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I sat down on the couch and then it hit me as to just how tired I
was. I'm glad I was off tomorrow because I'm going to need the
sleep. I didn't see Dad go down the hall but he and Robert were
coming back into the living room then they sat down beside me. Dad
leaned over and kissed me saying, "Why don't you go to bed son?"

I had my head back and my eyes were closed as I said, "That means I
gotta move; don't it?"

"Hehehe," Dad giggled. "You're just a little too big for me to be
carrying to bed."

"Party pooper," I said just as I felt myself being picked up like a
baby and carried to our bedroom.

"Come on my baby," Robert said as he carried me.

"Da da," I said giggling.

Well, that was until I reached the bed and Robert dropped me. We got
undressed and then cuddled close to fall asleep. I was almost asleep
when Aaron came in and said, "Dad, Jeremy needs you. He says he has
to take a dump."

I got up and went down the hall to Jeremy. He was sitting up and I
could tell he was uncomfortable. "Dad, I'm sorry I had to get you up
but I gotta use the bathroom really bad."

"It's OK son," I said. "I was wondering when you'd have to go. Can
you hold it while I carry you?"

"Yeah Dad," he said. "Just hurry please."

I scooped him up and carefully got him through the doors. Aaron was
in there with his crutches and raised the lid. He helped me get
Jeremy standing on his good leg with his crutches then we helped him
sit down.

Jeremy started going but Aaron and I decided we could breathe better
if we waited in the bedroom. After 10 minutes, Jeremy said he was
done but couldn't clean himself. Aaron and I got him back onto his
good leg and I held him while Aaron took the cleaning duties. When
he was clean, Jeremy used his crutches to get back to their room. I
kissed the boys then went back to bed and quickly fell to sleep.

Jeremy had to stay off his broken leg for at least 3 days until it
started healing. The problem at our place was the doors were tight
and maneuvering with crutches was difficult. Fortunately for Dad
when I was at work, Jeremy didn't need to use the toilet when it was
just the two of them.

Sunday arrived and John, Billy and the boys were at the airport to
pick up John's parents. Jake stood back as everyone got hugs until
John said, "Come on son and meet your Grandparents."

"Oh my, son," she said gently hugging him. "What happened to you?"

"Nothing really," he said trying not to make a big deal about
it. "Some friends and I were riding our bikes and we had a little

One the way home, John explained what happened then stopped at our
house so we could see them. Pat had to meet the twins and dote over
the other wounded soldier before heading home to relax.

Big John and Pat were tired from the trip and decided to take a nap
before dinner. Jake's arm was bothering him and he needed some extra
attention. Before they knew it, it was 11 and everyone had to get to
bed as Monday was a school and work day.

Monday evening Jake was getting nervous about seeing his mother the
next day. He was clinging to John like a life preserver but did
manage to let Pat mother him some. John told his parents about what
Jake had gone through and Tuesday would be the last time he had to
deal with either of his parents.

On Tuesday, Jake was still acting nervous about going to court. He
just stood in the kitchen absentmindedly starring out the sliding
glass doors.

"Come sit down son," John said. "You were there when your Dad was
sentenced. Now today, your mother goes to court and Christine has
worked out a plea agreement. You shouldn't have to say anything
about what happened."

"Plea agreement?" Jake asked. "Is that where she says she did it and
then gets sentenced?"

"Well sort of," John said. "Christine worked out all the details and
I don't know all of them but she will be in prison for 8 years."

"That's good," Jake said. "But why am I here and not in school?"

John took a deep breath and said, "Well, I thought you would want to
be there too, like I said before."

"Um well," Jake started then thought about it. "Yeah, OK. I'll be

John leaned over and kissed Jake then said, "Great, so lets get
breakfast and we can go to court."

Jake put his arm in his sling and followed John into the kitchen
where Pat had two frozen waffles waiting for him. Joey leaned over
and gave Jake a syrup kiss. "Thanks Joey" Jake said. "A sweet kiss
from a sweet boy."

"Morning boys," Pat said as she sipped her coffee. "Slow down Jake,
it's not going any where."

Jake buttered and put syrup on his waffles and inhaled them. "Boy
Jake and Dad says I eat fast."

"I was hungry," Jake said wiping his mouth.

John drank down his coffee then hugged Billy and Joey as they went
off to school. After they brushed their teeth, John and Jake were
off to court. John and Pat kissed their son and Jake and
said, "We'll see you when you get back."

"Alright son," Big John said. "There is something we need to talk
with you about too when you get back."

Traffic was it usual nightmare and there were still traffic lights
out making it even more treacherous. They arrived at 8:45 and found
a parking place then entered the building.

They walked down to the courtroom where the first trial was and John
looked inside. The room was empty and he was about to turn around
when they saw Christine heading towards them. John quickly walked
over to her and said, "I haven't said anything about the adoption to
Jake yet. I don't want him knowing until she's signed the
recommendation and given up her parental rights."

"I understand John," she said. "Hi there Jake, what happened to you?"

"The twins and I went riding on Saturday and well we sorta bumped
into each other," Jake said. "Jeremy ended up with a broken leg."

"What happened to the other twin?" Christine asked.

"He got a little skinned up but he's fine," Jake said.

"I'm glad it wasn't any worse kiddo," Christine said as she signed
his cast.

They walked into the courtroom and Christine took her place at the
prosecution table. John and Jake sat behind her and waited until 9.
A man walked in and sat at the other table then Jake saw his mother
led in and was seated by the man. The next thing they heard was "All
rise, this court is now in session, the Honorable Judge Calvin Henry

"Be seated," the Judge said. "What is the first case today?"

"This is the state of Florida vs. Maria Curtis," the clerk
read. "She is charged with child endangerment and child abandonment."

"Very well," Judge Henry said. "I understand that a plea arrangement
has been worked out?"

"Yes Your Honor," Christine said.

"Is the defense in agreement?" the Judge asked.

The man looked at Maria and she nodded her head then the man
said, "Yes, Your Honor."

The judge then said, "Will the defendant and her council please
stand. Maria Curtis, you've been charged with 2 felonies. Child
endangerment and child abandonment, how do you plead?"

"Guilty Your Honor," she said.

Christine stood holding some papers. Your Honor, under the terms of
the plea agreement Mrs. Curtis will voluntary give up her parental
rights and agree to one other stipulation. May I approach the

"You may," the Judge said.

Christine set two documents before Maria Curtis and she signed them.
Her signature was witnessed by her attorney then Christine handed
them to the Judge. The Judge read them and asked, "Are you sure
about this?"

"Yes Your Honor," Maria's attorney said.

Christine returned to her table then pulled out another set of
documents then said, "Your Honor, the state has a motion to place
before the court."

He looked at the defense and he said, "No objection."

Christine then said, "Your Honor, the state hereby moves that John
Phillips adopt the minor child Jake Curtis."

"Really," Jake said surprised.

"Is that a problem Jake," Judge Henry asked him.

"N-no sir," Jake stuttered.

"What happened to your arm?" He asked.

"Bike riding with Aaron and Jeremy Saturday," Jake said. "We
collided and I got this but Jeremy broke his leg."

"Well, I hope you both get better soon," the Judge said. Mr.
Phillips, are you willing to adopt Jake and raise him until he's an

"I am," he said.

The clerk handed John the papers and he signed them and handed them
back. The clerk brought them to the Judge who stated, "Then it is
the order of this court that John Phillips is the legal parent of
Jake Curtis and that he will now be know as Jake Phillips."

Christine then said, "Your Honor, we also move that all records of
the adoption be permanently sealed, including all records now held
by DCFS."

"So ordered," the Judge said.

Christine picked up the strong box and another piece of paper and
brought it to the Judge. He looked it over and said, "It is the
order of this court that the contents of that strong box be put in
trust for Jake Phillips. Do you know of a trust attorney, Mr.

"Ah, yes Your Honor," John said. "Jess Martin is a good attorney."

"Very well," he said turning his eyes back towards Maria. "Maria
Curtis, you have pled guilty to the charges of child endangerment
and child abandonment. It is the judgment of the court and in
accordance with the plea agreement that you be sentenced to a term
of 15 years in prison with 7 of them suspended. ...

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