Chapter Twenty-Four

"With given all the evidence that was presented, Mr. and Mrs. Bolton, the younger ones, are more then capable of raising the young child that they had found in the snow. They kept her warm, fed her, gave her a place to sleep and took care of her for the few days that they had her." The Judge began. Troy had Gabriella's hand in his. She gave it a quick squeeze. "However, seeing as they're only eighteen and they're still in school, they would not be able to focus all their time and energy on this child. They could drop out but how would they support her?"

Troy looked into his wife's eyes. Tears were starting to form in them. "I see that this young couple really care about this child so here is what I suggest. I will award the grown adults full custody of the child, but when Mr. and Mrs. Bolton get home from school, they will balance homework, plus what they have to do at home, as well as give their full attention to the child in question. If proven that they can handle it, when they graduate, full custody will be handed down to them." The judge smacked his gravel.

Gabriella jumped up and threw her arms around Troy. They got her. Troy kissed his wife. So much had happened since they had been rescued from the deserted cabin in the mountains. They starred in the school play, had caught up on all their work, and fought for custody of Destiny. Social Services had taken the baby out of their care when they went into report what happened. Their luck had finally turned around.

Four months later, Gabriella and Troy were on edge. They had just graduated two hours ago. As he promised, the judge that had granted custody of Destiny to the older adults was waiting for them in his office.

So much had happened in the last few months. They had finally gotten the respect of the school. Unfortunately Mr. Varner was another issue. But he was handled with easily enough. He had followed them around the school, called them in his office when it wasn't necessary, so they all had sued him for harassment. He was fired and they had a new principal. Gabriella and Taylor were both Valedictorian. They had the same I.Q. and the school couldn't choose. They had proven that they could handle the pressure of going to school and being parents when they got home.

"Since I have made my ruling last time, do you think that these two have kept to their end of the bargain. Supporting the child, raising it, as well and going to school and getting an education?" The judge asked.

One by one, each adult stood up. They each answered the same thing. "Yes."

"And do you feel that they have the time and energy to handle the child full time?" Again the answer was yes.

Troy looked at Gabriella with hope. They were moments away to getting full custody of Destiny. "Please, please, please." Gabriella whispered, her fingers crossed.

The judge looked to them. "Do you feel that you are ready to raise this child. Support her, nurture her, and give her the things that she needs?"

"Yes, sir." They both replied.

"They I have no choice but to…" But he was cut off.

"Your honor?" A woman asked.

"Yes?" The Judge asked.

"I am the mother of the child in question. I have come back to get my baby."

Gabriella looked at Troy in horror.

"Let me get this straight." The judge said. "You abandon your baby in the snow. The cold wind taking the baby's breath away. You show up months later, after the couple that found her took care of her, saying you want your baby back?"

"Yes sir." The woman replied.

"Well, Miss…" The judge began.

"Kristy Collins." The woman offered.

"Well, Miss Collins, you are aware that if this couple wouldn't have found her, she would have died. Then this would be a murder trial instead of a custody hearing."

"I am aware of the actions that I did. I was fully confident that someone would find her in time." Miss. Collins said.

"Fortunately they did. They also made sure that she survived, and over the last couple months, they had raised her as their own. They supported her, loved her, and gave up their entire lives for her. So unfortunately for you, I am granting them full custody of the child." He banged his gravel. His ruling was final. Gabriella screamed and jumped up and down. The judge smiled. "I believe that you all have a graduation party you need to get to. Congratulations and good luck."

Troy looked at Gabriella and from that moment on, he knew that no matter what happened, they would be a very happy family.

The End

p.s. I'm sad that it's over. L