Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Bedroom Arrest

I've always wanted to write a salacious headline like that, but my vocational life as a pastor really hasn't allowed me that opportunity over the past twenty years. Tonight, however, my life as an adoptive parent presents me this bittersweet moment in the blogosphere.

Our son Mike and our friend Mike B arrived home from a long day of snowboarding about ninety minutes ago. Upon his arrival home our son Mike was reminded that he could not stay in our home, as I had warned him last night. He stormed around for a few minutes, snarling profanities at Claudia as he threw his stuff into a laundry basket. Our other kids were in bed, the house was relatively quiet, and then the revenge of Mike ensued. He marched toward the bathroom to shower, whereupon Claudia told him that he needed to be packing and getting ready to leave, not taking a shower. His verbal assaults were coupled with noncompliance as he proceeded to do as he wished.

Following his shower he came back to the closet where his clothes have been for the past three weeks (which is located just outside Claudia's and my bedroom door). I had the bedroom door open, waiting in my bedroom for his verbal confrontation. In a way that only an eighteen-year-old with a brain dysfunction can, he browbeat me for several minutes about why the whole situation was our fault, and how could we f***ing throw him out in the middle of the night on the coldest day of the year. I reminded him that I had warned him last night, and he couldn't even be courteous enough at that time to stay home to eat dinner with us, nor did he avail himself of the opportunity to find a place to stay. "How the f*** was I supposed to find a place to stay in one night?" "Well, Mike, of the last seven nights you spent at least three of them away from home, so I would think you have at least a place to stay for tonight. You have friends calling you multiple times a day, showing up at our back door and asking for you." "Those aren't my friends. They're [another brother in the home]'s fag friends, not mine."

"Well, Mike, you need to leave our home."

"Why?"

"Because you don't comply with our rules, you steal from us and your siblings, you disrespect us and you won't do what you need to do."

"Oh, and that's f***ing reason to kick me out of my own home?"

"Yes. And you're eighteen. And it's our home. I don't want to call the police, but I will if you continue to be verbally abusive to me."

"How am I being verbally abusive to you? You try to get the cops here and tell them I'm harassing you. That's not harassment and you know it."

"I don't need to establish any harassment, Mike. You have multiple criminal charges against you, you have knowingly violated probation, and if we call law enforcement they will remove you."

Mike refused to move from my bed, assailing me with all of the reasons that it is our fault that he is in the situation that he is. We were the ones who locked him up for four years of his life for doing nothing more than wanting to visit a friend. He fails to remember the weeks and months during that time when he was gone for days at a time, until finally the county social services agency became involved and established, more than we, that Mike was a danger to himself. But we've known for some time that he would find a way to blame us, and blame he did.

"You'll so f***ing regret it if you call the cops. It will be your fault if I go to jail or to prison, not mine."

His mood became more agitated, and I knew he would not leave our home without something more than a verbal altercation. I was not about to back down to his threats and intimidation. As I stepped out of the bedroom I called to Claudia, "You're going to have to call the cops. Mike refuses to leave, and he's being verbally abusive and threatening." I remained a few feet outside of our bedroom door to observe Mike in case he decided to become physically assaultive or destructive. He remained, a caged animal, glowering at me from a distance reminding me that in his world I was the one to blame for all of his ills. In the moments to follow I said simply, "Mike, if you want to leave before the cops arrive, this is the time. I would advise you to go to a friend's for the night and avoid what is about to happen."

"Well I've got no place to go. And besides they'd just classify me as running away and arrest me anyway."

"If you leave before they arrive we will simply tell them that you chose to leave peacefully."

Mike refused to move, and within minutes the police officer was present. Moving into our bedroom she asked Mike to identify himself and then said, "Michael, we have an A & D ("arrest and detain") for you, so I'm going to need to handcuff you." She proceeded to tell Mike that whether we had called tonight or not that his next interaction with any law enforcement agent would have resulted in his being picked up. He asked why, and she made it clear that it was for probation violations. As it turns out, he was wanted even before we called tonight.

Of course, in his mind, he will be in jail tonight because of his neglectful and abusive (those are his words) parents, not because of anything he has done. So here I sit in my bedroom, previously a place of sanctuary and safety, that has been defiled by abusive words from the lips of a criminal we call our own, and further intruded upon by law enforcement. I never thought I would have a cop in my bedroom. And I'm not sure what I think about that as I prepare to get into bed with my very strong, very committed, very patient wife.

A bedroom arrest. Now that should get some blog hits!

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