Vivian Tyler looked up from her cluttered desktop and smiled, “Lanie! I always have time for you. Come on in.”
“Is it okay if I pull the door shut for a moment?”
Ms Tyler sighed, removed her glasses, and beginning to rub the bridge of her nose, nodded and said it was okay as long as Lanie didn’t plan to submit her resignation. Lanie laughed nervously, shut the door, and then perched on the edge of a chair, across the paper strewn desk of her supervisor. That woman looked up, put her glasses back on, took a deep breath, sighed it out heavily, and said, “Okay kiddo … spill it!”
Lanie smiled nervously and passed Allie’s case file across the desk. “Brad and I want to adopt this little girl.”
A concerned look on her face, Lanie’s supervisor questioned, “One of your cases?”
“Yes and no. Can I begin at the beginning?”
“Usually a good idea. Go ahead.” Ms. Tyler leaned forward as if to pay closer attention and not miss a word.
“Brad responded to a domestic violence case last week. Murder suicide. The man shot his wife and then himself. Allie,” Lanie nodded towards the folder, “slept through it, hiding in the back of her closet. Evidently when the police heard that there was a child they spread out to look for her. Brad found her in the closet. She wouldn’t come out but she let him come in. Then she snuggled up against him and fell back asleep. She woke up again as he was putting her in a car seat. Somehow … in that little period of time … she stole his heart. He asked me to check into her case. I thought he was just following up so I traded cases with Liz. Then he wanted to go with me to tell Allie that he mother had died …” Lanie paused for a moment to take a breath and think.
Ms. Tyler raised one finely arched eyebrow, “you let him?”
“He’s with the police. We work with the police all the time.”
“I know! Yes, I let him come with me. We got there and Allie recognized him. She said she thought he was Jesus until he abandoned her!”
“Oh my goodness. How old is she?” Lanie was encouraged by a note of compassion in her employer’s voice.
“She’s 5. Anyway … we were still recovering from that when she told us that she knew her mother was dead because she had come to her in a dream and told her goodbye … and Brad asked if he could hold her … and she let him … and we all cried! I know she’s fine in the emergency foster home but leaving her there was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!”
“Lanie, I know. Some of these kids will steal your heart! You cannot save all of them. If you can’t deal with that … you won’t survive this job!”
“I know that! I do really! She’s different! This is the first time I’ve been more than vaguely tempted to rescue one of my kids and take them home as my own. Ms. Tyler … we want THIS child. We want to be her family and have her be ours.”
Ms. Tyler sighed as she leaned back in her chair and gazed across the desk at the earnest young woman. “Lanie … this isn’t a threat … but what if I told you that this could cost you your job?”