Months passed quickly between my work and my life with Nazar, at home. As I was about to leave my office for the day, I got the long-awaited call. I answered it as I started walking back home, my heart beating strongly against my chest.
"Hello, Mr. Ross. Are you and your partner still interested in fostering a child?"
"Yes, we are."
"Good. A five years old boy arrived at the orphanage recently and I think you would be the perfect fit. It would be great if we could meet so I could tell you more about him."
"Well, I was on my way home but I could make a detour and go to the foster care center if you want?" I asked as I stopped in my tracks.
"Perfect. I will be waiting for you." He replied before hanging up.
I changed directions and walked up to the foster care center where I meet the director.
"Thank you for coming so quickly." He greeted me as we went to his office.
"Thank you for calling me."
"So, this little boy... His name is Ethan and he recently turned five. We took him away from his parents because of sexual assaults. I'm not going to lie, he's pretty traumatised and he's suspicious of everyone, especially men. We have been working together for a long time now and you helped many of our children. I think you could help him too, if you agree to foster him. Of course your partner will have to agree with it."
"I will talk to him about it but I would love to help him. He's so young but has already been through so much..." I said, my heart breaking at the thought of everything that happened to him.
"Come with me, I will show him to you. He's in the playroom with the younger children." He said as he got up.
I followed him through the corridors and we stopped at the entrance of the playroom where various children were playing together.
"It's him." He said, mentionning a little boy sitting alone in a corner.
His freckled face showed no emotions while he was looking at the others playing. A few brown curls were on his forehead, hiding one of his eyes and I smiled sadly. I really wanted to do my best to help him. After a few minutes of observation, I turned around and he accompagnied me to the exit.
"Thank you for calling me and showing me Ethan. I will talk to my partner and give you a call in the next few days." I told him as I shook his hand.
He nodded before wishing me a great evening and I left, making my way back home.
"Sorry, I'm a little late." I said as I opened the front door.
A delicious smell immediately hit my nostrils and I smiled.
"What took you so long?" He asked, turning around.
I walked closer and kissed him before answering. "I got a call from the foster care center. They have a five years old boy and they think we would be the perfect fit for him."
His eyes widened at my words and it took him a moment to say something. "Oh wow..." He ended up whispering.
"D-Did you change your mind?" I asked softly, not expecting him to be so emotionless.
"No, it's not that... I just didn't expect the kid to be so young. It's going to be a challenge."
"It will be a challenge, for sure, but I think we could manage. Let's eat and I will tell you what the director told me, alright?"
He nodded before finishing to serve the food on our plates. We sat around the table and started to eat in silence. I could see that he was waiting for me to speak so I didn't wait any longer and started to tell him everything about the visit and Ethan.
"So, he's afraid of men and they want to let him come here? That doesn't make any sense to me." He said with a frown once I was done speaking.
"He thinks we can help him overcome his past and show him all men aren't evil. But it's not going to be easy, especially at the beginning." I told him truthfully as I watched his reactions.
His face didn't show any emotions and it made me wonder what was going on inside his head. As much as I wanted to help and foster Ethan, I knew we had to be in this together. I couldn't take such an important decision alone.
"And when would he move here?"
"I don't know, I would need to ask him. But I told him we would talk about it first. If you agree, I will also have to look for a babysitter before he moves in."
"And you don't know how long he would stay?"
"No, but it could easily be a few months or a few years. And, if it doesn't work, he can go back to the center, you know." I told him, knowing that I wouldn't want to use this option unless it was the very last solution.
"I see. I mean, if you find a babysitter and if everything is ready then we can try and see what happens." He finally answered while giving me a small smile.
I smiled at his words and took his hand into mine. "I will start making some researches tonight and continue searching for a babysitter in my free time at work. But I will call the director and let him know that we agree to foster Ethan." I told him before adding. "Thank you for agreeing to start this new chapter and adventure with me."
He didn't answer but squeezed my hand softly. We then got up and washed the dishes and, as Nazar went upstairs to take a shower, I sat on the sofa and took my phone to start looking for a babysitter. I was looking for a woman who had some experience; I knew it wasn't going to be cheap but it was necessary if I wanted to keep my job and foster a child. After some researches, I sent a few messages to the women I found interesting, asking if they were still available and if we could meet for an interview. I then went upstairs to take a quick shower before going to bed, right next to Nazar.
I wrapped my arms around him from behind and put my head against his neck, breathing his vanilla scent. At that moment, there was nowhere else I wished to be and I couldn't be happier. I put a slight kiss on his cheek and smiled as he turned around.
"I love you." He whispered as he snuggled against me.
My heart began to beat faster at these words and I hugged him a little tighter as I told him these same three words. Lulled by his peaceful respiration and his heartbeat, I quickly fell asleep.
When I woke up, Nazar was still asleep so I quickly turned my alarm off and left the bed to get dressed before making my way downstairs. As I still had some time before leaving for work, I prepared some pancakes that I ate with mapple sirup. I put the leftovers in the fridge so Nazar wouldn't have to prepare something and left him a voice message so he would know that I left him something inside.
Through the years, as I started working during the day and as Nazar became more independent thanks to the new technologies, we developed our own techniques to communicate. If I prepared something and left it in the fridge, I would record a voice message. If I had something I wanted to let him know, I would also record a message on the dictaphone that was in a corner of the kitchen and all he had to do was to click on the button in the middle to check and listen to it. These little things were simple but improved our life.
I left the house and made my way toward the office, taking my phone to call the director while I was walking. I let him know about the conversation I had with Nazar and took this opportunity to ask him some questions about the rest of the procedure.
"I need to buy a few stuffs and get his room ready but it won't take long."
"There are some papers to fill and we will have to check and see if your house is fit to foster him but you can bring him home once this is done. So, if it's okay for you and your partner, you would be able to have him in the next few weeks."
I nodded to myself as I thanked him. My mind was filled with everything I had to do, starting by buying the essentials for his bedroom. And, most importantly, I had to find a babysitter. No one at the center knew Nazar was blind and I feared that it would prevent us from fostering a child if they did. Plus, why would they need to know about it? Nazar was mostly independent and he wouldn't be alone with Ethan as either the babysitter or myself would always be present.
I arrived at work and greeted Imogen who was drinking coffee. I went in my office to put my stuffs and remove my coat before walking toward the coffee machine to get myself a cup. I then proceeded to tell her everything about Ethan, the director and my conversation with Nazar.
"I'm so happy and excited for you. I know how much you wanted this." She replied with a smile before adding. "But... Are you sure you don't want to tell them about Nazar? I mean, it could easily come and bite you in the ass."
"I thought about it a lot and... At first, I didn't mean to lie. It just never came in the conversation and he didn't notice he was blind when Nazar came into his office... But now, things got so far and we're about to foster a child... I really don't want his blindness to make us lose this opportunity. And I'm looking for a full time babysitter to help while I'm working." I explained, trying to make her understand my decision.
"No, no, no, I get why you're doing it. I'm just worried about the consequences if they ended up learning about it. But it looks like you have thought about everything..." She trailed off with another smile.
Our conversation was cut by the door being opened and a woman with her son entered. We greeted them and Imogen invited them in her office. I took this opportunity to go back to mine and turn my computer on. I looked at today's schedule and started preparing for my next meeting. Today was going to be busy but I couldn't wait to go back home and tell Nazar everything...