Hey I was wondering if anyone remembers this story. Anyway…goes like this:
Summary—A boy, orphaned at birth, spends the first years of his life living in horrible foster homes where he is severely mentally and physically abused. He's also a bedwetter, which only makes his problems worse. Finally, after being horribly beaten and running away, he finds himself in a loving home with a caring family. Knowing that he has had a horrible childhood, his new family lets him start over and become a baby again. He quickly learns to love being the new baby of the family, especially his diapers.
Note: Be patient because diapers don't really come into the story until the second part.
A Second Chance
How it All Started
One might say that I was cursed from the very beginning. I never knew my real mom or dad. The only thing I knew about my mom was that she was a crack addict. I remember once being told that I was born addicted to crack, which is why I don't know my mom, because I was taken away from her right after I was born. Apparently, that didn't bother her too much, because, as far as I know, she never tried to get me back.
So, from the time I was born, I was a product of "the system," a number lost in the bureaucracy of the state foster system. I bounced from foster home to foster home never staying in one for more than a few months at a time. Most of the time my foster families were something less than what you'd see on "Leave it to Beaver." From the time I was two or three I remember getting hit a lot. My foster parents, their kids, and sometimes people in the homes that I didn't even know all hit me. I tried to be a good boy, but I still got hit even when I was pretty sure I hadn't done anything wrong. I remember one house, when I was seven or eight, where I was pretty much the designated punching bag for my foster family's real kids. They'd beat me up for no reason at all. A lot of times my foster parents would be watching the whole thing, and they'd just laugh and call me a wimp because I didn't fight back or try to defend myself.
Since my mom was a crack head, I was also born premature, and I was really small. That never really went away, and I've always been small for my age. I was too small to defend myself, and the one time I tried to fight back it only got me beat up worse.
Then there were the homes were no one hit me at all, the ones where instead of hitting me they just said mean things to me. They called me a retard, a crack-head baby, stupid, shrimp, runt, bastard (I didn't even know what that meant), and a lot of other mean things. Those homes were worse than the ones where I got hit. At least when the hitting ended it was over for a little while. The mean words hurt my feelings really badly, and I usually cried myself to sleep every night.
To make things even worse, I've been a bedwetter for as long as I can remember. Almost every morning I woke up in wet clothes and sheets. That only earned me more torment and abuse from my foster families. They called me worthless, a baby, piss pants, and everything else you can imagine. I got a lot of spankings and just plain beatings because I couldn't keep my bed dry no matter how hard I tried. In one place I remember they whipped me every morning that I woke up wet with a belt—the buckle end. I can't remember ever sitting down when I lived there that it didn't hurt a lot.
In most of the homes I usually had to sleep on the same, nasty mattress every night, and it was almost always still wet from the previous night's accident. I didn't even know there was such a thing as plastic mattress protectors. Quite often I was made to sleep away from everyone else to keep my smelly bed from offending the rest of the family. A couple of places I slept in the basement, in others I slept in the garage, and once I didn't even have a bed. In that house they told me I was like a puppy that wasn't housebroken—I wasn't sure what that meant—and they made me sleep on the floor on newspaper. At least they did give me a pillow.
The only good time in my life was when I lived with an older lady. She was very sweet and loving to me. She never hit me or called me bad things. She didn't care that I was a bedwetter, and she even bought me pull-ups to wear to bed at night so I didn't wake up wet and cold. I was only about five at the time, so I don't remember too much about her. I remember she made really good oatmeal cookies. I think I lived with her for about six months before she got really sick. The people who always take me from one house to another—I think they're called caseworkers—came and told me she was too sick to take care of me. She went to the hospital, and they took me away from her. I didn't even get to say goodbye. I don't know what happened to her. I hope she's okay and still taking care of some other kids.
By the time I was ten I had long ago lost count of how many homes I had lived in. I was in the fifth grade and I was still a bedwetter. It was when I was ten that I was sent to the worst house ever. The "dad" drank all the time, and he always stank like beer—I've lived in a lot of houses where they had a lot of beer, so I know what it smells like. He was really mean and he hit me a lot. He also said mean things to me. I was beat up physically and verbally on a weekly, usually daily, basis. The "mom" didn't hit me a lot, but she was really mean to me. She called me bad names all the time. They had two kids, and they were both mean to me and hit me all the time. Most of the time the mom would make enough food to feed her family, and then I had to eat whatever was leftover. If there wasn't anything left I just didn't eat.
One night, after I had been there for three or four months, the mom and the dad both got really drunk. I was sitting in the living room watching TV with them because their kids didn't want a bedwetter in their room. I didn't have any toys, and I wasn't allowed to play with their kids' toys, so I just sat there watching whatever they watched. At some point they got into a fight over something, I don't even know what. They stood up and started yelling at each other, using really bad words. The dad threw a lamp across the room, and it hit the wall and broke. The mom slapped the dad across the face and left the house. The dad was still really mad, and I was sill there. I knew what was about to happen, and I tried to get away, but I wasn't fast enough. He came after me and grabbed hold of me so I couldn't run. He hit me a lot. I had a bloody nose and mouth before he was done. He didn't stop then, either. He kept hitting me long after I stopped trying to get away. I was able to get on the ground by a chair and curl up into a little ball. Even then, he continued to hit and kick me. I guess he eventually got tired and he stopped beating me. He told me, "Get your worthless ass to bed," as he went back to his chair, and I heard another can of beer pop open.
I got up as fast as I could and ran out of the room. I tried not to cry because he hated whenever I cried, and I might get hit more if I did. In this house my bedroom was a walk-in closet in the hallway. I went into the room and collapsed onto the mattress that was on the floor that I slept on. I hurt everywhere. My face hurt and it was hard to open my left eye. My right arm hurt really, really bad. I couldn't move my right hand very well, and my arm was starting to get puffy. I hurt so bad that I couldn't help but start to cry. I lay down on my damp, smelly bed and tried to go to sleep. I lay there for a long time. I wanted to sleep, but I hurt too badly. Finally, long after the entire house was quiet, I fell asleep.
I woke up sometime later. I felt cold. I reached down with my arm that didn't hurt and felt my abdomen. I groaned and frowned as I discovered that I had wet myself again, just like last night, and the night before, and every night before that. My stomach suddenly turned cold on the inside. I knew I was in for another beating when they found out I had had another accident. I got hit every morning here for that.
I didn't know what to do. You'd think I'd just get used to being hit all the time, but it still scared me. Just knowing I was going to get beat in the morning was almost as bad as getting hit. I started to cry again in anticipation of the morning beating to come. Then, an idea that I had never thought of before crossed my mind. What if I wasn't here when they came to check my bed in the morning? If I wasn't here they couldn't beat me, right?
I stopped crying and lay there thinking about that. I could just leave and I'd be okay, right? But, if I left I could never come back. If I ran away and came back they'd beat me worse than I had ever been beaten before. But, if I never came back, what was I going to do? I didn't have anywhere to go. I didn't have any friends at school because I was always dirty and people said I smelled bad. Who would take care of me and feed me if I left? But wait…I didn't get but a tiny portion of table scraps tonight. My stomach was growling even as I thought of that. No one took care of me here. I knew for a fact they didn't love me. They told me they hated me nearly every day.
My options boiled down to either staying here and getting beaten again for wetting my bed, or running away and never coming back. At least I had a chance if I ran away. If I stayed I was guaranteed more pain than I was already enduring. And just like that, my decision was made.
I instantly started to get up. That turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. I hurt more now than I had when I came in here however long ago that had been. I was stiff everywhere. My right arm was still killing me. I pulled myself up and started for the door. My left ankle gave out, and I fell right back down to my knees. My left leg hurt really badly. I reached down and felt it. It felt sort of loose and squishy down by my ankle. I tried to ignore that, and I limped to the door.
I turned on the light in my room, my closet, and looked around to gather my stuff. I grabbed my shoes and put them on as best I could with only one hand. I was still wearing my only pair of jeans, which were of course wet, but I had nothing else to wear. I had a white t-shirt on, which I stripped off. I put on a worn-out, hand-me-down sweatshirt that was from two or three foster homes ago. I then looked around to see what else I should take. I had three more shirts, all of which stunk to varying degrees of my own, dried urine. My foster mother rarely did laundry, and, as I often slept in the same clothes I wore everyday—I couldn't remember ever having pajamas—they always got peed in. Even when she did laundry, my clothes often didn't get washed. I grabbed one of the shirts along with a thin jacket that I had.
That was it. I had nothing else. I considered going to the bathroom to get my toothbrush, but I didn't have any toothpaste to use with it. There was only one tube in there that my foster siblings and I shared, and if I took that I'd be stealing. If I were caught and had to come back here that would just be one more thing I'd be in trouble for, and they'd just hurt me more. For the same reason, I immediately dismissed the thought of taking any food with me. I was already taking a risk in running away, and stealing would only make things worse.
I then had to figure out how to get out of here. The mom and dad were both drunk, and probably sleeping like the dead, but I had to be careful not to wake up their two sons. I decided that the back door would be the best exit. From there I could go down the back alleyway that ran behind all the houses on the street. That way I might better avoid getting caught.
I did just that, and, after putting my jacket on, I went out the back door without being noticed. I went up to the fence and had to figure out how to get over it. The back gate into the alley was locked with a padlock, and I obviously had no key. It wasn't a really high fence, so I decided I could climb it. It was really hard to climb with my hurt arm and leg, but I finally managed to get to the top of the fence.
I started to go down the other side. I got myself hanging from the top by one hand. I was about to drop down, but I lost my grip before I was ready. I landed on my left ankle, and it immediately buckled underneath me. I fell down catching myself with my left arm. That only caused me pain in my left wrist, and I was just barely able to stifle a yelp of pain. I sat there for a second and took further inventory of my wounds. Now both of my wrists hurt, although the left one wasn't nearly as bad as the right. My ankle hurt even worse now. I decided that I had to ignore my pain right now. I had to get out of here quickly before someone found me. I took my bundled, extra shirt, which I discovered I had ripped on the fence, and I headed down the alley. I zipped my jacket up and stuffed my extra shirt inside of it. It was a little cold, as it was October, and I was getting a little chilly. The damp spot on the front of my pants only made me more uncomfortable.
I limped down the alley ever so slowly. By the time I made it to the end of the block I had to sit down and rest for a second. My arm and leg were both throbbing badly as was my head. I put my left hand up on my face. My left cheek was all puffy and my eye was swollen shut. It hurt badly and I wanted to cry, but I knew that wouldn't help anything right now.
After a few minutes of rest I got up and resumed my getaway. I crossed a street and continued down the alleyway. I got more scared with every passing moment. My foster home wasn't in a very good part of town. I could sometimes hear gunshots at night, and there were street corners we were told to stay away from at night because men sold drugs there. I knew at any moment someone could jump out of a dark corner and kidnap me. I decided that I had nothing to lose, though, so I kept going down the street.
I was also afraid that the police would see me. I was a little kid, and if any cops saw me out in the middle of the night they were sure to arrest me and take me a back to my foster parents, who would then beat me again.
I made it down to an area of town that had some shopping strips and other shops. It was about ten blocks from my foster home. I would have tried to go further, but it was already starting to get light, and I was hurting so much that I just couldn't go much further. I went behind a shopping center to find a place to hide. There was an electronics store that had several big boxes piled up behind it. I found a TV box that I could fit in and I crawled inside. I was freezing cold, but the box didn't provide much warmth. I curled into a little ball and tried to go to sleep.
I spent the next two days just hiding out behind the shopping center. I was too hurt to go anywhere else, so I just hid out back there in my TV box. I heard a few people and trucks go by, but I was able to remain hidden and quiet enough not to draw attention. I didn't sleep much because I was afraid someone might find me when I was asleep and try to hurt me. Whenever I did sleep, I always woke up wet. By the second day the bottom of the box was soaked. It was yucky, but I couldn't find another box that was big enough for me to hide in.
By the third day I was getting really hungry. I hadn't eaten since Tuesday when I ran away, and now it was Friday. I was nearly always hungry, but I hadn't ever been this hungry before. I decided that I had to find some food. I slowly crawled out of my damp, not so warm box. It was really hard just to stand up. Both my arms still hurt, though the right one was by far the worst, and my ankle was getting even worse. My right arm started hurting really badly as soon as I stood up. It was throbbing painfully inside the sleeve of my jacket. The last time I pulled my sleeve up to look at my arm it was all swollen and yucky looking, and it scared me, so I hadn't looked at it in a day or so. I zipped up my jacket partway and rested my arm inside of it on the zipper, which helped a little. I limped down the alley behind the shopping center and out to the main street. I think it was around the middle of the day, though I didn't have a watch, so I didn't think I would run into any of my foster family, as they were either at work or school.
I walked down the street trying to figure out where I might find something to eat. My stomach grumbled at me as I looked around trying to find a source of food. I considered maybe looking in a dumpster behind one of the stores, but they were pretty big and I couldn't climb into one with my arms and leg so messed up. I finally stopped in front of a small grocery store that was on one street corner. I knew there was food in there, but I certainly didn't have any money to buy any with.
About then, the idea of stealing came into my mind. I frowned at that. I knew stealing was bad. I didn't want to do that, but I didn't know what else to do. I was really hungry, and I was afraid I was going to get sick if I didn't eat soon. I looked around the corner down the side of the building. If I could get in and take a little something I could slip down that way and go down the back alley and hide somewhere. I looked back at the store's entrance. I took a deep breath and let out a sigh. I didn't have a choice. I was starving. I had to do this. I had made up my mind. I would go in, take one or two little things, and that was it. The next time I'd figure out some other way to get food without stealing, but this time I had to do it.
I took another deep breath and limped toward the front door. I slowly pulled open the door with my less-injured hand and slipped inside. I immediately saw a clerk at the checkout stand. Thankfully, he was talking to a customer, and he didn't even notice me come in. I quickly limped back into the store out of the clerk's view. I limped through the store trying to decide what to take. It had to be something small that I could conceal. It also had to be something that I could open. I had no can opener, so I couldn't get a can of beans or something like that. Finally, it had to be something that I didn't have to cook.
I suddenly found myself in the produce section. That was good. Maybe I'd take an apple. Apples were healthy and not too expensive. If I took cheap things maybe I wouldn't get in so much trouble if I were caught. Without a further thought I quickly reached forward and snatched the closest apple that I could grab. I quickly stuffed it in the pocket of my jacket. I looked around nervously to see if I might have been spotted. There weren't many customers in the store, and there wasn't anyone in my view. I limped over to another aisle. I was looking for some kind of meat figuring that would be the best source of energy. I found the canned tuna and chicken on one aisle. I thought I was going to have a problem since they were in cans, but I found a brand of canned chicken that had the top that could be pulled off without an opener. I got the smallest can I could find, again thinking that that would get me in the least trouble if I were caught.
I decided I had taken enough. I hadn't been seen stealing the apple or the can of chicken, but if I took any more I was more likely to get caught. I now had to figure out how to get out of the store without being caught. I decided that just walking out like normal would be best. I made my way back toward the front of the store. I went through another aisle and suddenly stopped. I was in the pharmacy aisle. There was medicine here. Medicine. Maybe I could take some medicine and that would help me feel better. I didn't know much about medicine, but I remembered being sick once. My foster mom gave me some red liquid that didn't taste very good, but it helped me feel better. But which one should I take for my hurt arms and leg and all of the other bruises? I looked at different boxes with bottles of medicine in them. I found one that said Tylenol. I remembered seeing a TV commercial for that one. I think that was supposed to help with pain and fevers, and I was definitely in a lot of pain. I reached up and quickly grabbed a package containing a bottle of Children's Liquid Tylenol. I figured that would be the best thing to take, seeing as I was a child.
I had just shoved the package in the pocket of my jacket with the apple when everything went wrong.
"Hey, Kid! What are you doing?" I heard a mean, male voice yell from behind.
It startled me so much that I jumped. I turned and saw the store clerk rushing towards me. Oh, God! What was I going to do now? Without even thinking, I turned and started to limp towards the store exit. I pulled the medicine out of my pocket and dropped it on the floor.
"I'm sorry," I cried to the guy behind me as I continued to try to leave. Maybe that would help.
I went as fast as I could, but I just couldn't go fast enough. I made it out of the aisle into the front area of the store, but that was as far as I got. All of a sudden the guy was behind me. He roughly grabbed onto the collar of my jacket and pulled me hard.
"Ow!" I cried out in pain.
"Who do you think you are, kid?" he said angrily. "I'm sick of you kids stealing stuff."
He pulled me backwards. He got me off balance, and my hurt ankle gave out underneath me. I fell to the ground crying out in pain.
"What's wrong with you?" he asked angrily. "Get up! Playing hurt won't help you. I'm calling the police."
"I'm sorry," I cried. I was sobbing uncontrollably by now. "I'll give it all back! I'm sorry!"
I took out the apple and can of chicken and handed to him.
"Where's the rest?" he asked still sounding mean. "Where are the candy, and the chips, and soda? That's what you kids always steal."
I just shook my head. I was crying so hard that I couldn't even talk.
"What are you hiding there?" he asked.
Without warning he reached down for my jacket. He grabbed my right arm roughly and pulled it out of my jacket squeezing my forearm hard in the process. A wave of pain went through me. It hurt worse than any pain I had ever felt before. It was like a combination of an exploding fire and a bold of lighting went up my arm all the way to my shoulder. The last thing I remember was screaming at the top of my lungs, and then everything went black.
I woke up sometime later, I don't know how long. I was confused because I found myself in a bed with clean white sheets and blankets on it. I couldn't remember the last time I woke up in a bed like that, if I had ever done it at all. My vision was kind of blurry. I looked around trying to figure out where I was. Suddenly, I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. Then, I saw a woman standing over me. She was fairly young and wearing a business suit.
"Hi, little fella," she said with a smile. "How are you feeling?"
I didn't say anything. I was too scared. Who was she? Was she a policewoman? A doctor? Was she here to help me, or take me back to my foster parents?
"I'm Shelly Morgan," she said. She pointed to an ID badge that was clipped to her suit jacket to prove who she was, "I'm with the Department of Child Protective Services."
Oh. She was a caseworker. None of them had ever helped me all that much. I silently groaned inside, knowing that I would probably be back in my foster home pretty soon.
"In case you're wondering, you're at the Children's Hospital," she told me. "You were hurt pretty bad. Your right arm is broken, your left wrist was sprained pretty badly, and your left ankle was broken, too. You have bruises all over you. Can you tell me what happened?"
I just stared at her. Should I tell her? She probably wouldn't believe me if I did.
"Okay. How about we just slow down and start at the beginning?" she suggested. "What's your name? We don't even know who you are."
I even hesitated at that. Should I tell her my name? If she didn't know who I was, how was she going to send me back to the foster home?
"Come on, big guy," she coaxed gently. "I'm not going to hurt you. Why don't you just tell me your name?"
"Th- Tha- Thaddeus," I stammered weakly. "Thaddeus Holmes."
"Okay, Thaddeus," she said. "It's nice to meet you. Do you go by Thad, or Tad, or something for short?"
"People call me Tad sometimes," I replied.
"Okay, Tad," she said. "So, what happened? Did you fall, or get hit by something…or someone?"
I just looked down and nodded.
"Someone hit you?" she asked.
I nodded again.
"John did it," I replied.
She definitely didn't know who my foster parents were. Maybe that was good.
"He's my foster dad," I said.
"And he hit you?" she asked.
I nodded. Suddenly a tear started to make its way down my cheek. She spent the next fifteen or twenty minutes asking me questions. I told her all about what happened that night in the foster home. She was shocked that it had happened on Tuesday, and I was only now getting help on Friday. I told her through my tears that I was too scared, and I thought that if I looked for help they'd just send me back.
"Am I gonna go to jail?" I asked cautiously when I was done telling my story.
"No, sweetheart," she said. "You're not going to jail. You didn't do anything wrong."
"Uh huh," I said. "I stole. That was bad. I'm a bad person."
I started to cry even harder then, overcome by the guilt of what I had done.
Then the lady did something that was totally surprising. She got up and came over to me. She leaned forward, grabbed me around the shoulders, and hugged me. That felt really weird. The last time I remembered being hugged was when the nice, old lady did it when I lived with her. She hugged me all the time, but I hadn't been hugged in so long that I forgot how nice it felt.
"You didn't do anything wrong, little man," the lady told me. "You were just trying to get a little food. The owner of the store said he's never seen anyone try to steal Children's Tylenol, and that's why he didn't press charges. You must have really been hurting if you were stealing medicine, huh?"
"Uh huh," I whimpered.
She held me closely for a few minutes until I calmed down and stopped crying.
"Okay, big guy," she said. "I need to go make a couple of phone calls, okay? I'm going to go right outside. I'll be just out in the hallway on my cell phone. If you need anything just yell for me, okay?"
I nodded again. She reached forward and gently wiped my tears away before she stood up to leave. She stepped out of the room closing the door behind her. I then started to look around. I first looked at myself. My bed was positioned so that I was sitting up slightly. I just then noticed how heavy my arms felt. They were both in casts that went up nearly to my shoulders. Each arm was bent at the elbow and fixed at a ninety-degree angle. The cast on my left arm was blue and the right one was green. I'm not sure what they were made of, but it wasn't that white, plaster stuff. Each arm was resting on a pillow on either side of me. I looked further down and saw that my left leg was propped up on some pillows, as well. It was also in a cast made out that same stuff. The cast went up to just below my knee, and it was striped in blue and purple like a candy cane. It looked pretty cool. My toes were sticking out of the end of the cast. I wiggled them and thought they looked kind of funny sticking out like that.
I wondered why I wasn't hurting any more. It was the first time in days that I wasn't hurting all over. Except for my leg, my lower half was covered in a sheet and a thin, hospital blanket. I was wearing a hospital gown. I wondered where my clothes were. I wasn't sure, but it didn't even feel like I was wearing underwear. I thought about lifting the covers to check, but I really didn't want to move my arms right now because they felt really good where they were. I decided to just put my head back and relax. There was a nice, soft pillow behind my head that I could rest it on.
I lay back, and I was actually about to fall asleep when the door opened. The lady came back in, but this time she also had a guy with her. He was wearing a white coat. He introduced himself as a doctor. He told me about everything that they had done to me while I had been unconscious. He said that they had actually had to break my right arm again because it had already started to heal crooked. He said walking on my left leg had kept my ankle from healing, so it hadn't started to set yet. He told me I was a "brave young man" for going for so long in so much pain. I actually smiled at that because I don't think I had ever been called brave before.
A little later, while the doctor was still there, another man came in. He was kind of a big guy and he was wearing a suit. He told me he was a detective with the police department. He took out a shiny badge and showed it to me. I thought that was cool. He wanted to know what had happened to me, so I told him everything about the last few days just like I had told the lady earlier. When I was done he told me that he had enough probable cause—I didn't know what that was—to get an arrest warrant—I remembered what that was from a TV show—for my foster dad. I asked if I was going to have to go back there, and he and the lady both told me "absolutely not."
Before he left, the policeman also told me I was brave and tough—I know I've never been called tough before. He said I should be a policeman when I grow up. I thought that was neat. Then, he let me see his badge again. He even put it in the fingers of one of my hands and let me hold it for a second. I asked if he had a gun, and he pulled his coat back and I saw a big, giant, black gun in a holster thing on the side of his belt. He wouldn't let me hold that, though, but that's okay because I remembered from a class at school that kids weren't supposed to touch guns.
I also asked the policeman if I was going to go to jail for stealing. I know the lady had told me that I wasn't in trouble, but I wanted to be sure. I was glad when he told me that I wasn't. He said I was just stealing because I was hungry, and the owner of the store didn't want to press charges.
The policeman and the doctor left leaving me with just the lady. I tried to remember to call her Miss Morgan. She was really nice to me, and I didn't know many people who were nice to me, so I had to remember her name. She kept talking to me to keep me company. After I called her Miss Morgan a few times she told me to just call her Shelly. I thought that was kind of cool. One of the only things I remember from living with the nice, old lady was that she taught me that I should always call grownups Mr., Mrs., or Miss because that's the polite thing to do. The only adults I ever called by their first name were my foster parents, but they didn't really count. So, I started calling the lady Miss Shelly, which she thought was silly but kind of "cute." She told me I was a very polite young man. This had to be one of the best days in my life. Three different people had paid me three compliments in one day. That didn't ever happen to me.
I asked her what they were going to do with me and if I was going to stay in the hospital tonight. She told me that she had already called some emergency foster parents, and they were on their way to pick me up. I started crying again when she said that.
"What's wrong, little man?" she asked me.
"I don't want to go with more foster parents," I sobbed. "They're always bad to me."
"I'm sorry, Tad," she told me. "But you have to."
"Can't you just let me go?" I asked. "I'll get a job, and earn money, and learn how to take care of myself."
She just smiled and said I didn't need to do that.
"The foster parents I called are different," she said. "They're very special. I've been saving them for a very special child, and you're going to be it. They're very, very nice, and they're going to take very good care of you."
"Are you sure they're not mean?" I asked cautiously.
"Yes, I'm sure. They're very nice," she said again.
"They won't hurt me?" I asked.
"I promise they won't hurt you," she said. "I swear they won't."
She promised and swore, so I figured she was telling the truth. Maybe these foster parents would be better. Still, I remained unsure. I had been told that my foster parents would be nice before and found out otherwise.
We kept waiting for what seemed like a long time. A nurse came in to check on me. She checked a bag of liquid that was attached to a clear tube that ran down underneath my hospital gown. I asked her what it was, and she said it was a bag of IV fluid. She told me that they put a little tube into a blood vessel on my chest to give me fluids and medicine with. I hadn't even noticed that. I couldn't feel it at all. She told me that they normally put it on a person's arm, but they had to move it when they put my arms into casts. She asked if I was hungry, but I told her I wasn't. I didn't know why I wasn't because I still hadn't eaten anything. I guess I was just nervous.
Finally, the door to the room opened once more, and two strangers came in. It was a man and a woman. The man was really tall and big. I probably would have barely come up to his waist if I were standing by him. The lady was much smaller, but she was still big compared to me. She was slim, but she looked like one of the ladies I had seen on the workout shows, like she worked out or ran a lot. She was also very pretty like the ladies on those shows.
Miss Shelly greeted them both, and then they came up to me.
"You must be Thaddeus," the lady said to me. "I'm Jan Bradshaw, and this is my husband, Peter. We came to see if you'd like to come stay with us for a while."
I just stared at them nervously. They looked nice enough, but I had had foster parents before that looked nice, and it turned out they weren't. The only thing that was different about them was they asked if I would "like" to come stay with them. That was new.
"Yeah, Thaddeus," the man said. "We'd really love to have you. Do you want to come home with us?"
That was definitely new. He had asked hopefully, like they really wanted me to come live with them.
"Um. Well. Okay," I said quietly. I still wasn't sure if I wanted to go, but it sounded like I'd hurt their feelings if I said no, and I certainly didn't want to do that.
"Good," said the lady. "We're glad."
With that Shelly got up and went out of the room. I was a little worried to be left alone with these strangers, but she came back just a minute later. She had that same doctor with her and another nurse. The nurse came over to me and checked on me. She told me that she was going to take my IV line out, but not to worry because it wouldn't hurt at all.
While she did that, the doctor talked to the Bradshaws and told them all about me. He told them where all I was hurt at, and he gave them instructions for how they needed to take care of me. He also told them that I was about eight or ten inches shorter than an average ten-year-old, and that I should weigh about twenty pounds more than I did. He said I was the size of an average six-year-old. I knew I was small, but I didn't know I was that small. He told them that I was small mainly due to malnourishment. I didn't know what that meant, but I decided not to ask because I didn't want to interrupt the grownups.
When the doctor was done, Mrs. Bradshaw came over to me with a small bag she had with her. She told me she brought me some clothes because Shelly had told her that they cut off all my clothes when I got to the hospital, and I didn't have anything to wear home. She and the nurse then pulled my gown off and helped me get dressed. Actually, they really did it all for me, since I really couldn't use my arms. It was kind of embarrassing because everyone saw me naked, and I couldn't cover myself up, but I really didn't have much of a choice.
After I was dressed in what felt like a brand new sweat suit, the nurse left and came back with a small wheelchair for me. She and Mrs. Bradshaw helped me out of the bed and into the chair. The nurse also brought two little pouch thingies. She said that they were slings to help hold up my arms in their casts. She and Mrs. Bradshaw put them on for me. They did take a lot of the weight of the casts off of my shoulders, which was nice. While they did that, Miss Shelly signed some papers for the doctor so they could let me go. Then, Mr. Bradshaw signed some more papers from Miss Shelly so that he and his wife could take me home with them.
The nurse and the doctor told me goodbye and good luck, and then Mr. Bradshaw got behind me and pushed me out of the room. His wife and Miss Shelly walked beside me as I was rolled through the hospital's hallways. We got on an elevator and went down to the first floor. Then I was pushed out of the hospital entrance where there was a covered driveway. I noticed that it was getting dark outside. The day had already gone by.
Miss Shelly and Mrs. Bradshaw waited with me while Mr. Bradshaw went to go get their car. A minute later, he pulled up in a big, expensive looking SUV. It said "Lincoln" on the side, so I guess that was the name of it. It was maroon in color, and it was so clean that it was all sparkly everywhere. I had never been in a car like that. I had only seen them a few times.
He got out of the driver's seat and came up to me after he opened the back door on that side. He reached down towards me. I immediately flinched because I wasn't used to someone coming so close to me. He put one arm under my legs and the other behind my lower back. Suddenly, without even grunting with effort, he picked me up and I was floating in the air cradled in his arms. I felt really high, like I was flying.
"Alright, big guy," he said. "It's time to go home."
I shivered with fear and uncertainty as he put me into the back seat of the SUV. The seat was made out of soft, kind of white, smooth material. I think it was leather, but I wasn't sure because I had never seen leather before. He set me down on the seat, and then reached up to pull the seatbelt down over me. He buckled me into the seat. He then reached further into the vehicle and produced a pillow for me. He put it on my lap.
"You can rest your arms on that, okay, buddy," he told me.
I just nodded. He then stepped back and Miss Shelly took his place in the open doorway.
"You have fun at your new home, okay Mr. Tad," she said.
I had never been called Mister before. That was kind of funny.
"Am I going to see you again?" I asked in distress. She had pretty much become my only friend on earth, and I didn't want her to go away.
"Of course you will, silly," she said with a smile. "I'll see you lots more, and real soon, okay?"
"Okay," I replied uneasily.
She leaned forward and I flinched again as she gave me a kiss on the cheek. I hadn't been given a kiss by anyone in a long time. It scared me to have her so close to me, but the kiss was kind of nice.
She told me goodbye and stepped away from the car. Mr. Bradshaw closed the door and moved forward to the driver's door. At the same time, his wife walked around to the other side of the SUV and opened the rear passenger door. She climbed into the back of the vehicle next to me.
"Are you comfortable, sweetie?" she asked me.
"Uh huh," I answered.
She reached into the back bench that was behind the two middle seats we were in. She pulled out another pillow. She reached over to me and I couldn't help but flinch as she moved in front of me. She put the pillow up against the door on the other side of me.
"You can lean up against that and rest, okay, honey," she informed me.
I just nodded.
She leaned forward again, and I flinched yet again as I received another kiss on the other cheek. She then climbed back out of the vehicle and climbed into the front passenger seat.
"Ready, kiddo?" Mr. Bradshaw asked me from the driver's seat.
"I guess so," I said timidly.
He put the vehicle in drive and it rolled forward. I waved as best I could to Miss Shelly who was still standing there. She smiled and waved back at me. A few minutes later we were on the highway headed out of town.
"You're going to like your new home, Thaddeus," Mrs. Bradshaw said from the front seat, turning around partway to look at me. "We've got a big house with lots of room."
"Where is it at?" I asked.
"A little over an hour from here," she said. "We live in McKinney."
I wasn't sure where that was, but I had heard of it before. It was a nice suburb pretty far north from the city.
"Um, so, what should I call you guys?" I asked shyly
"Well, you can call us Jan and Peter," she said. "Or Mom and Dad if you like, or even Mommy and Daddy. That's what your brother calls us, but you sisters call us Mom and Dad."
"Brothers and Sisters?" I asked fearfully
Brothers and sisters usually just meant additional tormentors for me.
"Uh huh," she said cheerfully. "You have a big brother, named Billy, he's twelve; and two big sisters, Andrea and Cecilia, who are fifteen and sixteen. They were really excited to hear they were getting a new brother."
I wasn't so sure of that. I had never had a foster brother that didn't pick on me or hit me. I only remember having a few foster sisters and they were mostly younger than me. I remember one sister who was older than me. She hated me because she could never have slumber parties with me there because she was embarrassed of my bedwetting.
Speaking of wetting the bed, that was another thing I was worried about. I hadn't told Miss Shelly or anyone else about that yet. I knew I was going to wake up wet in the morning. These people seemed nice enough now, but I was sure that would change tomorrow. Then, it would probably be back to the spankings, and hitting, and name-calling. I was really worried about that, but I guess there wasn't much I could do about it. I had long ago resigned myself to a life of suffering because of my night wetting.
"Sweetie," Mrs. Bradshaw interrupted my train of thought, "Why don't you lean over and take a little nap. You look tired, and it'll be a while before we get home."
I frowned thinly and nodded. I was pretty tired, but I really didn't want to go to sleep. I leaned up against the pillow on the door and thought about all the uncertainties that lay ahead. I fought off sleep for as long as I could, but I quickly lost that battle, like every battle, and drifted off to sleep.
I woke up a little later when I heard someone calling my name.
"Thaddeus, sweetie. Wake up. We're almost home."
I lifted my head off the pillow and saw Mrs. Bradshaw looking back at me. She had a big, warm smile on her face.
"Did you sleep well?" she asked.
I just nodded groggily. I would have actually liked to stay asleep. I was really tired from not sleeping much in the last few days. But then I forgot about that, because I suddenly felt that familiar, warm, wet feeling. I must have had another accident while I was sleeping. My worst fears had been realized. Now what was I going to do? I had ruined everything. These new people had been really nice to me, but I knew all that would change when they saw that I wet myself in my sleep. Almost immediately I started to cry. I was scared to death because I knew that I was probably going to get hit, or spanked, or even just yelled at in a few minutes. Then they'd probably not want me anymore. They'd probably call Miss Shelly as soon as we got to their house and tell her to send me back to my old foster parents.
All too soon the SUV pulled into the driveway of a big, huge house. I had never seen a house so big before. It was two stories tall and looked like there were hundreds of windows on it. It must have had hundreds of rooms. I bet it was the biggest house in the world. It was too bad that I probably wouldn't get to live there once they found out I was a bedwetter.
As they both got out of the front seats I started to shiver and cry more. I tried to find the latch to unbuckle my seatbelt. Maybe if I could unbuckle myself, I could get away and not get hurt. Unfortunately, the casts on my arms prevented me from reaching down by my waist where the buckle was. I was trapped until they let me out.
Before I knew it the door by me opened and Mr. Bradshaw was there. The lights in the cab were on and he could immediately tell I was crying.
"What's the matter, Thaddeus?" he asked me.
I knew lying would only make things worse, so I didn't.
"I had an accident," I sobbed.
"Uh oh," he said quietly.
"Please, don't hurt me," I begged pathetically.
"What?" he asked in confusion. "Why would I do that? It's just a little accident. Come here, son."
He reached forward. For the umpteenth time, I flinched as he leaned over me and unbuckled my seatbelt. He gently lifted me up and cradled me in his arms. He hugged me tightly to his chest and gave me a kiss on the forehead.
"I'd never hurt you, kiddo," he told me. "Especially not for having a silly, little accident."
By then, his wife had come around to us. She stood by us and brushed her hand through my hair to comfort me. They held me there for a few minutes until I calmed down a little.
"Come on, big guy," Mr. Bradshaw said to me. "Let's go inside, and get you to bed, okay?"
I sniffled one last time and nodded. They turned and I was carried toward the house. Without even thinking about it, I rested my head on Mr. Bradshaw's shoulder. The day had been such a long and tumultuous emotional roller coaster that I fell asleep before we even entered the house.