Freebie Shorts #17 Adoption Day
This story was included as bonus content in the Graveyard Shift Vol 1 boxset. I’ve posted it here so readers who already own the books don’t have to buy the boxset to get the bonus content.
*takes place ten years after the ending of The Mortician*
Today’s the day. The day the three of us become an official family. After lengthy discussions about having kids and how we’d go about it, Miles and I decided to foster paranormal children and adopt because there’s so many children in the world without families. Our first child was placed with us a year ago. Trent was five years old at the time and had already seen how harsh the world could be. His parents were bond mates and in a fit of rage the father killed the mother when he found out she was pregnant with another man’s child. Trent saw the whole thing. The father was arrested but since they weren’t part of a pack and no other family could be located Trent was put into the paranormal council’s foster care system. He was placed with another family before us but a council social worker stopped by for a surprise visit discovered Trent had been left on his own for days.
According to the report we were given when Trent was placed with us, the
parents he’d been placed with had gone for a run in animal form and were shot
and killed by poachers. The social worker assigned to him tried to place him with
another family within the pride of cougars but they all refused to take him in. The
pride was superstitious and when the parents were killed, they saw Trent as a bad omen and believed anyone who took him in would surely die themselves. It’s why Trent had been left on his own. They refused to even associate with him. When I found out, I was so pissed I was ready to go to that pride and kick all their asses
but the social worker assured me the entire pride had been charged with neglect
and had to pay a hefty fine because they couldn’t put all of them in jail. The pride
was also blacklisted so no other children from the foster system can ever be
placed with them. Which is a good thing in my opinion because it saves any future
children from going through the same thing Trent did but also sad because any parents from that pride who want to foster will have to transfer out in order to do
Miles pokes his head into the bathroom and says, “Are you ready to go?”
I fix my tie for the millionth time and nod. “Yep. Where’s Trent?” I’m nervous as hell and it’s making my hands shake so bad I could barely get my suit jacket buttoned. Really, I shouldn’t be nervous at all because I know the hearing will go our way but that doesn’t stop the little voice in the back of my head from wondering what if it doesn’t? What if they decide to take Trent from us instead? Miles pulls me into a hug and his scent works wonders in calming the impending panic attack the thought of losing Trent brings about. He always seems to know exactly what I need. Miles kisses my forehead and says, “He’s in the front room of the suite waiting for us. You’ve been in here a while and I was starting to worry.”
Looking at him, I peck a kiss to his lips and say, “I’m fine. I was just lost in
thought, remembering when Trent first came to us and the circumstances
surrounding that time.”
Miles takes my hand and squeezes it reassuringly. “That was a tough time,
but Trent’s with us now and here’s where he’ll stay. So let’s get going. We don’t
want to be late for our own hearing with the council.” The hearing is really just a
formality to finalize the adoption and shouldn’t take long. When Trent’s biological father was arrested, his rights to Trent were terminated so Trent could be placed with a loving family. Especially, since his father is still alive and serving a very lenient twenty-five-year prison sentence in the shifter council’s jail. I think they went a little too easy on him but in a twisted way, I can see why they did. Shifters are possessive of their mates both bonded and fated so it’s not a stretch to see why Trent’s father snapped. Though if it were me, I would’ve killed the idiot who put their hands on my mate consequences be damned. The short prison sentence
worries me because I’m afraid he’ll come looking for Trent after he gets out. Since
I don’t know the kind of man he is, I’m uncertain of what to do if that time ever
comes. While I’d never stop Trent from getting to know his biological father if the
guy is a good man who did a bad thing out of anger, I’m secretly hoping the man
never comes looking. Maybe that makes me a terrible person, but it’s how I feel.
Trent is my and Miles’s son and I’ll never let anyone get in the way of that.
Shaking off those thoughts before I get worked up over something that hasn’t happened, I chuckle at Miles’s barely contained enthusiasm as I let him lead me out of the bathroom and into the main area of the hotel suite we’re staying in. Trent is sitting on the couch looking adorable in his little suit. I tried to tell him he didn’t have to wear one but he said he wanted us to match and that was that. When Trent sees us, he hops off the couch and runs over to us, a big grin on his face. “Daddy, Papa, is it time to go?”
Miles and I grin at him and nod our heads. Trent puts his little hand in mine and we leave the suite. It’s right next to the elevators so we don’t have to walk far. Trent is fascinated by the elevator and loves pushing the buttons himself. Over the last year we’ve watched him blossom from the skittish quiet little boy he was to the rambunctious happy child he is now. It’s been an amazing thing to experience and I look forward to seeing him grow up. The hotel we’re staying in is owned by the paranormal council. It’s convenient because the council building is directly across the street from this hotel so we only need to walk over when the elevator lets us out in the lobby.As we walk out of the hotel, my ears are assaulted by the loudness of a city bustling with people. It’s a big change from the quiet of Phantom Creek and I’ll be glad when we return. I forgot how much I hated cities. The noise, the people, and the smells always get to me. I’d kill for some pure fresh air right about now. Trent hits the button on the crosswalk and we wait for it to signal that it’s safe to cross. Trent is bouncing on his toes and I know he’s excited not just for our family becoming official but for the trip to the aquarium we promised to go on after the hearing. When the light on the crosswalk signal changes, I have to tighten my grip on Trent’s hand so he doesn’t dart across the street without us. I know he’s excited but the last thing I want is to see him get hurt if an idiot were to run a red light. After looking both ways to make sure no one is going to be an idiot, wehurry across the street and enter the council building. The receptionist at the
front desks asks, “Can I help you?”
Miles says, “We have a hearing with the council at one.”
The receptionist types something into the computer and asks, “Are you the
A big grin crosses both our faces as we both say, “We are.”
“I’ll need to see some ID before I let you up.”
Miles and I show her our ID’s and after inspecting them, she hands us visitor passes and says, “Take the elevators to the fifth floor. You’ll go through a security check there before being shown to the council chambers where the hearing is being held.”
With a nod, we take our passes and walk over to the elevators. Once we
arrive on the fifth floor, we’re taken through security. They double check our
identities, pat us down to make sure we have no weapons, then escort us into the
room where the hearing is being held. We’re the only ones in the room aside
from the guards and the council. The man in the middle of the group says with a
smile, “Welcome. I speak for all of us here when I say, we’re glad to have a hearing that’s doing something good today. All too often, we gather here because of the worst people in our society. Today’s hearing is a refreshing change we hope
to have a lot more of despite how short this hearing will be.”
Standing here now, my nerves hit in full force once again. The fear that they’ll deny our request and try to take Trent from us threatens to consume me. It’s irrational since there’s no way it’ll happen but my brain isn’t listening right now. My thoughts are spinning on a loop, coming up with scenarios like a long-lost family member suddenly coming out of the woodwork to claim him or his father getting out of prison way too early and having the council reverse the decision that terminated his rights. Miles squeezes my hand reassuringly but it doesn’t help much.
With a chuckle, the councilman winks at us and says, “I won’t keep you in
suspense any longer. This council has approved your request for adoption. As of
this moment, Trent Alexander Smith is Trent Alexander Sullivan. Congratulations
to the new family.”
The councilmembers cheer, whistle, and clap in congratulations and I exhale a sigh of relief. Thank the gods. Crouching, I wrap Trent in a hug and say, “It’s official now bub. You’re our son and no one will ever take you away from us.”
Trent smiles at me and asks, “Can we go to the aquarium now?”
Barking out a laugh, I ruffle his hair and say, “We sure can.”
As we turn to leave, the councilman says, “Wait, there’s just one more thing.”
Miles asks, “What’s that?”
The councilman looks at Trent and asks, “Trent, how do you feel about becoming a big brother?”
I stare at the councilman with wide-eyes, wondering what he’s getting at. My heart is pounding as I consider the implication. Trent only just started asking for a sibling to play with and we’d made an appointment with the social worker who handled his case to discuss taking on another child. When we first started this journey we decided we’d start with one and go from there. Our concern was
being unable to handle more than one child at a time and also fearing the possibility of the child being ripped away from us and returned to their families
after we’d gotten attached. While I still don’t think I can handle the latter, I’m
willing to take a chance on another child. No matter what happens in the future.
Trent tells the councilman, “I’ll be the best big brother ever.” The serious expression on his face and the conviction in his tone shows he really wants to be a big brother.
The councilman smiles and waves a hand to one of the guards who opens a side door. A woman walks carrying a baby that can’t be more than a year old with a diaper bag over her shoulder. When the mocha skinned baby turns his green eyes on me and smiles I fall in love. There’s no way I’ll be leaving here without him. Before I can express that sentiment to Miles, the woman stops at our side and the councilman says, “This little one is Kingston. No last name. He was left
outside of a police station with no identification a month ago. Since we haven’t had any luck in locating his birth parents or any other family, we’re placing him with a foster family. Which brings me to my question for you. Would you be
willing to take him in? If so, we’ll fast track your adoption and he’ll leave here as
I glance at Miles and see the love in his eyes as he stares at Kingston. Knowing he’s definitely on the same page as me means there’s only one way to answer.
Turning my attention to the councilman, I say, “Of course we’ll take him.”
Trent cheers and jumps with a fist raised in the air, “Woohoo, I get a baby
brother,” making all of us laugh. The woman hands Kingston to me along with the diaper bag and says, “There’s enough supplies in there to last for a few days until you can get everything you need for him. I also included a list of tips and tricks with foods he likes and his daily schedule so you aren’t being thrown to the sharks when it comes to his care.” I thank her, then turn my attention back to the councilman who is passing paperwork between each of the members to sign. Once they’ve all signed the documents, the middle councilman tucks them into a folder and says, “This is your paperwork. It includes the finalized adoption papers and new identification papers for both children. I was hoping things would go this way so I took the liberty of preparing everything for Kingston. I don’t know what I would’ve done if you’d said no. Now, what middle name do you want to give him?”
Miles says, “James,” then glances at me with a raised eyebrow as if to ask,
what do you think? I nod my agreement.
The councilman writes that on the papers then hands the folder to the woman who tucks it in Kingston’s diaper bag.
After another round of congratulations and a photographer appearing to take a photo of us as a family that’ll be mailed to us later, we leave. While this turn of events was completely unexpected, I wouldn’t change it. We came here today knowing we’d leave with one son and now, we’re leaving with two. Already, I look forward to the day when we add a daughter to the mix. We live a wonderful life, and it only gets better from here.
I can’t believe that just happened. I never expected to walk out of that hearing with two children but the instant I saw Kingston, I fell in love with him. If the council had no intention of asking us to take him in, I would’ve fought like hell
to get them to change their minds. I’m glad I didn’t have to. As soon as we’re in
the elevator, I ask, “Can you believe it? I feel like we’re in a dream.”
Dimitri chuckles and says, “I didn’t expect this but I can’t say I’m not overjoyed by the turn of events. My heart is so happy, I feel like it could burst.”
Putting my arm around him, I tuck him into my side and kiss his temple. “I feel the same way.”
Trent asks, “We’re still going to the aquarium right?”
Dimitri looks down at our son who is holding his hand and says, “Of course
we are, bub. We promised you we’d go and we don’t break promises.” When
Dimitri and I discussed starting our family, one of his biggest rules was that we never make promises we can’t keep so we don’t cause unnecessary disappointment. Once we’ve exited the council building, I pull my phone out and order us an uber to take us to the aquarium. I do wish the council had thought to give us a car seat for Kingston but we’ll just have to settle for holding him until we can stop and get one. Kingston’s cooing draws my attention and I grin at him. Tucking my phone back into my pocket I hold out my arms and feel my heart swell with happiness when Kingston immediately reaches for me. Taking him from Dimitri, I hold Kingston close and press my nose to the top of his head. Taking in his scent, I know he’s a shifter but I’m unfamiliar with what kind. It’ll be a surprise we can look forward to.
After a few minutes our uber arrives and we pile into the SUV. The ride to
the aquarium only takes fifteen minutes. We head inside the massive building, get
our tickets and rent a stroller for Kingston. As soon as Kingston is strapped in, I
look down at Trent and ask, “Ready for an adventure?”
Trent cheers, “Yeah!”
Grinning at him, I say, “Then let’s go have one.”
I hope you enjoyed this glance into Miles and Dimitri’s life years after their story.