Friday, October 03, 2008

When The Cell Phone Says "Blocked"

I have learned something new about law enforcement in the past few months. Having had no encounters with law enforcement in my life until our kids became involved in illegal activities, there is always something interesting to learn from that side of life. I have learned, for example, that there are two separate housing areas at the local jail. One is for "straight time" inmates (those who are not allowed to leave until their sentence is complete) and the other is for "work release" inmates. (Our nineteen-year-old son has recently "moved up" to become a work release inmate).

I have also learned that sometimes good, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens who choose to visit someone in jail are treated with as little respect as the individuals who are incarcerated. But I've blogged about that before, so I won't perseverate on it any longer.

Most recently I have learned that when my cell phone rings and the caller ID says "blocked call," it is most likely a call from the local jail. Our son Mike has been reconnecting with us more frequently in the past couple of weeks, and while I understand it is because he needs something from us, I also understand that it's part of the reason I am his dad. Claudia and I have adopted kids so that when they are in difficult spots they have someone they can turn to. I can only imagine what it would be like to be nineteen, in jail, and having no adult resources at all (other than what the system may be able to offer). So, although there is not much we can do for Mike at this point in his life, there are some things we can do.

He called today to followup on his earlier request for our help in providing him with some clothing for possible job interviews. He tells me he has a job interview on Monday and wonders if we can help him "with the clothes stuff." I told him that we could, and that I would bring him some interview clothes before his interview Monday.

"Oh, yeah," he continued, "visiting hours are Saturday and Sunday from 2:30 - 5:30."

It's nice to have an "adult" child who wants to see you, even if it is while he is in jail, and even if there are ulterior motives.

With the latest research on the brain indicating that an individual's brain is not fully formed until the age of 26, I am hopeful that offers Mike some kind of a future. It is hard to know with his organic brain damage due to prenatal alcohol exposure, but he has a high IQ and is "bright" enough to get himself into trouble. Perhaps in time he can become a contributing member of society.

And if providing him a set of clothes for an interview can help him in that direction, I'm glad to do it.

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