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I was not Madonna trying to save the world. I actually believe I have a genuine claim on both babies. It was through no fault of my own that Amo had been given to me. I had not gone to the nurses and asked them to steal the baby for me. I wish I had but I had not so why should I be punished for it. No sir. Amo had grown up with a better life because everyone had chipped in to make it work. How on earth could I allow my baby to then have his life reversed into abject poverty? Then there was Ruben. He was my biological son and by the looks of things he was living in abject poverty. I understand that not every one is rich and it’s no fault of their own but already had I not seen signs of failure? If the social worker backed me up, this woman had threatened to let Amo starve if they took Ruben away. How then can she be the right choice of a mother? I surely could not walk away from either child in this situation. Getting both children therefore would be in my interest.
“Julius can I talk to you privately?” I asked him even though we were alone.
“Is it possible to take both boys? I will legally adopt Amo and Ruben is my son already, if they are right”, I asked him and his eyes widened.
“What about Agnes? Is that fair to her?” he asked me. Like really? He was my lawyer so he was supposed to be on my side.
“You are supposed to be with me!” I snapped back. “Please answer the question!” I said.
“I am sure it’s possible because we are already in extraordinary circumstances. We would have to prove that Amo going there will be a danger to his health and life plus a whole lot of other things to get there though!”, he explained. I don’t think that was going to be too difficult because shack towns in Jhb are notorious for fires and crime. I could actually prove this. Yes there was crime in North Riding but it could never for one day be compared to there. Orange Farm people scare Soweto people so I had a case!
“I want to make it happen. I need to speak to the nurse and the social worker!” I said but he immediately said no and explained why it was a bad idea. He said if it backfired then I would lose them both and could possibly end up in jail for my efforts. He stood there holding his chin as though he was thinking then he said,
“Don’t do anything stupid, I have a plan but I am not sure it will work!” he said which was too vague for me.
“Tell me, what’s your plan?” I asked him and he responded, “No not yet. You will need plausible deniability if things go south so just trust me for now!” he said. I was not going to disobey the man who said he had a plan for me. Doing so would be dumb. I sat down on the benches by myself. No one disturbed me but I was anxious to hear what he would come back with. I didn’t have to wait that long because in about 20 minutes he came and called me. To my surprise he also called Agnes and her husband. What was he up to. We were led to a room where the doctor, nurse and social worker were.
“We just have a few questions for both of you?” the social worker said when we sat down. She had said both when we were three but who cares.
“What are the questions about?” Agnes asked a bit suspicious.
“It’s procedure. I did tell you that there is a lot of paperwork that we still have to go through!” she continued.
“Has your son been immunised?” the doctor asked, arms folded across his chest.
“I don’t know, ask his mother!” the father said. Wow, this guy really was father of the year material.
“No he has not!” she responded. You could have heard a pin drop.
“Your son has not received all his injections are you serious?” Lovedelia asked Agnes. Amo had already received all of his because my mother being a nurse meant we were always prepared for such.
“I didn’t have money to go to the clinic. When you stay in Orange Farm it’s not because we have money to do all these things!” Agnes said defensively because clearly she was being attacked. This however was not an excuse. All babies have to get their immunisation injections for future sake. I could feel myself slightly panic at the prospect of Amo being raised by this negligent woman.
“Mama you know it’s dangerous. You have exposed him already to so many things. He is also not eating enough. You can see by the slight swelling on his stomach that he is a bit malnourished.” she said. I think the last part was meant for social worker to hear. It’s funny how people often tend to take the side of the richer between two people. I had not said anything to this nurse to make things right for me nor the social worker yet they seemed to now be both working for me. Maybe they too were also under the Julius effect.
“Okay can you do it now please. I am sorry but I just get overwhelmed.”
I felt kind of bad though. She did not stand a chance. There is a reason why they say an organised minority will always rule over a disorganised majority. Poor people are way more than rich people but rich people are way more powerful than them. This was the situation building up in this room clearly. No matter what they wanted to talk about we were more and had answers.
“What are you scribbling there?” Agnes accused curiously when she saw that the social worker was scribbling furiously in her notepad.
“I am writing my report. You will all get a copy of this so don’t worry!” she said with a smile.
“We have been thinking of a solution to this mess and we will offer suggestions so as to what can be done in the meantime. Amo cannot stay in hospital any longer than is necessary as the doctor says he will risk infection and the like. So he has to go home today. The question is which home?”
Was that even a question? He had a house and that’s where he was going. We spoke for another hour of which Agnes husband was being a pain in the ass. He was adamant that he wanted his real son and even resort resorted to calling Ruben “sickly” and “weak” hence why he can’t keep him. He was sickly and weak because you were not man enough to feed him properly you moron! I was so angry at him. Eventually the meeting finished and everyone left the room. When I was outside I discovered I had dropped my R100 phone where I was sitting so I went back. As soon as I entered guess who followed me? That vile man!
“What do you want?” I asked him, “You know if we take Amo, if you want him to keep on having a good life you are going to have to pay us!”
The husband said with a sleazy grin on his face. This was what all this was about. A person who lives on a grant survives on very little. They are used to it and yes it is not enough it goes a long way. If we gave this man money it means that they get to leave on double what they were living on or more. That was what this was all about. He wanted the money.
“I will give you my number and if you decide on this you must give me a call!” he said.
He had already written his number on a piece of paper. This man really did not want Ruben. He had made life impossible for me to even negotiate. I knew how his wife felt about it but she seemed to have no power over him. The harsh reality of life I tell you. Question is, when it came to the child, would he win? He left me there. I went to look for my family.
As we sat having lunch in the cafeteria I saw Lovedelia and the social worker walking towards us. She was carrying Amo in her hands. I know my baby. I immediately jumped up, startling my mother. She was smiling.
“For tonight we have agreed that both toddlers should go to their respective homes. Amo, to you Faith. He is still a bit in recovery and with your mother as a nurse it really would be stupid to do otherwise!”
The relief in my heart. My baby was going home. The victory did feel hollow though. Ruben was going home to be with this horrible family. One victory at a time. I had one of my boys home, be it temporarily. There is no more need to be sneaky!
Lovedelia smiled handing Amo over to me. I hugged her. We signed some papers. I wanted to leave immediately in case they changed their minds. With my luck it was highly possible. Julius took my numbers and said he would come see me later in the day as unfortunately this was far from over. My sister could not contain her joy. She asked if she could hold Amo and much as I never wanted to let go of him again, I let her. She was just as much a mother to him as I was. If I could I never wanted to see that hospital again.
When I got home I got a call from the social worker. She said she would be coming to do an inspection the following day. I am not sure what she meant but I agreed. Julius called and said that he had to see me and my family. I gave him directions and two hours later he was by my house. My mother opened for him.
“Thank you very much for stepping in when you did otherwise we were in trouble there!” my mother said. I was grateful too. He brushed it off because he said there was still a lot to be done.
“We need solutions because this thing will go south. I know what you want but in this case we have to make the best of what ever situation we have!” he said as soon as he sat down. I think at this stage no one was under the illusion that all was perfect. On that we can all be certain.
“Offer her a job as our maid? This way she brings Amo everyday and he also gets to make money for herself!” my mother suggested. I had not thought of that yazi and it made sense but I doubt that Agnes would agree. In fact, she might, I doubt that the husband will agree. He was the problem in this equation. Julius stayed for about 45 minutes before I had to walk him out. I watched his car drive out and waited for about five minutes before I decided.
I took out my phone and called Agne’s husbands phone. He picked up.
“Hello it’s Faith, you gave me your numbers at the hospital, can we talk?, I asked him.
“Of course I can. What do you want?” He asked me angrily. I wonder why he was angry at me. Probably his wife denied him money for alcohol.
“How much do you want for convincing your wife to give up rights for Amo and Ruben?”
I asked him bluntly.
“What do you mean?” He asked me.
“I said, I want your wife to give up both Amo and Ruben to me. Only you can convince her to do so. How much do you want for it?”
I asked him. My heart was pumping fast now. I was crossing a very dangerous line.
“R10 000!” he said then immediately came back and said, “No, R15 000! Yes that’s fair!”
He declared chuffed with himself. This man had just valued my child’s life to be worth so little.
God Help Me!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I am a 24 year old lady who experienced a lot,my mother died when I was four and my grandparents took care of me and my siblings until they passed on both of them,my father came back into our lives when I was twelve,he started maintaining us until he got married in 2005,after the wedding me nd my younger brother got chased out of the house nd we were still at school,I was doing grade eleven and my brother was at middle school,we went and stayed with our aunt then my for years we could not see our father because we were not allowed in his house,until he got sick after retiring on the police force,when I was informed by our step mother I decided to go and check on him at the hospital but then I was told he was discharged,I never got to see him yet again,
To cut the long story short my father passed on the very same year he was admitted at hospital,BT the time he died my stepmom claim that he was not sick he just said he had a headache and he went to sleep and never woke up again,after my father’s funerals I heard rumour that my father drank something and passed on, so I wonder if my stepmom had anythn to do with my father’s death or what?To be honest I have a huge hatred for my stepmom for separating us with our father and even making sure that we didn’t get anythn from our fathers property,truth is she never wanted our father to take us to school and she hired a lawyer to distribute our fathers belongings,I have proof of what she dd but I don’t knw where to report her