Rosalind Jenkins – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile

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Rosalind Jenkins never planned to be a social worker. It was extremely ironic that she ended up in the Department of Children’s Services since children were the reason her marriage ended, and the love of her life walked away. Or rather, the lack of children. What she first believed was a small case of stomach flu ended up being cervical cancer. Six days later, she had no womb and no chance to ever have children of her own. Her husband told her it didn’t matter. They would adopt, or simply spend their life together loving and cherishing each other.

Less than a year later he was gone, saying he’d fallen in love with a woman who wanted children as much as he did.

Of course, Rosalind dealt with depression. But she maintained her composure. She lived a solitary life, still teaching voice at a small, exclusive girl’s academy. However, just 10 ½ short months later, after hearing that her former husband and his new wife had just become parents, Rosalind broke. Unable to function and carry out her duties, the girl’s academy had to let her go.

Rosalind stayed locked away in her home for three months. Her sadness and depression festering…growing into anger and bitterness. Exhausting her savings, Rosalind knew she needed to find a job or sell her house. Calling an old friend from college for job leads, she was instead given the contact information for a manager with the Department of Children’s Services. Her friend assured Rosalind that with her degrees and years of experience, she would definitely be offered a position and above entry-level pay.

And she was.

Rosalind performed well at her new job, and her supervisors were pleased. Her reports were always complete and filed on time. But Rosalind was not good at her job. She lacked the empathy and compassion essential to help children who were as broken as she was, and to educate and assist parents in bettering their situations to maintain a safe loving home for their children. Instead, Rosalind loathed the parents for being able to have children so easily, then carelessly and recklessly make them a part of recurring domestic violence situations, drug addictions, and keeping them in dilapidated housing where frequently, there was no utilities.

And the children? Rosalind detested them for even being born. More often than not…right or wrong, Rosalind Jenkins removed more children from their homes than anyone else in the department. For the next twelve years, the irreparably broken and bitter case manager did nothing else but her job. Rosalind made no friends and lost touch with the few she’d had. She didn’t have a pet, or even a television. Spurred on by the always smoldering rage deep inside her, Rosalind poured over case files and department policies, seeking new ways to separate families and keep them apart.

It was this unbalanced, spiteful woman who walked into the hospital room of a barely conscious ten-year-old Livvie Chandler. Four days after losing her father, and while her mother still remained in a coma, Rosalind Jenkins would forever change the course of the little girl’s life.

Rosalind Doria (Chesney) Jenkins

Age: 62

DOB: December 9, 1952

Place of Birth: Lynn Woods, Massachusetts

Divorced, no children

Level 5 Social Worker/Case Manager with Minnesota DCS

Margot Schultz – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile

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Dynamic and vivacious Margot Schultz never met an obstacle she couldn’t overcome…or knock down. Executive assistant/office manager to Olivia Chandler, Margot always seems to know the right amount of charm, wit, and panache to use when dealing with anyone from grumpy judges to cagey Department of Children’s Service employees to Olivia’s peers – some of whom are less-than-ethical.

Early in her career, Margot worked for some of the less than-ethical-crowd. While they could be gods and magicians in the courtroom, pulling out wins from seemingly unwinnable cases, outside the courtroom was another matter. Margot could remember each and every personal errand she’d had to do, each gift she’d had to buy for multiple girlfriends and mistresses, and every lie she’d told to one of her bosses’ wives.

When Margot heard through the courthouse grapevine that the executive secretary of a successful young, female child advocate attorney was retiring for health reasons and had no replacement, she grabbed her resume, took an extended lunch and went in search of Olivia Chandler. Despite her unusual approach, Margot and Olivia clicked immediately.

The two women have worked side by side for ten years. Olivia admired Margot’s work ethic. She encouraged Margot to continue her education when time allowed, and even paid for it, calling it a ‘sound investment.’ Margot would eventually advance from executive legal secretary to executive assistant and office manager.

Margot knows Olivia has no family and was a foster care kid. She doesn’t know the intimate details, but she does know Olivia’s adolescence was bad enough for Olivia to keep herself closed off to most people. Her boss seems to ‘live’ when focused and working on a case for their minor clients. The rest of the time, Olivia just seems to exist.

The divorced office manager is not one of those people who believe a woman needs a man in her life to be complete, but Bruce Bellamy has suddenly appeared in Olivia’s life, and Margot will do her part to keep him there.

Things are going to get interesting.

 

Margot Rose (Parker) Schultz

Age: She’s not telling – but probably mid to late 40s

Born: New York, New York

Marital Status: Divorced – has adult twin sons who are both Marines

Is two classes away from a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management

Loves to dance and can be found on a dance floor most Saturday nights

Collects souvenirs from the Roaring 20s – always says she would have made a great Flapper

Plays acoustic guitar, but rarely does as it reminds her of her musician ex-husband

Is somewhat estranged from her parents and siblings since she dropped out of college nearly 30 years ago to elope with her now ex-husband

Courtney and Marissa Bellamy – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile

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As best friends to Duncan Averest and his late wife, Irene, Courtney and Marissa Bellamy knew they would stand by Duncan. Whatever it took to help him through the loss of his wife and the serious injuries sustained by him and daughter, Rena, the Bellamys would do. And, as Rena’s godparents, of course she would live with them until her father was well enough to take care of her. They took their vows as godparents very seriously. But someone is trying to stop them. Someone is trying to keep them away from Duncan and make sure Rena gets sent into the foster care system.

Court-appointed child advocate attorney Olivia Chandler is the answer to their prayers. They’re moved by her genuineness and promise to “do right by Rena.” There seems to be an immediate bond between the attorney and her young client, and Marissa cannot help but wonder if it has more to do with the flashes of sadness she sees in Olivia’s eyes than with simple job commitment.

The instant interest in Olivia by his cousin, Bruce, hasn’t been lost on Courtney. Abandoned by his ex-wife when their children were mere toddlers, Bruce hasn’t shown little more than a passing, casual interest in any woman since. Olivia will be spending quite a bit of time with the Bellamy family in the near future, and Courtney thinks it’s just enough time to do a bit of matchmaking. And, where you find Courtney…you find Marissa.

Let the games begin!

Courtney Ardan and Marissa Anne (Monroe) Bellamy

Met in Botany 101 during their freshman year of college

Married November 30, 1996

Two sons – Bishop, 18 and Brian, 16

Courtney works in IT/Computer Systems for the local school district, Marissa is head of Library Sciences for Hennepin County Public Libraries

Courtney (Caucasian) and Marissa (African-American) are an Interracial couple who haven’t suffered much of the disdain shown to interracial couples by society due to their steadfast commitment to each other and the love and total support of their families.

Bruce Bellamy – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile

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A former amateur race car driver, and current owner of a successful chain of auto repair shops, Bruce Bellamy is a cousin to Rena Averest’s current caregivers. He and Olivia meet for the first time when she gives Rena a ride home from physical therapy, and he is there trying to diagnose the problem with his cousin’s car.

Bruce is instantly smitten with the attorney. Her voluptuousness pulls him right in, but it’s the guarded sadness in her eyes that propels him to get to know her. She has a beautiful smile, and he thinks she should use it more often.

The easy going business owner has been alone for nearly two decades, when his ex-wife walked away from him and their four children in search of a more affluent lifestyle. Her callous, mercenary heart caused him to close his off, and he’s not been in a relationship since, nor had any involvement with women worth mentioning, choosing instead to concentrate on raising his children and making his business successful. So when Olivia gets his attention, the entire Bellamy clan takes notice, and proceeds to help him win her over.

Having spent her adult life avoiding romantic entanglements, Olivia knows she’s walking a tight rope by allowing Bruce to get too close. Rena’s case has brought Olivia’s childhood back to the forefront of her mind, making her believe she has nothing to offer Bruce.

He seems to think otherwise.

Bruce Ambrose Bellamy
Age: 42
DOB: June 28, 1972
Place of Birth: Duluth, Minnesota
Divorced
Has four (adult) children
Owns a chain of successful auto repair shops
Loves ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘Married with Children’ reruns
Has a BA and MA in Business earned while attending night, and online classes
Hates golfs and considers it pointless
Loves football and is a diehard Minnesota Vikings Fan

Martin ‘Marty’ Knight – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile

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After their initial visit at the hospital where Rena has daily physical therapy, she and Olivia meet hospital volunteer, Martin ‘Marty’ Knight as they leave. Marty is concerned about the sadness in Rena’s eyes and tries to cheer her up as he helps her into the car. He is shocked to find out that Rena’s injuries and the death of her mother were caused by the same weather-related, multi-vehicle accident that claimed the life of his best friend, Victor Roddy.

During Marty and Rena’s conversation, Olivia finds herself staring at the man, convinced they have met before. She just cannot remember where. Marty also cast several glances in Olivia’s direction trying to figure out why she looks so familiar. His memory fails him.

As the story unfolds, Marty Knight will not only become a good friend and ‘grandfather’ to Rena, he will play a pivotal role in Olivia Chandler sorting out her past…and navigating her future.

  • Martin Eugene Knight
  • Age: 71
  • Retiree and Hospital Volunteer
  • DOB: October 31, 1943
  • Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Marital Status: Widower. Wife, EmmaJean, passed away three years ago after a difficult battle with liver cancer.
  • Marty and EmmaJean married right after graduating from high school. She died two weeks after their 50th wedding anniversary.
  • Has five children and eleven grandchildren.
  • Veteran of the Vietnam War. Entered the war near its beginning and served four years.
  • Received a Purple Heart and Medal Honor.
  • Enjoys building miniatures, fly fishing, and watching westerns.
  • Carries a keychain with a picture of his wife on one side, and a picture of his dog on the other. His dog passed away two months after his wife, at the age of 16. EmmaJean named the dog Dwight, because she was convinced he looked like Dwight D Eisenhower.

Rena Averest – In The Best Interest of the Child – Character Profile

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Olivia Chandler’s latest client is eleven-year-old Rena Averest.

Rena and her parents were involved in a weather-related, multi-car accident. Her mother was killed and her father was severely injured and comatose for several weeks, and remains hospitalized indefinitely.

Rena suffered extensive injuries and was also hospitalized for several weeks. When she was well enough to be discharged, the hospital ran into major obstacles. Her mother’s only living relative was an older brother who lived two thousand miles away. Suffering with chronic cystic fibrosis, he was unable to care for Rena, and had in fact, even missed his sister’s funeral. Rena has grandparents, two uncles, and an aunt on her father’s side of the family…and they want absolutely nothing to do with her.

An extremely benevolent judge, taking into account all that Rena is currently dealing with, allows her to be placed temporarily with Courtney and Marissa Bellamy, friends of her parents since college, and Rena’s godparents. Not knowing how her father’s medical situation will resolve itself, the judge feels Rena needs the stability and familiarity of the Bellamy home. The Department of Children’s Services disagrees and take legal action to remove Rena from the Bellamy home and place her in foster care. The presiding judge, spurred on by the irony of DCS wanting to remove Rena Averest from a non-relative home only to place her in a non-relative home, stays the case and appoints a child advocate attorney to research the case and protect Rena’s interest.

And that’s exactly what Olivia intends to do.

Rena Irene Averest

Age: 11

DOB: May 6, 2003

Parents: Duncan and Irene Averest

Siblings: None

Favorite color: Yellow

Favorite music: Todrick Hall and all songs Disney-related

Favorite Book: The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

Pets: A turtle named Brutus

BFF: Margie Macy

Wants to be a surgical nurse when she grows up