I continued my visitation time with Camaro. Every Saturday morning I would drive to his house, collect him and a selection of his toys and bring them back to my house. We would play cars, go to the beach, work in the yard and garden, talk to the cat, and go to parks. He would spend the night and then I would take him back to Patty and Sly on Sunday – leaving the toys we brought behind at my house for the next visit. The idea was to have a gradual transition – to lessen the blow of moving from one home to another; from one set of parents to another. In retrospect, it seems silly – really, how can you expect a small child who has only loved one set of parents to suddenly be ok moving in with another? – but we did our best. Every week, Patty and Sly promised that they would explain the situation to Cam and try to break it down into digestible bits for him. They, afterall, knew him best.
But every week, they did not tell him – claiming that it was too hard on them.
After a couple of months of this, I called the caseworker and was granted a “Move In” date. In the end, it was I who went for one last visit and drew out, on paper, a story that explained to Cam that Patty and Sly were not his biological parents, and that I was there to become his “Forever Family”. That was all he got, as far as information goes. And while he was a very young boy with intellectual disabilities that brought his chronological age down to the equivalent of someone younger than 4 years, I still had very mixed feelings over the fairness of the whole transaction……. He really didn’t have a chance of understanding the course of his life. Change of placement? Check.
Fortunately for both of us, this was his last one.
Camaro moved into my life and home as my son on June 29, 1998. The car was packed to the gills – full of Patty and Sly’s regrets and guilt that took the form of dozens and dozens of Matchbox cars and bedding and clothes and riding toys and yard tools and room decorations and shoes and diapers and more trucks and diggers and photos. They both stood crying in the driveway – kissing and dripping all over the little boy in my arms – talking over each other – desperate to keep us there and struggling to say goodbye. At last, we both got into the car and I pointed us north on the freeway. Camaro held my hand as we drove, and I sang to him all the way home.