Nowhere Boy

His biological parents didn't want him -- but to get him the help he needs, his adoptive parents must give him up.

"The litany of failures with this kid is just endless, endless, endless," says Paul. "I've never been in such a discouraging situation -- one that didn't seem amenable to any kind of solution. It tells you you've been totally ineffective as a parent, because nothing you've done has made a single difference in the character of this person, in who he's become."

Paul and Susan feel that their son is receiving the most effective possible treatment at Lost and Found. But they wonder what, if anything, can ever really save him.

"Something's either going to happen where his brain changes a little and he starts to settle down," Paul speculates, "or he's going to wind up one of the guys on the side of the road with a sign, or worse. It could go a criminal route. It could go a lot of ways. We just don't know. So we just pray."

 
Anthony Camera
 
A family affair: After eight years, Susan and Paul 
Mallamo say they can no longer care for their adopted 
son, David.
Anthony Camera
A family affair: After eight years, Susan and Paul Mallamo say they can no longer care for their adopted son, David.

They pray, and they hope that one day David will be able to rejoin their family.

But David knows he won't be going home for a while. "My parents are nice to me, and they help me, and I like to come and visit them," he says. "But I have to improve my behavior before I can come back to live with them, and it hasn't been improving, because I always sabotage everything."

At Lost and Found, David spends his days in therapy or reading. Although he doesn't have any friends, he's getting to know a few of the car thieves, criminals and sex offenders who live at the center. But he doesn't want to spend his whole life surrounded by trouble, he says.

Someday, he wants to be a pilot.

"They're not going to let me be a pilot because of my behavior, so I'm trying to get better," he says. "But it always seems like every time I get better, I get worse instead. I'm kind of getting tired of that. I want to be better all the time."

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