Our Son Started Acting Weirdly with His Toys and Clothes — the Reason Led to a Shocking Truth

When Max notices his son acting a little strange, he tries to get to the cause. As he questions the little boy, Max goes through a series of emotions before finally uncovering that the truth lies with his wife and a secret from her past.

As the breadwinner of the family, I work a lot. So, when I’m home, I notice the slightest changes. And lately, something was off with my eight-year-old son, Charlie. He’d started hiding his toys and wearing two shirts at once.

A close-up of a little boy | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a little boy | Source: Midjourney

It was very unusual behavior for him. It wasn’t like Charlie at all.

“Son?” I asked one evening as I was getting ready for Charlie’s story time. Instead of bouncing into bed as he usually would, waiting for me to choose a story, Charlie was stuffing his action figures under his bed.

“Why are you hiding your toys?”

Action figures in a box | Source: Midjourney

Action figures in a box | Source: Midjourney

My son’s big blue eyes widened with fear.

“Daddy,” he said nervously. “Because he’s going to come and take all these away.”

“Who, sweetheart? Who is going to take all your toys away?”

A man with his hands on his head | Source: Midjourney

A man with his hands on his head | Source: Midjourney

“My brother! The baby!”

My stomach turned. I had no idea what my son was saying. It was possible that Serena was pregnant; we weren’t on any form of contraception because we did want another baby.

I just didn’t think that she would keep it from me.

A man deep in thought | Source: Midjourney

A man deep in thought | Source: Midjourney

“You don’t have a brother,” I said simply, getting into the bed with him.

“Yes, I do!” he exclaimed excitedly. “But he’s still little. I saw the picture in Mom’s bag.”

I had so many questions, but none of them were for Charlie. This was a discussion for Serena and me. Now, I was just going to read a story to Charlie until he fell asleep.

A sleeping little boy | Source: Midjourney

A sleeping little boy | Source: Midjourney

Finally, my son’s eyelids began to droop, and soon after, he was nodding off to sleep.

I waited a few minutes before slipping out and going to the hallway where Serena left her handbag.

“I have to keep it here, Max,” she would say, chuckling. “Or you know I’ll end up leaving something behind. I’m that scatterbrained.”

A handbag on a table | Source: Midjourney

A handbag on a table | Source: Midjourney

I rummaged through my wife’s handbag, and there it was. An ultrasound, clear as day, of a baby tucked into my wife’s stomach.

But why wouldn’t she just tell me? I thought to myself. Unless she was planning a little surprise for me.

Serena had done that when she found out that we were pregnant with Charlie. She planned an entire thing with a little cake that revealed we were expecting.

A colorful cake on a plate | Source: Midjourney

A colorful cake on a plate | Source: Midjourney

But it was too late for a surprise. I knew about the pregnancy now, and I wanted us to be on the same page before getting all excited.

Holding the ultrasound, I went to find Serena, who was relaxing with a book.

“Honey,” I began, my voice trembling for some reason. “Are you pregnant? Why didn’t you tell me? How far along are we?”

Hands holding onto an ultrasound image | Source: Unsplash

Hands holding onto an ultrasound image | Source: Unsplash

My wife’s reaction sent alarm bells ringing in my head. I had never seen blood drain from someone’s face so fast.

“Max,” she said slowly, although her eyes betrayed her as they filled with panic. “I’m not pregnant.”

“What? Then what is this?” I asked, holding the ultrasound. “Who is it?”

A shocked woman | Source: Midjourney

A shocked woman | Source: Midjourney

“It’s… that picture. It’s me, but from a long time ago,” she said.

My mind raced, the alarm bells ringing louder with every thought.

“What do you mean, Serena?” I asked.

A close-up of a man | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a man | Source: Midjourney

Tears welled in my wife’s eyes, and I knew that a big confession was coming. Her soft features changed before my eyes; there was a sense of pain etched onto her face.

“Max,” she began. “I had a baby when I was in high school. I gave birth to him because I couldn’t imagine anything else, and then, hours after he was born, I gave him up for adoption. I’ve never told anyone outside of my family because I was ashamed of having a baby so young. It was sixteen years ago, but sometimes I still get sad and miss him. His birthday is this week, and he should be sixteen years old now.”

A smiling teenage girl | Source: Midjourney

A smiling teenage girl | Source: Midjourney

I was absolutely stunned.

“Why didn’t you tell me, Serena?” I asked softly. “I’m not someone you should be ashamed to tell these things to. Why didn’t you let me help you carry this burden?”

Sobbing, she replied softly, her voice a mere whisper.

A crying woman | Source: Midjourney

A crying woman | Source: Midjourney

“Because I was scared that you’d see me differently. I thought that everyone would.”

I pulled my wife into a hug.

“You should never have had to go through that alone. We need to talk to Charlie about this. He saw the ultrasound and came to his own conclusion. He’s confused and scared in his own way.”

A couple sitting on a couch together | Source: Midjourney

A couple sitting on a couch together | Source: Midjourney

Serena’s eyes widened, and she nodded.

“I didn’t know that!” she exclaimed. “But yes, we need to explain this to him.”

The next morning, we sat down with Charlie and a plateful of pancakes, explaining everything as gently as we could. He was only eight years old, and there were things that he simply just wouldn’t understand.

“So, there’s no baby coming for my toys?” he asked, hugging Serena.

A smiling little boy | Source: Midjourney

A smiling little boy | Source: Midjourney

“No,” I replied. “But if that changes, we’ll tell you first!”

But as the days went on, I just wanted to give Serena some peace.

“Let’s contact the adoption agency,” I suggested when we were in bed one night. “You don’t have to do anything with the information we get. But at least you’ll have it.”

A couple laying in bed together | Source: Midjourney

A couple laying in bed together | Source: Midjourney

She nodded against my chest.

It wasn’t easy, but with proof that Serena had given birth and signed the adoption papers, slowly we began to get more information.

Finally, after months of red tape and challenges, we found him. Serena’s first-born son.

A woman signing a document | Source: Midjourney

A woman signing a document | Source: Midjourney

“His name is Michael,” she told me after she hung up the call with a social worker from the agency. “He has a loving family that adopted him two days after he was born. The agency has reached out to his adoptive parents, telling them that I’m interested in a meeting. But it’s only if he wants to meet, that anything will happen.”

I smiled at my wife and the way she was handling the situation. I just hoped that she wasn’t getting her hopes too high.

A close-up of a smiling woman | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a smiling woman | Source: Midjourney

But to our relief, Michael’s family was open to it.

“They said that they’re happy to meet in a neutral place,” my wife said, coming into my home office while I was working one evening.

“That’s great!” I exclaimed, grateful that we could at least meet Michael.

A man working in a home office | Source: Midjourney

A man working in a home office | Source: Midjourney

“They suggested the park because the family has a set of twins around Charlie’s age, so the kids can play while the rest of us talk.”

I nodded.

“Yes, that sounds perfect,” I said, sitting back in my chair.

Smiling children | Source: Midjourney

Smiling children | Source: Midjourney

When Michael saw Serena, there was an instant connection. He looked so much like her. They shared the same eyes and nose, even the way they laughed.

I watched my wife fall in love with her son, and he was taken with her, too.

“I’m so sorry, Michael,” Serena said after the kids settled down at the playground at the park. “I didn’t want to give you away, but it was the best chance I could have given you at the time.”

A playground at a park | Source: Midjourney

A playground at a park | Source: Midjourney

Michael’s voice was soft but steady.

“I’m happy,” he said. “My parents are great, and they were open and honest about the adoption early on. They didn’t want to hide me away from the world, especially if there was a chance that you would come looking. My mother told me that you were young, and it would have been an impossible decision for you.”

A smiling baby | Source: Midjourney

A smiling baby | Source: Midjourney

“I’ve always wondered about you,” Serena said. “But I didn’t tell Max about you until recently, so I always had to carry it alone.”

As the kids played together, Michael joined his siblings to push them on the swings, and Serena and I talked with Michael’s adoptive parents.

They were wonderful people, and we were grateful for how they had raised him.

A smiling older couple | Source: Midjourney

A smiling older couple | Source: Midjourney

It’s been months now, and our families have gotten close. We often meet on Sunday afternoons and have a meal together, allowing the siblings to get to know each other.

We found a balance that has allowed Michael to have both his adoptive family and us in his life. Serena’s burden of guilt and shame lifted, replaced by joy and the fulfillment of seeing her two sons together.

A family eating together | Source: Midjourney

A family eating together | Source: Midjourney

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