Skip to content

One Time Too Many

2012 October 16

“Kids will do what they think they need to do to survive,” he told me. “Whatever it is they need to do so you won’t hurt them.”

One of the saddest stories I’d ever heard was told to me by a man who had nearly forty years experience as a foster parent.

It was about the boy he’d given up on.

When “Mark” came to live with them he was ten years old and had already been in as many homes. The first six months were very positive, which should have told them something right there.

When the compliance comes easy and the kid acts like he loves you more than any adult he’s ever met it’s probably not because you’re such a fantastic incredibly awesome foster parent.

Mark was very affectionate, always wanted to give and receive hugs. He even listened and tried to help out around the house.

But it wasn’t real for this boy.

Once the “honeymoon” was over, he became aggressively defiant and even violent. And when they hugged him and poured their love on him, there was … nothing.

It was as if they had a dead boy.

With other children in the house they couldn’t handle Mark. They had to make a choice and they did.

“I will go to my grave regretting giving up on that little boy,” he told me through tears. And I believe him; this had all happened some thirty years ago and it still gripped him emotionally as he told the story to me.

There’s no telling what happened to this little boy, now a man somewhere, but probabilities indicate it’s nothing good. Somewhere along the line Mark was discarded one time too many. Eventually he shut down and not even good foster parents could reach him; it’s like he was no longer home.

Maybe if he’d met the right parents the second or third time things would have been different. But each successive move shaves off about one year of development in some area, unique to each child; for Mark it completely eroded his ability to bond and trust.

We have to do better.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS