GUILTY BY BLOOD
Her hands trembled as she dialed the number to the adoption agency,
she wanted to keep her unborn child, but knew that between CPS and finances
there would be no way.
“ guardian angels this is Joan how can I help you? “ she heard a woman
“ y-yes I am Pregnant and I need to talk to someone about placing my baby
up for adoption” she stammered out.
“ OK sweetie first I need some information if you don't mind?” Joan asked her
seeming like this was normal. “ How far along are you, and is this your first baby?”
“ I am only two and a half months and this is my fifth baby” replied Janette
very matter of factly. “ I haven't seen a doctor yet, but after four kids I am positive
that I am pregnant, it's going to be a boy also. Cps took my kids and I lost them so if I
attempt to keep him they will put him in foster care too, I can't go through that again,
so I won't change my mind either. “ she continued more confident now.
“ alright hold on sweetie I am going to transfer you to ms. Shirley and she will help you, OK? “ she asked.
“ this is Shirley, How can I help you ?” she heard another woman answer.
“ my name is Janette, I need to place my unborn baby up for adoption, there
won't be any chance of me changing my mind. “ she sighed feeling the dread creep back up in her throat knowing this meant more people finding out about CPS and more judgmental people. She hated explaining what happened it felt like reliving it
all over again.
“ OK honey You do realize that in Texas there is only a 2 day waiting period
for you to change your mind once the baby is born right? “ Shirley asked making sure Janette would be prepared for the truth no doubt.
“ yes ma'am I am aware of that. I have two choices here, if I keep him CPS
will take him and he will be put in foster care like my older three children or I can place him for adoption where I can be sure he will be taken care of, My older children were taken by CPS I lost my rights it's a long story really, I haven't seen a doctor but this is my fifth pregnancy and I am positive I am pregnant also it's going to be a boy.”
the facts just plainly put out was how Janette dealt with the pain.
“ oh my now we will need actual proof but I'll take your word, how about you come down to our office on Wednesday OK ? And we'll get more information then sweetie. Say around 2:30 alright for you? “ Shirley's tone sounding sympathetic to her pain.
“ yes Ma'am I'll be there” Janette replied.
“ Alright Ma'am look forward to meeting you. “ Shirley ended the call.
She was positive that she was pregnant and that it was a boy, Her boyfriend
Paul wasn't the father, they had just gotten together after her Bad break up with
Her ex John, So She didn't look forward to talking to him again. Quite honestly
she could live the rest of her life happily never talking to him or having to face him again.
Paul told her that no matter what her decision he would be by her side and
support her, she felt so sure that he wasn't just saying that. Out of all anyone
she had dated she knew Paul was the one. She tried to tell herself to be calm that
it would be easier than anyone knew, however there would be no way for that,
an innocent child's life hung in the balance while she worried over details. Most mothers to be would be over joyed at the delight of another child, this would be a
nightmare for Janette.
All the rest of the day she attempted to forget and continue life as normal,
but to no avail her heart wouldn't let her mind be at peace. A million questions raced through her mind. What if the people didn't want him? What if they abused him? How were they going to tell him about his birth mom? How will the agency
choose the adoptive parents, will she get to meet them?
She turned her music on. Music had always been her way to forget
life's nightmares and escape from reality. After a few songs had played she heard the familiar notes to a song she had for so long loved and now dreaded to hear, her heart wouldn't allow her to change it.
“ She gets in her car, October Friday night, home from work down thirty one
passed Franklin high” Michelle wrights unique voice angelically sang. “ she can see the stadium lights she can hear the band a thousand crazy high school kids screaming' in the stands, Quarter back and homecoming queen love to young to know what it means she goes back in time oh in her mind it's like a dream, he would be sixteen. The son she never knew, Hurts so much to give him up but what else could she do? He would be sixteen.” the song continued as if god purposefully placed it on the play list.
“ a child should have a home she knows her folks were right, she never heard the
couples name just that they were nice, she wonders if he's taller than his father was
does he drive a car by now has he been in love she shakes back to reality
she knows things turned out the way they should be but she just can't help but ask herself does he know about me? He would be sixteen, hurt so much to give him up but
what else could she do, he would be sixteen she never even got to hold him and nights like this it hurts to miss the the son she's never seen he would be sixteen
he would be sixteen.... “ the song ended as Janette's tears flooded down her face,
the pain of the song showing too well. The words searing in her heart meaning more than ever before now.
Janette knew what most parents who wanted to adopt a baby were looking
for, she had waited until she was 10 to be adopted out of foster care. She could still remember the times where the case worker would move her and her brother Martin to another
foster home. She dreamt each night of parents, a mommy and daddy that would
treat her like their princess and they could live happily ever after. But this is the real world,
where kids are bought and sold like used cars. Most foster parents don't want to adopt and
those who do either wanted her or her brother never both at the same time.
So for Janette allowing CPS to take another child of hers was out of the question.
After she had composed herself, she decided to call her friend Sarah, hoping that she would
be in her right mind to talk, that was always a hit or miss with Sarah. Sarah had Bi-Polar
disorder and most days she only wanted to complain to Janette about how bad
her life was and how bad her relationship was, Janette would listen and try to help
but after six years she grew weary of the constant complaining/
As Janette listened while the phone rang she tried to keep her mind off all this
baby mess, after five rings she decided to hang up obviously Sarah wasn't home or just
didn't want to answer. Sarah didn't have much so Janette always tried to help her.
She could never shake the feeling that her friend was using her, but she didn't want
to entertain the notion.
For the longest time Janette sat there staring at the Photo of her
youngest daughter that hung on the wall, those Crystal blue eyes, golden hair, and
angelic smile had always captivated her, Cary Anne had always been the child she
would turn the world around for, she was the child she still fought for. Cary was
the child Janette would never allow CPS to take again if she could stop them.
As she sat there looking into a picture of her daughter, she recalled just how it
felt two years ago when she had gotten the news. Her tears seeping in silence as she
felt the pain of more heart ache.
She recalled the roller coaster of August 4.2005 Happy then sad then
fearful then heart wrenching. She had just given birth to her fourth child a son she
fittingly named Chance Jeffery, out of all her children he was by far the smallest.
Weighing a mere 5 lbs 4 oz he had been labeled failure to thrive. He wanted to sleep
and he didn't want to eat, so the doctors placed him in NI CU. Within a couple days
he began to thrive and eat well. She was relieved until Ms. Jones appeared in the
door way of her hospital room. Janette tried to pretend she didn't know why she was
there, but she knew. When you grow up around CPS you come to know there look
their badges they wear and all the signs like the familiar file folder.
“ Ms. Payne I'm Terry Jones from Children services, may I have a moment of your
time?” the rather tall black woman asked her with no emotion.
“ sure “ Janette managed to spit out. She felt like her lungs were being squeezed.
The woman walked into her room, and sat at the visitors chair, as she opened the
very full folder she held and said “ I'm here for two reasons, one is you don't have insurance
and two your daughter is in our custody, Cary Anne told her aunt Barbra that your
husband, touched her, so we pulled her. He says you abandoned the child is that true?'
Ms. Jones explained as if it was all normal while Janette struggled for mere words.
“ what how ... where did he touch her, and as far as my son I have applied for
Medicaid and still haven't gotten an appointment, as far as my husband, we have been separated for Two years no I didn't abandon her I have called CPS repeatedly for help and
you all tell me every time that she is better off with him. I want to see her now!” Janette's
voice grew louder she struggled to comprehend what was going on. “ How in the hell can
you sit there and tell me this as if it's just a flat tire? Where is Cary?”
“ hold on you can't see her for a while until we evaluate the situation, and until we
figure out which parent is better and a court has the final say. Now is it true you left
her in her father's custody? “ she asked her with a sarcastic tone as if Janette had
known he would hurt her daughter.
“ yes I left her in her father's custody, because I felt since he had a roof she
could be taken care of temporarily, and last time I checked it's not child abuse to make a father
accountable, as far as I have ever known he has never touched her. “ Janette shot out as her
obvious tears fell in streams down her face.
“ is it true or not that Mr. Payne was abusive to you, ?”
“ No it was all roses why the hell else would I leave? God that was a dumb question”
she spat back by this point not caring what the bitch thought.
“ Now there is no need to be un-cooperative and rude now”
“ yea there is you are so I am and I know CPS you ass wipes raised me so
if I am such a horrible parent look in the mirror the apple don't fall far from the tree”
Janette cut the worker off .
Thinking back she knew that those statements were why they took Chance and she was
now fighting for Cary and going to loose her un-born son.
She had always been one to speak her mind, and quite often it
offended people or got her into trouble. So it was no different for her to talk
the way she did to Ms. Jones. Janette knew that deep down the woman was
just doing what she felt was right and trying to support her own family. Just once
she thought that the system should place these workers in the situations that these
parents have to deal with.
Janette waited for Paul to get home from work before she told him about her
appointment on that Wednesday. She knew he would support her decision but she also knew
that for his own reasons he didn't agree with adoption. But he understood her reason's, He
too had been adopted, for him it was twice and it left a bad impression about adoption in
his mind. He had seen his fair share of CPS also and had a similar opinion of them
to hers. The difference is he beat them at their game. They didn't get to keep his
son and daughter.
Eight years earlier Janette's adopted mom Regina had passed away, she always
felt relieved her mom wasn't alive to see her loose her battles with CPS. Regina and
George Payne had adopted thirteen children over a 28 year period. Eleven of which
were from the foster care system and labeled unlovable and unwanted. They were strict and
Janette never really got along with her mom, but she always loved her and respected her.
Her mother had never given up on her no matter what she did as a child. George
was a factory worker for Fleetwood mobile homes and a volunteer fire fighter and EMT.
He had always been quiet, strict and followed the straight and narrow. His stern voice
could strike fear into any child. At a height of 6' 4” and a weight of 275 lbs he had the imposing
frame to back it up. Back when the Payne's adopted her they also adopted her brother
Janette decided that she should keep her hands busy, maybe she could think
of something else. She got up and went into their bedroom and sat in front of her
computer, pulling up a blank MS word form and began to type., as she typed her tears kept
falling. She sat and wrote the details of her kids being taken. The words she later read
seemed almost like someone else wrote it and she was only reading it. Her whole life she
loved writing. Now she saw the absolute beauty in the words she read.
She finally got enough of the tears and went into the kitchen. Opening the
pantry she pondered over what to make for dinner, Paul worked at a fast food restaurant as a manager and she knew how he would appreciated a home cooked meal.
She found the bag of strogenaugh noodles and the cans of aspergras,
“ hmmm I bet he will enjoy that” she thought to herself as she pulled the
bag of frozen steak from the freezer.
“ wow that smells good sweetie '” Paul complimented as he walked in the door.
“ thanks are you ready for dinner babe? “ Janette replied
“ sure “ he said as he headed for the bedroom to change out of his work clothes.
As they sat there eating dinner and watching television she explained to him about the adoption agency and her appointment.
“ you sure this is what you want to do?” he asked trying to make sure she was ready for the pain in store for her.
“ It's the lesser of two evils at this point, I won't see CPS get another one of
my kids. Plus I have to in order to get Cary back. She needs to be away from her father.” Janette reasoned with Paul, knowing that out of all the people she knew he would understand.
“ well it won't be easy you know that right” he asked her, his eyes searching her reaction to see if she understood how hard the actual act would be.
“ I know but I want to have the peace of mind and I have to get my daughter out of her father's custody legally, every day that she is there is another opportunity that CPS has given him to rape her again. I am her mother and I am supposed to protect her, I can't fight CPS for him while getting things in order to get her back.” she continued to explain to him in a way to show her thoughts so he could see she had no choice.
“ well are they going to let you meet the parents?” Paul questioned curiously.
“ I'm not sure yet, I'll ask them on Wednesday.” she answered as she took their dinner dishes to the kitchen. She walked back into the living room as he started their favorite movie “phantom of the opera” smiling she quickly sat down and eased into his comforting arms to watch.
All Tuesday long Janette went over in her mind exactly what she thought was going to happen the next day. She had always wondered why it was so one sided in laws of the parents, I mean a father can be a dead beat and still see his kids, even failing to pay support. But the mother is expected to raise them, work feed and cloth them, make sure they stay safe, and do it perfect? But in today's society men earn a larger wage than women. Her mind was always filled with questions like this, she had always watched the world around her and
evaluated it as she went on.
No matter what she did to try to occupy her mind it didn't work, she fretted over every detail and question that she had about adoption, the more she thought about it the more
she worried about it.
“ would they judge her because of the CPS cases? Were they going to be nice and actually care about her concerns? Would she have to go to court and face another judge looking
down at her like she were a criminal?” she felt she was in a catch 22 “ no way out now girl” she thought to herself.
Janette had always been a tomboy, so dresses weren't her style but however strange it seemed she did own a few. So on Wednesday afternoon she chose to wear one with her black heels. She had never been considered a model of beauty but she did have a striking figure at
5'2” she was rather short weighing a mere 130 pounds even after four kids she felt confident of herself since she left her ex-husband. Her dark brown hair cascaded passed the middle of her back, showing her native American roots. Her eyes had always been her favorite feature a mysterious hazel color that would change from time to time. Her skin had the olive tan look too it so it looked as if she attempted to tan even though that was by far not one of the beauty tips she agreed with, She always thought that if a person is liked for their looks it's not right so she wore what she wanted and how she felt no matter what others might have said.
Her reflection meeting her desire, she stood back and had to smile, she had formed into a lady where her mother said it would be impossible. Her make up highlighted her natural high cheek bones and extenuated her almond shaped eyes. She had been one who always wore a pony tail, but here recently she started wearing her hair down letting it fall loosely down her
back. She took a deep breath and told herself “ time to put your game face on girl”
When she arrived at the agency she found herself surprised
they had a small modest office where once had been a house.
The secretary Joan told Janette to wait at the front while Shirley finished her call and then they would be back to get her. While she waited she
noticed the large amount of baby photo's on the wall with notes from adoptive parents and birth mothers. She saw a sign that brought her heart to a stand still .
“ A child learns what they live” was it's simple message. She thought of all the years
she had done her best to be different from what her adopted parents wanted her to be, or what CPS had labeled her to be and she wondered if she could be abusive like they told her
that her real parents had been?
“ Ms. Payne? “ Janette heard a soft spoken voice call to her, “ if you would please follow me ?”
Janette followed the middle aged woman down the hall to a room converted into an office
the hole agency had a comforting feeling cozy and happy. She thought of all the questions she
wanted to ask trying to remember that she needed to be careful and choose the agency she dealt with very cautiously.
As they entered the office the woman gestured towards a sitting chair in front of the antique oak desk and said “ Ms. Payne my name is Shirley Poe, I am going to be your caseworker if you choose our agency, I understand you will have a lot of questions so I am going to tell you about our agency and then I will answer any questions you may have OK?
“ yes ma'am” Janette found her self barley able to answer.
“ we are a small agency, we specialize in adoptions that are usually considered out of the norm, as in single parents adopting or gay and lesbian couples. Each prospective adopter goes
through several background and physiological as well as home studies. Now it is the birth mother's choice they can choose the parents or we can. In choosing the parents you also get
to meet them and get to know them. A lot of them want to know about the birth mother's life they want to know her and see photo's of her other children and have memento's. Of course it's all up to the mother. We set you up with a doctor and if you qualify you can get Medicaid and food stamps, if you need it we offer the use of furnished apartments while you are pregnant. We give an allowance for maternity clothes also. Do you have any question's so far Ms. Payne?” Shirley asked peering into Janette eyes as she had tears falling down her face.
“ I know what I have to do ma'am but it's so hard...” Janette sobbed
as she tried to compose herself. She had always been able to hold her composure most of the time but here lately if felt as if she were falling apart
Her heart was breaking and nothing could stop it.
“ Ms. Payne I understand just how hard this is, I am truly sorry that
it has come to this but here you won't find a single person who is going
to judge you. We have seen a lot of these cases in the last few years.
The child welfare system has too many flaws and mother's like you get
caught in the cross hairs. Honestly you are doing what is right, if they
pulled the other children, they will pull this one, it's better for you to
choose his parents and know that he will be taken care of. “ Shirley did
her best to console the young woman sitting in her office. She thought
of how many times she had seen mother's tears fall right in that
arm chair. “ lord if these walls could talk they would paint a picture
that even Hollywood couldn't make a movie of...” she thought to herself.
“ I know, where do I go to take the test ma'am” Janette asked more
composed then earlier.