A few years ago there used to be a very friendly, pleasant homeless guy outside of London Drugs. He was never in your face, stoned or drunk, and was always polite. I talked to him several times and gave him money a few times. Once some to put towards a hard hat for work, another time for McDonalds, again for a hostel so he could shower to go to work. He had the uncanny ability to be outside London Drugs on days where I felt like nothing had gone right and I'd had a day from H-E - double hockey sticks! I believed in him to a certain extent and one time he told me he'd been in nine different foster homes. I can remember thinking, "Too bad I didn't have a foster home, I'd have made things work for you!" Well I haven't seen him in a long, long time and the other guys that hang around outside London Drugs have not made the same impression or connection with me. I know what you are all thinking, perhaps I am a sucker, but I felt I had to give him a chance. I don't know what it was about him, but I think he would been one of those kids that no matter how difficult they were in your class and how crazy they drove you, you couldn't help but love them. Apparently according to my friend C, a gal that used to work at summer school with us had a boyfriend that gave him money as well.
I have been riding such an emotional roller coaster since arriving home and am having to really practice the virture of patience. It is all I can do not to scream and shout. I was going to teach my kids a new word today, inept! Anyway, this guy for some reason has crossed my mind several times. I haven't seen him in years and wondered if he had made it!
Fast forward to this afternoon. I left school right after the bell. I had to get a card and gift in the mail for Father's Day and decided that despite wanting to come home and crawl into bed, I would attend a meeting so I could take my half-day off without feeling guilty. That darn old guilt - another story! Well, this guy came up to me out side Shopper's Drug Mart and said, "Hi, you don't recognize me do you?" - I must have looked puzzled. He continued, "I used to hang outside London Drugs and you'd help me." I was speechless! He is clean, nicely dressed with glasses and looked quite presentable! I couldn't believe it! How and why after thinking about him like I have over the last week, should I bump into him? Anyway, he tells me has completed grade 9 and 10 and is presently getting his lowest grades of 81% in grade 11 adult ed. When he completes his high school courses he is going to become a drug and alcohol counsellor and help the people on the downtown East Side. He then explained how after paying his rent he was left with only $27/month for food! How he is having to fight for disability. Now those parts were believable thanks to our present provincial government, welfare rates, etc. Anyway you can guess his next question, "Can you give me anything for food?" I had no money on me and made the decision to go and get him some money from the bank. Needless to say since I've been on unpaid leave there wasn't a whole lot to give! He was very grateful and told me he'd go to Superstore. I sat talking to him for a few minutes and told him how proud I was of him and how I had been wondering about since returning from my rather mixed trip. I figure whatever he spends it on beats me spending it on pop and chocolate!!!!
Now what are the odds after all these years of bumping into him like I did? He said he is in my neighbourhood every Tuesday afternoon because he volunteers at a local church. If I hadn't left school early today, I'd never have bumped into him as I am never in the village at this time. As I drove to my meeting, I thought I'm going to phone that church, double check his story and then once a month leave him some groceries or a gift card for Superstore. My determination with this seemingly endless process I've embarked in, is nothing in comparision to his!
I came away thinking, if I can't make a difference in a child's life at the moment thanks to things far beyond my control, then at least I can maybe feel good by helping T out. If I was duped, then I'm a sucker! If not, then hopefully T is able to have a few decent dinners. He is probably better at me than budgeting money! Regardless, he made my day and at the moment I'll take that!
On the adoption front: No emails from my country! I am beyond frustrated! I am growing fonder of the child I met and can't believe this is now almost two weeks without information!