The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family by Dave Pelzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was a little easier to read than the first one, but just barely. David went through a number of foster homes, some meant to be temporary and others temporary because of his behavior. It is easy to forget that an abused child comes to a foster home with many behaviors, which, while they enabled him to survive in his original home, were inappropriate in a foster home. David learned to be very wary and to squelch his emotional needs. At home he learned to steal to get enough food to live and to desire to be loved and accepted by his abusing mother and his peers. When prodded by classmates, he shoplifted to show off. He went by his mother’s house which was strictly forbidden. He made contact with his brother and did other things which were inappropriate. Unbelievably, most of these children continue to believe that their abusive parents will somehow change and shower them with love. The picture of David waiting for his father to visit weekend after weekend was heartbreaking.
I worked for a number of years in juvenile corrections and I have seen that behavior on many occasions. Over and over we would tell the boys that they were very lucky to get into a school, foster home or treatment center, and that they had to behave in order to not go to a training school. Even though they were petrified of going to a state school, they so often could not take advantage of the placement found for them. They lacked the ability to follow a few necessary rules and ended up in a state school with far more rules. This is exactly what happened to David. The problem isn’t with correcting their behavior as much as filling up the holes in their hearts so that they become able to behave. The big question is can they fill up the need before the behavior is totally out of hand. In David’s case, he was able to accept the love his foster parents had for him and began to modify his behavior, but not until he had been moved from a number of homes.
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