Friday, June 30, 2006

David's Story Part 30: Fall 2004

2004-2005 should have been David's senior year, except he had failed every course his sophomore. So he was a junior. His educational plan had shifted while he lived with us. Initially we expected him to do two years while living with us and then go to Job Corps to finish high school. He decided fairly quickly that Job Corps was not for him, and started talking about staying with us for three years. We loved the idea. David's main concern was how much freedom he would have.

There were two issues: our rules and the system rules.

First the system: until he was 18 he could not spend the night anywhere unless there was an adult who had had a back ground check. There were a couple of people he could stay with: Jose, the director of the youth group for GLBT kids; and Betty a lesbian who was also the director of the church youth group. He rarely stayed at Betty's. He liked her, but she was out of the way and then of course there was her partner and their three little girls. David has always been friends with girls, but there is a limit.

Jose's house was cool. He had a giant television, a large video library, and every sort of gaming equipment around. Carl had spent the night there more than once when the youth group was doing something that would run late (like a dance).

In the fall we were working it out okay. David had a finally got a job at a local restaurant and that and school kept him in Our Small Town most of the time. Usually we took him to church with us on Sunday. K, who attended our church, would take him with her and then take her to youth group in the evening. Every now and then he would have a Saturday night off and we would confirm with Jose that he could stay there and we would drop David off on Saturday with Robert.

On Wednesday nights the youth group all met at a coffee shop. There was no program, just kids hanging out. We had a incentive plan with his study skills teacher. If he was caught up on his work she would give him a "ticket" to the Wednesday night youth group meeting. He got a ticket nearly every week. He was keeping up with his work and I had an excuse to spend a couple hours with friend of mine who had moved to The City. Everyone was happy.

David often asked what would happen when he was 18, would he be able to spend the night with other people? We said yes. He wanted to know how much freedom he would have. We kept telling him that we did not have a fixed rule. If he was going to school and working a job, I would understand that I was not going to see him very often. I joked that I would hope that he would schedule in at least one evening a week with us, but that I understood that school, work, and his social life would keep him pretty busy.

David's social life was complicated.

Robert just a bit younger than David. David the year before had suffered harassment from other boys in his very small town and his principal had suggested that if he could, he leave. (I know. If we had known him then we would have called the ACLU.) So David moved in with his aunt and did a GED. When the boys met the spring of 2004 they were both 16. David was living with me and going to high school and Robert was living with his aunt a little more than 100 miles away. In the fall Robert decided he was ready for life in The City as a grown up and he moved into an apartment with some other young men.

Robert of course struggled financially. He moved a couple of times. And there was always some drama going on. Some boy was angry at some other boy. David was either part of the drama itself or the person that everyone seemed to call.

David was fine with us, but his life outside of the family was getting more complicated and demanding more of his time and attention.

In December two things happened: David started passing blood again and Robert moved in with a 22-year-old who had had a background check.

David's Story Part 1: The Beginning
David's Story Part 31: December 2004

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