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A boy holds a baby | Source: Shutterstock
A boy holds a baby | Source: Shutterstock

I Found My Little Son Nursing a Strange Baby in His Room – Story of the Day

Roshanak Hannani
Oct 30, 2023
04:40 A.M.

When Colleen and Ray adopted a six-year-old boy from foster care, they never expected to find a strange baby in their house. Their new son's revelations were even worse, but the couple knew their lives would never be the same when two disgruntled foster parents showed up at the door.

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"You're making mac and cheese from a box?" Ray asked Colleen, a hint of teasing in his tone. His wife was obsessed with organic and healthy food, so this was a first in their household.

"Ben has been really quiet all day," Colleen replied, stirring the powdered cheese onto the pasta. "I read that kids like this over veggies and stuff. I thought it would help him feel better."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Honey, he's still new here. We only brought him home yesterday," Ray said, rubbing his wife's shoulders soothingly. "He needs time to adapt. A couple of visits and outings with us are not enough. But…this food can help too."

They chuckled and called Ben to eat. The boy came to the table, remaining shy and hesitant. But there was a new undertone to his attitude. Colleen almost thought he was in a hurry.

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"Do you like mac and cheese, Ben?" she tried to start the conversation, but the boy only nodded quickly. He finished his plate in no time, and while it was fantastic that he ate heartily, Colleen was still worried.

"Can I go back to my room?" he asked after putting his plate in the dishwasher.

"Sure," Colleen responded, but she couldn't hide the crinkle in her brow. The boy didn't see it because he ran back upstairs without a backward glance.

Ray sighed. "Okay, I think we need to talk to him. Let's go."

Colleen finished putting the dishes away and started the dishwasher, and they both went upstairs to check on their boy. Ben's door was slightly jar, so instead of knocking, Ray just opened it outright. "Ben, we were hoping to have a little talk with you…"

His voice trailed off as Ben hopped from his bed in surprise. But Colleen and Ray were a million times more shocked because the boy held a baby wrapped in a pink blanket in his arms. He was holding a bottle to the baby's mouth. The greedy sucking noises couldn't be denied.

"Hmmm," Ben started, biting his bottom lip and looking down.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Ben, who's baby is that?" Colleen asked in a whisper. Her shock hadn't worn off. Ray just remained quiet and stoic by his wife's side.

"She's my sister," the boy revealed, bouncing the baby as he took the empty bottle away from her lips.

"Your sister?" Colleen wondered as if simple English was hard to understand.

"Well, not really," Ben continued, looking more nervous and apprehensive. "But I couldn't leave her behind."

"I don't understand," Colleen said, her arms lifted helplessly as if she wanted to hold the baby too.

"Honey," Ray patted her shoulder and walked toward Ben but thought better and sat on his bed. "Ben, we're not angry. Just surprised. Can you tell us what's going on? Who is that baby? When and why did you bring her here?"

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"It's the new foster at my old house," the boy said, his voice getting tinier with every word.

"Oh," Colleen breathed, sitting beside her husband on Ben's bed. "But how is she here?"

Ben looked down but didn't stop bouncing. "I sneaked out and got her. She's so tiny. I couldn't leave her behind."

"Sweetie, she has to return to that family," Colleen started gently. "It wasn't right for you to take her. I assume your foster parents didn't see you take her? I'm calling Mrs. Campbell. She can take the baby—"

"No!" Ben shouted, startling the baby in his arms. Luckily, the girl made a few sounds and seemed to go back to sleep. "She can't take her back!"

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Ray and Colleen gave each other a side-eyed look. "Ben, we have to call someone. We all could get in trouble for this."

"NO!" the boy insisted, tears gathering in his eyes. "She can't stay with those people. I can take care of her!"

Colleen tilted her head. "Those people?"

"Mr. and Mrs. Franklin," Ben answered, shaking his head. "They're not good people!"

Ray's eyes widened, but Colleen stood to stand closer to Ben. "Sweetheart, what do you mean they're not good people?"

"They're evil," the boy continued. His widening eyes showed actual fear. "She'll be in danger."

"Let me hold the baby, sweetie," Colleen said, and Ben nodded. Colleen's natural motherly instincts kicked in, and she also started bouncing with the baby in her arms. Luckily, the beautiful little girl was sound asleep after finishing her bottle.

Ray stood from the bed and grabbed his boy's shoulders gently. "Ben, you don't have to be scared of us. We're not angry. We just want to understand what's going on. Please tell us what happened, and we'll help you. Why would your sister be in danger at the Franklin's house?"

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"I told you!" Ben whined. "They're evil people."

"Did they hurt you?" Ray continued, a strange feeling crawling up his spine.

Ben looked down and nodded without saying a word.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"I'm calling Mrs. Campbell," Colleen said, holding the baby tighter.

"NO!" Ben said, running to his new adoptive mother and holding her waist tightly. His cries renewed, and it broke both Ray and Colleen's hearts. "She knows!" he sniffled into her clothes.

Colleen looked at her husband in horror. They had met the Franklins briefly, but their visit was focused entirely on Ben. Mrs. Campbell was a sweet woman, as far as they knew. But Ben didn't seem to be lying.

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Ray got closer and rubbed Ben's back, staring intensely into his wife's eyes. "Ben, come here," he said, gathering the boy into his arms.

"You don't have to be afraid. You don't have to be afraid," Ray chanted, returning to bed. He laid down with the boy while Colleen sat in the rocking chair in the corner. Ben's cries eased after some time. An hour later, he was asleep and snoring softly.

Ray stood and wrapped the boy in his blanket. Colleen followed him out the door.

"What are we going to do?" she whispered. "We can't keep this baby here. We'll get arrested. They're probably sick with worry and looking everywhere for her."

Her husband began to pace while scratching his chin. "I don't know. We don't know Ben's whole story, but I don't think he's lying," Ray said, shrugging.

"I don't think so either, but we have no choice," Colleen said.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"Where is she?!" Ben yelled from his room. They didn't expect him to wake up at all. But he must still be so worried.

"She's here, Ben," Colleen said as the boy ran into her arms again.

"Ben, we have to call Mrs. Campbell, or we will get in trouble. We could lose you and the baby. So, you need to tell us something concrete. What did the Franklins do?"

"They are awful. They hit me and…videoed it," Ben said, choking on his words.

"What?" Ray asked, his voice turning deadly.

"She had her phone out," the boy continued, alternating between sobbing and talking. "He hit my back and said they needed more money."

Colleen's eyes were now more horrified.

"Did you try telling Mrs. Campbell, Ben?" Ray asked, not knowing if that was a stupid question. "Did she say something to make you think she knew what the Franklins were doing?"

"No," he shook his head. "But she must know. Right? She keeps putting children with them. I'm not the first one. There were two others, but they got adopted. I was the last one they had. Mrs. Campbell brought the baby on my last day there. I saw his eyes."

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"His eyes?" Colleen questioned.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Mr. Franklin," Ben sniffed, turning his face into Colleen's pants. "The others…we were boys. She's a girl."

Those tiny, simple words held such horrible, soul-shattering meaning that something broke in Ray and Colleen's souls. Ben was just six years old. He wasn't supposed to understand anything like that. It was the kind of information you see in newspapers, but no one ever expects such a thing to touch their lives.

Mrs. Campbell didn't tell them much about Ben's upbringing. She said he was in a bad situation with his parents, who died from their addictions. He had been with Mr. and Mrs. Franklin for four months before Ray and Colleen decided to adopt an older child instead of a baby.

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Ray thought about those four months and what may have happened to his new son in that house…"Okay… okay… okay," he uttered, patting his boy's head gently.

"You're not putting her back, right?"

"No, we're not," Colleen answered immediately. She had understood and was heartbroken, just like Ray.

"We can't keep her secretly. That would hurt ALL of us," Ray said. "They would take you and her somewhere else. We don't want that. So, we need to call Mrs. Campbell or a coworker of hers to tell her the truth."

"Yes!" Colleen chimed in. "I know someone else in her department. We can call her! We can do something about this."

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Ray gave his wife a warning looking. They couldn't make any promises to Ben just yet. Still, he tried explaining what they needed to do to make things right to Ben. The boy nodded, understanding more than he was supposed to at just six years old.

A child shouldn't have to be this mature at six, Ray thought, frustrated at the unfairness.

Colleen spoke up. "Come on, Ben. Let's go back to your room. I have a basket, so we can make this girl a crib while she's here," she urged her son, nodding at Ray.

He picked up the phone and called Colleen's friend, who also worked for DCFS. "I'm sorry for calling so late. We have a situation…"

***

"I just can't believe what the boy is saying," Alana breathed, holding her hands together a little too tightly. She was Colleen's acquaintance from DCFS. They had invited her to their house to sort things out, requesting that she remain discreet about this meeting for the time being. After all, Mrs. Campbell was supposed to be their social worker.

Ben was in school, and the baby was sleeping soundly in the makeshift crib they had fashioned from a basket and tons of blankets.

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"Do you think Ben is lying?" Ray asked quietly.

"Ray!" Colleen exclaimed angrily.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

He only shrugged, and they both looked at the social worker, who was shaking her head.

"I don't think so," she said. "It's just unbelievable. Kids in bad situations hide the truth, especially when they're terrible. The fact that he told you means he trusts you. And I…" she quieted for a second.

"What?" Ray insisted, leaning forward on the sofa. "Did you suspect something?"

Alana closed her eyes. "Not exactly. But children get moved around from the Franklin's house frequently."

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"Ben said two other boys were with them, but they got adopted," Colleen added, but Alana shook her head again.

"No," she muttered. "Boys, especially older ones, don't get adopted so easily. I don't know the specifics. But they were moved to other foster homes. I thought it was just a case of incompatibility. Sometimes, foster parents don't get along with the kids. But with this information…well." The social worker shrugged.

"Do you think we should call the police?" Ray wondered, concerned etched into his features.

"I don't know yet. Believe me, I want to do it. But I don't think that's smart," Alana said, frowning. "I'm concerned that alerting the cops could make someone start covering their tracks. Let me do some digging."

"What about the baby?" Colleen asked, worried. "Mrs. Campbell and the Franklins must be looking for her."

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"For now," Alana nodded, getting a few documents from her bag, "I'm going to authorize you two as her foster parents. I'll have to be sneaky about it. But that's my problem. Don't tell anyone about this and try not to worry. Let me know if Mrs. Campbell calls you or anything."

The kind social worker left, assuring them that everything should be in order and that she would try to investigate things before they could finally call the authorities. Colleen and Ray just had to ensure the baby and Ben were safe.

"We'll protect them," Colleen promised.

The next couple of days were quiet until Colleen's phone rang. She had just finished giving the baby girl her bottle and was thinking about a name for her. Alana had yet to call them with new information, so she put the tiny girl in the basket and grabbed her cell phone.

But her finger froze. It wasn't Alana. It was Mrs. Campbell, and Colleen had no idea what to say to her. Ray was at work, and Ben was doing his homework. She didn't want her boy to hear a conversation with that woman either.

But she couldn't ignore the call, so she stepped through the backdoor and pressed the green button after taking a deep breath. "Hello?" Colleen answered innocently.

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"Mrs. Ferguson!" Mrs. Campbell greeted her warmly. "How are you?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Oh, Mrs. Campbell. Yes, hello," Colleen replied, not wholly unable to hide her nervousness. "I'm good. Ben's adapting well. He likes school. I think he likes my cooking too. He's been watching children's shows on Netflix. Nothing too bad. We have a bedtime for him now…"

She hoped adding so much stuff about Ben would be enough to get that woman off the phone, but it wasn't.

"Mrs. Ferguson, that's great. That's great," the woman said and cleared her throat. "But I'm calling about something else."

"Oh. What?"

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"We were wondering if Ben said anything about his foster parents," Mrs. Campbell replied, trying too hard to be nonchalant.

Colleen's eyes widened, but she straightened her spine. This woman knows something. Her motherly instincts were back, making her brave.

"No, Mrs. Campbell. He doesn't talk about anything from his past life," Colleen said and tried a distraction. "I was thinking he may need some therapy so he can speak freely to a professional."

Mrs. Campbell was quiet for a second too long. "I don't think that's necessary," she said, and Colleen heard her swallow thickly. "Ben was always a good kid and may benefit from forgetting everything else. But if he tells you something or you notice something odd, please call me."

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"I'm sorry." Colleen now wanted to keep this woman on the phone. "Is there something I should know? About Ben? About his foster parents?"

"No, no," Mrs. Campbell backtracked. "Nothing. It's just part of keeping up with my cases. I'm glad things are working out for you."

"Mrs. Campbell," Colleen insisted. "You seem strange."

"I'm just so busy. I should go," Mrs. Campbell said. Colleen asked her to wait again, but Ben opened the door and spoke up.

"Mom, the baby is trashing around," the boy said, smiling shyly.

Colleen couldn't be excited about being called mom for the first time because she knew Mrs. Campbell was on the phone. Her fingers scrambled to end the call immediately. Please, God. Tell me she didn't hear anything.

"Okay, honey. Let's go check on the baby," she smiled at Ben, leaving her cell phone on the back porch's rails. It rang almost immediately. But she ignored it and tended to the baby.

***

"Colleen!" Ray said, running a hand through his hair that night. "God!"

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"I know. I'm so sorry," Colleen apologized after telling her husband what had happened. She was on their bed and had an arm wrapped around her legs.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"She heard. She must have heard," Ray mumbled, almost to himself.

"Maybe not."

"Did you answer her calls?"

"No," she looked down. "I was too spooked. I called Alana and told her I may have screwed up this situation. I got too cocky, I think. But I had this feeling that she was hiding something and not being too subtle. I wanted to get it out of her or something."

Ray sighed, closing his eyes and plopping on the bed. "You shouldn't have done that. We had an advantage against her and those perverts."

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"I know, but I already called Alana," Colleen added. "She said not to worry because they'll find out eventually."

"Did you say anything else?"

"No, but Alana was being careful, too." She frowned. "You don't think she's in on it. Right?"

"Alana? No, I didn't get that feeling," Ray said, opening his eyes and shaking his head. "She would've taken the baby from us and given her back. By the way, did she tell you the baby's name?"

"Oh! I was going to ask her about that," Colleen said, pursing her lips. "I guess she'll remain baby girl until I talk to Alana again. But what are we going to do about this?"

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Ray sighed, rubbing his eyes. "I think I'll stay home tomorrow. I'll take Ben to school and work here, just in case. If nothing happens tomorrow, we'll go back to acting like nothing is wrong. We can't take the baby out at all, though. We have to act like she's not here."

"Okay," she nodded eagerly. "I can do that."

***

Ray turned off the lawnmower and rubbed the sweat off his forehead. He had spent all morning tending to their front yard after taking Ben to school. A quick glance at his watch told him it was almost time to pick their son up, so he took his gloves off, chugged the entire glass of lemonade Colleen had made for him, and went into the house to grab his car keys.

"I'm off to pick up Ben, honey. Be back in a few!" he yelled from the doorway, not fully entering the house. Ray walked back outside, focusing on nothing except the jingle of the keys in his hands.

But a big truck with a roaring engine pulled up the street. It was hard to ignore. Ray's eyes squinted as it approached his house and unexpectedly slowed down. A man was in the driver's seat.

Ray stopped in front of the garage door and stared as the driver pulled down his car window and stared at his house. But his eyes caught Ray and widened in surprise. The stranger drove off faster than was allowed in their neighborhood. Kids were usually on their bikes or playing on the street, so all the adults were extra careful.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Not this man. "HEY!" Ray yelled, outraged. He couldn't be sure who that was, but at the same time, Ray knew. All self-preservation went out the window as his feet propelled him to the car, taking off after the big truck.

The man had driven far, but Ray caught up with him. He flashed his lights and honked several times, demanding him to stop. What am I gonna do if he does? The question in his mind didn't matter because the driver refused and drove faster and faster, eventually turning into an off-road dirt path that Ray couldn't follow in his sedan.

The brakes screeched as Ray was forced to stop. "Argh!" he shouted, pounding the steering wheel with his fist. As the adrenaline of the short car chase wore off, fear took over his entire being, making him shake.

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But it wasn't fear for himself. Ray knew that. A strange man had just pulled up to their house. On a typical day, he would've been at work. His wife and his kid — well, kids — would've been alone. Vulnerable. In danger.

He hit the steering wheel again, trying to regain his composure, and made a dangerous U-turn to pick Ben up quickly. Ray had no idea what to do then, but this had to stop. "Call Alana," he said to the car's Bluetooth function, and the typical sound of the dial tone began.

***

"Alana, this can't continue. He was outside my home," Ray spat. He wasn't trying to be rude. This was all fear for his family.

"You don't know if that was Mr. Franklin," Alana countered, pinching her fingers as she continued speaking. "I'm this close to finding something concrete, so we can call the police for real and stop this."

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"We can't wait any longer. We're in danger," Ray insisted desperately, but Colleen put a hand on his arm as he walked past her, urging him to remain composed and quiet because Ben was in his room with the baby.

Alana sighed and knew she wasn't going to win. She also saw Ray's logic. She didn't know if Ray had chased after Mr. Franklin. They didn't have pictures of him and his wife on file, just their names, which she had noticed in the last few days after stealing Mrs. Campbell's documents and making copies.

But a random man showing up at their house was more than a little suspicious. It had to be Mr. Franklin or someone involved in this thing.

"Okay, you're right," Alana agreed, nodding as her mind started working. "I don't have a plan right now, but we can call the police."

"What will you tell them?" Colleen asked, frowning.

"I have gathered a list of several children in the Franklin's care. I've noticed they move around often, not because they're adopted. The boys in their care right before Ben were just placed in different homes like I said before. It has happened to others, too," Alana explained. "It seems any child's placement in that house is temporary."

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"And that's not normal," Ray inferred, sitting beside his wife at last.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"No, it isn't. They shouldn't be moved around like that. Children need stability, even in foster homes," Alana shook her head. "I just wish I had more time to get real evidence. I can't contact the kids directly… that would be a huge violation. But I was trying to see how far back this goes. I found someone. He's already an adult but was with the Franklins several years ago. I'm waiting for his call."

"Maybe we need to wait a little," Colleen turned to her husband. "I don't think the police will do anything right now because the Franklins didn't directly contact us. The police can't do much at all."

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"Colleen, this is crazy!"

"No, it isn't. I'm calling my mother. We'll move into her house for a while. Let things die down while Alana keeps searching," Colleen said, nodding at the social worker.

"That would help," Alana said, grinning tentatively. "I think I'm close to something, and I think I can contact something specific at the police department—"

BANG! BANG! BANG!

A thunderous pounding made them all jump in their seats.

"OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW!" a man's booming voice was heard from the other side.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Ray stood and was at the window in a flash, pulling the blinds apart to see Mrs. Campbell and a couple outside. He stood straight and looked at the women sitting on the sofa with wide eyes and fearful expressions.

"It's them," he whispered, and his hands went to his shirt cuffs to automatically start pushing them up.

"Ray, you can't open that door," Colleen stood, reaching for her purse. "I'm calling the cops right now."

"DON'T YOU DARE CALL THE POLICE!! YOU'RE THE KIDNAPPERS HERE!" another scream reverberated through the entire house.

"Oh, hell no!" Ray said. His expression turned thunderous as he swung the door open. "Who are you? And how dare you bang on my door at this time of night?!"

Mrs. Campbell crossed her arms defiantly, and the couple — presumable Mr. and Mrs. Franklin — looked smug. "Who are we? You know me very well, Mr. Ferguson! I approved your adoption! I can take your son off your hands if you don't let us in to get that baby!"

"Excuse me?" Ray said, his voice lowering. His body naturally straightened as his muscles flexed. These people were threatening his home and family. "You wouldn't dare. Not after everything we know about you three."

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Mrs. Campbell's arms uncrossed for a second, and the Franklins stared at each other, losing their smugness for a second. But the social worker took a step toward Ray. "What are you talking about, Mr. Ferguson? You think it's smart to threaten someone like me?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Before Ray could reply, Alana got close. Mrs. Campbell balked at her presence. She hadn't seen the other social worker before.

"The only one making threats here is you, Cynthia," Alana said, staring down at Mrs. Campbell disdainfully. "I suggest you three go away before Colleen actually calls 911."

"We're taking that baby!" Mrs. Franklin spoke up angrily.

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"Well, that would be a crime," Alana shrugged. "I filed all the documentation so that Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson are now her foster parents."

"Excuse me?" Mrs. Campbell uttered as her ugly face turned red. "You had no right!"

"Yes, I do. It was authorized, and I already launched an investigation on you," Alana said, and Ray turned to her, knowing she was lying. "Soon, you three will be in jail, and your awful, perverted actions will stop for good. I hear these cases warrant at least two decades in jail."

"ARGH!" Mr. Franklin yelled, running into the house with his hands up in a choking gesture. He was headed straight for Alana, but Ray intercepted him. The man was stronger than him, but Ray had a family to protect.

"STOP!" Colleen yelled, pressing 911 on her phone. But a hand came out of nowhere, slapping it to the floor.

It was Mrs. Franklin. "YOU WON'T CALL ANYONE! You either give us that baby now or else!" she threatened, and the look in her eyes froze Colleen's spine. She had never seen a soulless person before. Here she was.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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It was clear as day, and Colleen knew in her soul that they had hurt children time and time again. They had beaten Ben and planned more pain for that sweet baby girl. She couldn't allow it. For the first time in her life, her hands twisted into fists, and they swung at the horrible woman forcefully.

Her body flew toward the wall, ruining part of the plaster. Like her husband, Mrs. Franklin let out a scream that must have been summoned from the deepest hole in hell, and she pushed up toward Colleen.

Mrs. Campbell and Alana had remained stoic for a second, watching as everyone fought. But the older woman decided to walk into the house, heading to the hall, presumably toward Ben's room.

"Where are you going?" Alana screamed, stepping her way. "You won't get near those children or any other ever again!"

"GET OUT OF MY WAY!" the social worker yelled, intent on pushing through. Suddenly, they were involved in a scuffle.

Colleen looked toward the social workers as she tried to stop Mrs. Franklin's punches. A head peaked out of the end of the hall. Ben had opened his door and was gawking at the commotion.

"BEN! Son, close and lock your door tightly!!" Colleen yelled, distracting Mrs. Franklin.

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"BEN, GIVE US THE BABY!" she screamed, but Ben gave her a disgusted frown and shut his door tightly. Colleen breathed a sigh of relief.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE RIGHT NOW!" Ray shouted, pulling Mr. Franklin off his home with all his force. He threw Mr. Franklin toward his recently mowed lawn and went inside, grabbing Mrs. Franklin's hair to get her away from his wife.

"OUT!" he yelled, adding a few profanities as he pushed the woman towards her husband. Colleen and Alana had taken Mrs. Campbell's arms and pushed her out. The older woman slipped and fell to her ass on the grass, crying out.

"I will report you for assault!!" the social worker threatened as the Franklins tried to help her up.

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"We will report you for trespassing!" Colleen shouted back.

"I've already called the cops!!" a new voice had them all turning to the driveway, where Colleen and Ray's neighbors, Sarah and Andrew, were staring, wide-eyed.

"Thanks, Andrew," Ray said, breathing hard.

Mrs. Campbell stood from the grass, cleaning her hands on the jeans. Her smile was cold and calculative. "Good! Now I can tell the cops all about your kidnapping. I know almost all of them in the department! You three are the only ones going to jail here!" she threatened.

Something in Colleen broke because the instinct to hit the awful woman overcame her body. But she couldn't propel forward as Ray wrapped an arm around her.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Other neighbors had also heard the fight and were all looking from their porch. Sarah and Andrew had walked closer. They weren't nosy people, but they cared about things.

"Who are these people, Ray?" Sarah asked, one hand holding her necklace nervously.

"They were our son and daughter's former foster parents and our ex-social worker. But they're so much worse than that," he answered.

"SHUT UP! We don't know what that little idiot told you about us, but it was all lies!" Mrs. Franklin exclaimed, her face frowning like a villain in a children's movie.

"Your attitude before made it clear to us that Ben wasn't lying," Ray answered, his voice returning to the deadly tone it had adopted.

The sirens of the police squad came quickly, and two cars stopped in front of their house.

Mrs. Campbell laughed, and the sound made Colleen tremble. "That's Officer Carson. I've known him for ten years. He'll sort this all out," she said, and the smugness returned to the Franklins' faces.

Ray hugged his wife closer as the evil social worker turned to the cops, pointing and explaining her side of the story. The officers had dark, angry expressions when she finished.

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"Okay, everyone. Let us take the baby, and we'll let this go," Officer Carson said, approaching Ray and Colleen.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"No!" Alana spoke up and introduced herself to the cop. "I'm a social worker, too. And after some revelations from the child the Fergusons adopted, I put the baby in their care. It's all official. I have the paperwork inside." She rushed into the house.

"Revelations?" the cop wondered, looking at his colleagues in confusion.

"LIES!" Mrs. Franklin added.

"What's going on?" another policeman, Officer Tristan, asked.

"Officer, our adopted son told us many worrying things about his former foster home," Ray began, remaining calm. He explained that Ben sneaked out one day and took the baby from the Franklins. "Our son was wrong for that, but his intentions were pure."

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"NO! THAT'S OUR BABY! That kid will only grow up to be a criminal!" Mrs. Franklin screamed, starting the waterworks.

"Stop screaming for a second. What's this about revelations?" Officer Tristan asked, frowning.

"Officer, kids often don't get along with their foster parents. It's natural, and Ben wasn't in their house for long," Mrs. Campbell stared, touching the cop's shoulder as if they were best friends. The policeman almost looked convinced.

But Alana came out with the documents. "Officers, please take a look. Everything is now in order," she stated, passing the papers to the policemen.

"Those papers don't justify stealing the baby from our home!" Mr. Franklin piped up. "Or how they attacked us just now!" He pointed towards his busted lip, and Ray tried not to smirk. He had no idea he had caused some damage but didn't regret it.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"It doesn't matter what those documents say," Mrs. Campbell said, trying to get the cops to look at her instead of the paperwork. "It was clearly done under shady circumstances. I've worked with the Franklins for years, and Ben was my case. The Fergusons had no right to do this. Under state law, they should be charged with kidnapping and assault. Shouldn't they?"

Colleen started trembling, but she had no idea if it was still from her anger. Alana stared angrily at her colleague, whom she had admired for long. "I can't believe you," she breathed to the evil woman, who lifted a shoulder as if she had won.

"YOU CAN'T TAKE THEM!" a new voice joined the fray. It was tiny but loud and getting closer. "I took the baby! I did it! I will pay for it. I'll go jail, but you can't send any other kid to that house again!"

"Ben!" Ray said, seeing his son coming out of the house with the baby in his arms. From the corner of his eyes, he saw Mr. and Mrs. Franklin twitching to grab the little girl. But Colleen stepped out of Ray's arms to put her body in between.

"Kid," Officer Carson said. "Give the baby to Mrs. Campbell, and we'll talk."

"NEVER!" Ben said, and the fierce look in his eyes stopped everyone in their tracks. "I already told my mom and dad about this, and I'll tell you. Mrs. Franklin had her phone recording me while Mr. Franklin beat me with his belt. They laughed. But that's not all."

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Most adults had similar expressions: shock, confusion, horror, and pain. But three adults wore a single look: hate.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"They showed me videos of what they did to Peter and Charlie before she took them away," the boy pointed at Mrs. Campbell. Then, his finger went to Mr. Franklin. "He said that I was next."

"What kind of videos?" Officer Tristan asked, his voice getting dangerous.

Ben's tiny body was moving with the force of his breaths. "Mr. Franklin was doing stuff to the boys. Terrible stuff. He had his—" The boy made a gesture toward his pant area, and there were several exhales from the gathered crowd.

"THAT'S A LIE!" Mr. Franklin screamed, his face contorting.

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"Mrs. Franklin was always the one recording," Ben continued, staring just as hatefully at his former foster parents. "She liked it. She made sounds...like when you eat chocolate."

"Jesus Christ!" the neighbor, Sarah, exclaimed, clutching her husband for dear life.

Ray and Colleen were just as horrified. Ben had only talked about being hurt and recorded. He had implied what they did to others, but the fact that they showed him those videos was more than just vomit-inducing. It was…beyond any words.

"He must have misunderstood," Mrs. Campbell told Officer Carson, unable to conceal the nervousness in her voice. Officer Tristan took note of that and looked at Alana.

"Do you think this child is lying?" he asked the social worker.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"I don't," Alana said, shaking her head at Mrs. Campbell. "I think it's the truth. I have proof that no kid remains in the Franklins' home for long, although that's highly irregular unless they're adopted like Ben. But the boys he just mentioned, Peter and Charlie, went to different foster placements. It's been happening for years."

"There are throwing around baseless accusations! I'll sue you!" Mr. Franklin threatened.

"Don't you dare threaten anyone here, you pervert," Ray said, becoming a protector again. "You'll be in jail for a long time for what you, your ugly wife, and this horrible woman have done to many kids. Check out their home, Officers. They probably have the videos."

Officer Tristan looked at Officer Carson, who was stumped on what to do. The other two officers were just as shocked, but their faces showed disgust towards the Franklins now.

"You don't mind if we take a look at your house, sir?" Officer Tristan asked Mr. Franklin.

"What? No, you can't do that without a warrant," he said, losing all his bravado.

"It's the easiest way to clear things up," the cop continued. "In fact, we have your address right here in this document, right? Let's go right now." Officer Tristan began to walk to his car, but he didn't get far.

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"NO!" Mr. Franklin exclaimed and tackled the cop to the ground. The others rushed to help their coworker.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Well, Mr. Franklin, you just assaulted an officer of the law," Officer Tristan said, wiping his hands as he stood. "You're under arrest."

"You can't do that!" Mrs. Franklin yelled.

Officer Carson frowned at Mrs. Campbell and finally seemed to make a decision. "This arrest will help us get a warrant. Miss Alana, can you follow us to the station so we can investigate the allegations?"

"With pleasure!" the social worker said and went inside to grab her purse.

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"Should we go too?" Colleen asked Alana when she exited their home.

"No. You stay here. Protect your babies," she replied, patting her shoulder.

"Thank you," Ray told her with all the vehemence he could muster.

"Mrs. Campbell. Mrs. Franklin. I suggest you two come with us to the station," Officer Tristan stated after they put Mr. Franklin in the back.

"This is unacceptable!" the social worker said petulantly. "Carson, you've known me for years."

"If you're innocent, you have nothing to fear," the cop shrugged and urged them all to move.

After a few minutes, all the strange cars were gone from their driveway, and the silence was almost too much.

"Thank you for calling the cops," Ray said to his neighbors again while Colleen knelt to look into Ben's eyes.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"You were so brave. So well-spoken. I'm so proud of you. You may have saved so many other kids besides your sister," she stated, touching his face lovingly.

Finally, Ben's strength left him, and the boy began to cry. Colleen grabbed the baby girl and pulled her son into her body with her spare arm. Ray joined them.

They both knew their son was not lying, and hopefully, the cops would be able to find something that could put those horrible people in jail.

"Let's go inside," Ray finally said. "I'm ordering a pizza."

The next day, Alana called and explained all that happened at the station. She told the cops what she knew, which wasn't much, but amazingly, the kid she had contacted finally called back. She asked him to come down and speak to the cops, and he agreed.

His name was Colin, and he had been with the Franklins for two months when he was 11 before Mrs. Campbell changed him. Colin drove for hours and got to the station in the morning, revealing everything he could.

"Colin told the cops that he told Mrs. Campbell the truth, and she dismissed him," Alana explained through the phone. "But his words were more than enough to get a warrant. They're searching the house right now. I know they'll find something."

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"Mr. Franklin is still detained?" Ray wondered.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Yes, his wife is here, too. Cynthia left," Alana sighed. "But if she runs, that'll only implicate her more."

"Whatever," Colleen snarled. "I hope she does, and they book her for more stuff."

"Honestly, Colleen," Alana said. "Me too. I'll keep you posted but don't worry. They won't bother you again."

"Wait!" Colleen remembered. "We never asked about the baby girl's name."

"Oh!" Alana sounded surprised but pleased. "It's Grace."

"Grace," Colleen breathed, smiling for the first time since last night. "Beautiful."

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"Yes, she is," Ray agreed.

"Yeah, and if you want, I can help you adopt her," Alana stated.

Ray and Colleen's eyes widened at the same time, but they looked at each other and nodded. "Perfect," she said.

The cops found everything they needed at the Franklin's house, including some videos where Mrs. Campbell participated. The evidence was enough to charge them for abuse and an even worse criminal offense.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Alana's department underwent a severe overhaul due to the police investigation, but the press didn't pick up the story. They never understood why, but it didn't matter. They could move on while the three worst people they had ever met went to jail for many years.

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It was the best kind of justice…something that rarely happens in this life.

Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends. It might inspire them and brighten their day.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who adopted a boy and found two identical kids in his room later.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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