Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chapter Eleven

While all this was going on with Lauren, things were also happening with Corey. Back in the spring , when we were going through all the court goings on, Corey's case was also coming to an end. Corey was born to two people who originated from Morocco.....to that end I was informed by a worker that that meant he was identified as non Caucasian.....now, Corey's skin colour was that of a good tan, put him together beside my eldest daughter, at the end of summer and they looked about the same....but, this identification would help out down the road with another adoption. All the time that we fostered Corey, he didn't have one visit with anyone from his birth family. In fact, he had to undergo blood work so that his paternity could be clarified. Since his birth father was questioning this, he quite often told his biological siblings to have nothing to do with him, not even to play with him! He was ostracized by his family and he was only three years old.

Although we were positive about adopting Lauren, when we considered Corey we were definitely hesitant....as I mentioned before, he was an extremely difficult child to parent, and Don and I weren't convinced that we were the right parents to do this job. We knew that all the emotional and psychological damage that had been done to Corey in his first three years would have a lasting effect, that for sure when he hit puberty ,the whole mess would 'hit the fan'.

That summer, as we normally had been doing, we went camping at a place just south of Orillia called Fair Havens Bible Conference grounds . We would borrow Don's parents' trailer and have our annual vacation. Our eldest daughter Leslie, was almost twelve years old and an accomplished swimmer, by this point having taken many levels of swimming and C.P.R., so when she wanted to go down to canal to go swimming with her friends we didn't have a problem with her going and even taking Corey with her. Don and I were back at the trailer with our eldest son Ryan and Lauren , who was napping, when a Fair Havens staff person came to the trailer asking us to come down to the water , that there had been a swimming accident! Don stayed with Lauren and I quickly got down there. There was quite a crowd which I was surprised at and when I got to the centre of it, there was Corey, lying on the ground. He was conscious, but his colouring was quite off, and he had seaweed and sand stuck to him. I was quickly informed as to what happened. Apparently, Leslie had left Corey happily playing in the sand, and she swam out to the raft to be with her friends. The distance was about twenty- twenty five feet. When she got out there and turned back to check on Corey, she couldn't see him. He told us later that he had decided to go in the water, not too far but a few waves, caused by a boat passing by had knocked him over ( he was a tiny little guy) and he couldn't regain his footing. Panicked, Leslie dove back into the water and swam back to find him....what she finally found was Corey, lying face down in the water, his arms and legs in the spread eagle position. Fortunately, her life saving skills that she had learned came into play as she got him out of the water and started performing CPR. By this time, someone had run to the pool, not far away, and summoned a life guard to come and help. As she arrived , Corey started to regain consciousness and vomit, the lifeguard quickly rolled him on his side.

By the time I got there, an ambulance had been called, and off Corey and I went to Orillia hospital to get checked out. All the way there the attendants insisted that he wear an oxygen mask, which he was scared of but I remember comparing it to a Halloween mask and that seem to satisfying him!

After the doctor checked him out, the impact of the situation hit me when the doctor came out and told me that he was a very fortunate little boy, that if Leslie had not immediately done the CPR that Corey would have died. I remember my mom and dad, who had also been at Fair Havens at the time, showed up at the hospital and I can still see my dad gently carrying Corey out to their car for the car ride back to the camp grounds.

It was a stressful time, there was an investigation, by the camp and by Children's Aid but it was all determined to be an unfortunate accident with a positive ending. It was not to be the first time that Corey had a brush with death......

When the baby worker was out visiting the subject of adopting both Corey and Lauren came up. I remember vividly the worker saying that 'well, maybe you would be able to adopt one of the children but certainly not two'! Little did she know.

An interesting side note about Corey's name. His legal name was actually Karim but when he came to us, they were calling him Corey. We always assumed that this was a nick name from the birth family, but to our surprise we found out differently. When we were at a foster parent dinner , that fall, Corey was about four at this time....I was approached by another foster parent. Apparently, she was the one that had him before us, that couldn't handle him. She asked how he was and during the course of the conversation she mentioned about the name....I was horrified to find out , in her words, that they thought his name was 'just too weird' so they decided to call him Corey instead! The next day, I did sit him down and ask him which name he would prefer and he did say Corey, so we left it at that.

The agency asked if we were going to adopt him as his case was coming to an end. We thought and prayed...heck, we didn't know....we had no idea if we'd be the right parents for him. The agency said that since his family was Muslim that they'd have to look for a Muslim family first. That was fine with us because we were still unsure, so, while they looked , we prayed...we prayed that if there were parents out there that were better parents for Corey that the door would open to them adopting him. Apparently, as we were told, the agency even searched as far as Toronto, but to no avail. Muslim people are very strong about 'the blood', the blood connection,....they just don't adopt other children that are not of there own blood connection.
Oh yes, the paternity test did turn out positive but by that time Corey had been in care for fourteen months with out any birth family contact and the agency said it was too long a time for him to move back in with them. The parents had divorced by this time and the agency had been involved with the other children in that family so they just closed that door.

So, a few weeks after Lauren's adoption went through, Corey's did also. We tried to think of a name for Corey that perhaps when he was a grown man he might prefer to Corey. At that point, we had no idea what he would become but you always have great aspirations for your children. Little did we know, at the time , that we needn't have been concerned.

We chose Cordell (Corey) Jonathan Karim, once again giving his birth name as his third. Unfortunately , the only time the name Cordell is used as an adult is when he is arrested and incarcerated....but I get ahead of myself.

~ Marie

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