the phone, and he did. The two of them had a great chat for about 5 minutes, and even though I couldn't hear what they were saying, I was very happy at the situation. Sean was keeping up his end of the conversation, and was wearing a big smile.
When he hung up I said, "You two had a good chat."
"Yeah we did, she's neat."
"Well maybe soon you'll get to spend some more time with her, and maybe Carol and Marty too," I said with a wry grin on my face.
I don't think Sean picked up on my reaction, and I was sure that Katie didn't give away the plans. He would find out soon enough.
I hadn't told him about the gym yet, so I waited until it was time to tuck him in.
"Tomorrow afternoon, we are going over to my gym to work out. I try to do this at least once a week, and I've signed you up as well. It's time you flexed some of those big muscles of yours," I said with a chuckle.
He laughed and mockingly looked at his bicep as he flexed it.
"You mean this big muscle?" he said as he pointed to it.
I tousled his hair, kissed his forehead and said goodnight. Before I could get up from the bed he looked at me with a serious look on his face and said, "Thanks pop."
I was puzzled and said, "For what Sean?"
"For giving me a family."