The Two Mums
‘Kate,’ asked Mike one of the care workers coming into the sitting room.
‘Have you seen Emma?’
‘Who?’ asked Kate looking up at Mike from painting her nails with a confused expression.
‘Emma,’ sighed Mike, ‘you know, your roommate?’
‘What you mean Freak?’ asked Kate.
Charlie and Claire sniggered as Kate referred to Emma as Freak.
’How should I know?” asked Kate.
“Why should I care?’
‘She’s not in here, that’s all I care about.’
‘Thank you for your help,’ said Mike through gritted teeth and going out of the sitting room and up to Emma and Kate’s room.
Unsurprisingly Emma as usual was sat on top of her bed reading a book.
‘Hey Ems,’ said Mike sitting down on the bed next to her.
‘Where you off to today then?’
‘Camelot,’ said Emma not looking up from her book, ‘Tristan and Iseult.’
‘Oh,’ nodded Mike, 'Camelot. That’s King Arthur, right?”
Emma looked up at Mike and gave him a significant look.
‘Oh yeah,’ said Mike laughing, ‘it’s on the cover!’
‘Did you want something Mike?’ sighed Emma putting away her book.
Mike smirked as Emma saw right through him as always. Mike had known Emma since she was two years old, and when Mike was acting a bit weird and started interrupting Emma when she was reading, such as now, that meant he had something important to discuss with her.
‘There’s a prospective adoptive couple downstairs, they want to look into adopting a young girl.’
Emma was beyond confused, why would anyone want to adopt her, when there were twelve other children at this home.
‘Why are you talking to me about this?’ asked Emma.
'Surely they’ll want a more normal girl, like Kate, or Charlie or Claire.'
‘The day that Kate is normal is the day that pigs fly,’ chuckled Mike.
‘Kate is far from normal.’
‘And I’m not?’ asked Emma.
‘I’m too quiet, that’s why no one wants to adopt me.’
She had gotten used to nine years of being passed over by prospective parents. Usually, they were looking for someone livelier and more energetic than Emma.
‘Well actually Ems, quiet is exactly what this couple is looking for.’
‘You know how everyone’s different?’
‘Yeah,’ nodded Emma.
‘There’s nothing wrong with being different. If everyone was the same, the world would be very boring.’
‘Well, Mrs Collins-Llewelyn, is very different. She has something called autism. She has problems with social anxiety and has a very strict routine. But she still wants to start a family, and it’ll be easier for her to adopt a nine- or ten-year-old than a baby.’
‘If she doesn’t want to change her routine,’ said Emma who was still very confused, ‘then why does she want to adopt a child in the first place.’
‘Or if they’re a couple, can’t they have their own children?’
‘No Ems,’ said Mike, ‘it doesn’t work like that. You see there are two Mrs Collins-Llewelyns, Sam and Meghan.’
‘So I’d have two Mums?’ asked Emma.
There had been quite a few lesbian or gay couples adopting children from the children’s home as they couldn’t have their own children.
Emma thought about this for a moment, she wouldn’t have a Dad, but she’d still have two parents. That was two more than she had now.
She didn’t mind whether people downstairs were from the planet Mars, any family was better than no family like she had right now.
‘Look, Emma,’ said Mike, ‘what harm is it going to do you to meet them?'
'You might like them, and if you don’t.’
‘You’ll keep looking for my perfect family,’ laughed Emma getting up off the bed.
They headed downstairs to the office where they kept all the files, and where currently, Emma’s prospective parents were sitting.
What if they didn’t like her?
What if they had changed their minds already?
What if she didn’t like them?
Who was she kidding, as long as they weren’t bullies like Kate she’d be fine.
Emma knocked on the door nervously.
‘Come in!’ called Sue the head care worker.
‘Go on Ems,’ chuckled Mike lightly, ‘they’re not going to kill you.’
Emma opened the door and found a young couple sitting on the sofa in the office.
They both looked like they were in their early thirties.
One of them was still wearing her nurses’ uniform and had her long dark hair pulled into a neat bun, she had a friendly face and her eyes seemed to light up with laughter.
The other one looked somewhat masculine. She had short blonde hair in a pixie cut and was wearing a pair of trousers with a collared shirt, and a blue jumper with a matching tie.
If Emma hadn’t already been told that both of the Collins-Llewelyns were women, she might have thought that the second one was a man.
‘Emma,’ said Sue, ‘this is Sam and Meghan Collins-Llewelyn, they’re thinking about adopting you.’
‘I know,’ blushed Emma, ‘Mike told me.’
‘Well sit-down kiddo,’ laughed Mike leaning against the filing cabinet.
‘They’re not going to eat you!’
Emma sat down on the chair next to the sofa and stared down at hid behind her hair. Emma noticed that she wasn’t the only one that was avoiding eye contact, Sam seemed to be staring down at her shoes as well.
‘Sammy,’ said Meghan nudging her wife gently, ‘this is Emma.’
‘We’ve heard so much about you Cariad,’ beamed Meghan, ‘apparently, you like reading?’
‘What’s your favourite book?’
‘Anything she can get her hands on really,’ laughed Mike, ‘if it stays still for long enough, she’ll read it!’
‘Mike,’ grimaced Sue, ‘not now!’
‘I liked reading fairy tales when I was little,’ said Emma, nervously peeking from behind her hair.
Meghan smiled at her encouragingly, as if telling her to go on.
‘I like adventure stories and fantasy,’ said Emma warming up and brushing her hair out of her face.
‘Dragons, brave knights, beautiful princesses. At the moment I’m reading King Arthur.’
‘Have you ever read any Tolkien?’ asked Sam, looking up from where she had been staring down at her shoes.
‘She’s a bit young for Tolkien Sammy,’ muttered Meghan.
‘How about Harry Potter?’
‘Oh, I read that when I was four,’ shrugged Emma, ‘very interesting characters, but the main character is a bit too rash, and the plots are very predictable.’
‘Voldemort always attacking Harry on the last day of exams,’ smirked Sam.
‘Yeah,’ nodded Emma, ‘and not enough dragons.’
‘I think you and Sam are going to get on like a house on fire,’ laughed Meghan.
‘Sammy’s a writer,’ explained Meghan, ‘she writes historical non-fiction.’
‘What period?’ asked Emma excitedly.
Sam was surprised that Emma was actually interested in what she was writing. The closest thing the other children she had met of Emma’s age had to an interest in History was watching reruns of Horrible History on CBBC whilst waiting for The Next Step or The Dengineers.
‘Mostly Tudor,’ said Sam, ‘I’m currently working on a series of book on Henry the VIII’s wives.’
‘Awesome!’ exclaimed Emma, ‘can I have a read at some point?’
‘When can she move in?’ asked Sam excitedly turning to her wife.
Meghan smirked and shook her head.
‘For Christ's sake Sammy,’ said Meghan, ‘you need to give the girl time. She might not want to be stuck with us.’
‘No,’ stammered Emma, ‘I want to live with you! You’re amazing.’
‘Are you serious?’ asked Meghan.
Meghan got up from the sofa and pulled Emma in for a hug. Emma was a bit surprised at the sudden hug, but it just felt so right.
‘I just can’t believe it,’ said Meghan trying to stop herself from crying.
‘Usually, we give the parents and the child a bit more time to get to know each other,’ said Sue, ‘see if they get on.’
‘Sue,’ interrupted Mike, ‘they already get on. We’ve been looking for the perfect family for Emma for nine years, and here they are.’
‘We’ve met with dozens of kids over the last few months,’ said Sam, ‘but none of them have really clicked.’
‘Not with Sammy at least,’ laughed Meghan, ‘but Emma and Sam get on great, and it’s Sam’s who’s going to be home looking after her whilst she’s writing. I’m going to be at the hospital five days a week.’
‘How long will it take you to pack?’ asked Sam who was so excited she was practically bouncing up and down in her seat.
‘About as long as it takes us to fill in the paperwork,’ said Sue getting out the forms who was still trying to recover from the shock.
‘I’ll help with you the packing in a minute,’ said Mike putting his arm around Emma, ‘I just need to go and check that those boys haven’t killed each other yet.’