Tales from the dark side: Regarding Laura Bond's "Nowhere Boy," in the December 4 issue:
My wife and I were foster parents for three years; coincidentally, it was for Lost and Found Inc. Although we had three teenage boys, all dealing with difficult issues that had landed them at Lost and Found, none were of the profound level of the boy in Laura Bond's story. I used that story in class (I'm a teacher, middle school), and after we read it, I asked the kids to write a one-page reaction. It'll be interesting to see what they saw.
I believe Bond dealt with this issue fairly, stating the obvious problems of shortage of funds, services and people who are willing to open their homes against the increasing numbers of kids in need. We live in uncertain times, and kids are reaping the results of our limited resources. I teach in an alternative school where most of the kids have experienced the darker side of life. We are here to teach them because somebody has to. I only wish we had more resources to open our doors wide and invite in those kids, like David, who have nowhere else to go. I wish we could help all of the Davids out there, but I take solace in the fact that in my class, I am able to teach at least three kids who, without this school, might not have a fighting chance in the face of the struggles of this world.
Thanks for the article.
Iraq and ruin: "Nowhere Boy" was a good article, but very sad. Apparently, these kind of situations are increasing rather than decreasing. Sadly, Laura Bond's story demonstrates the frustration experienced by all concerned, and also shows the inability of the state to genuinely care. We can spend billions and billions in Iraq, but these problems are now, and always have been, on "ignore."
Let's hear it for the boy: I read "Nowhere Boy," and I have to say, it was amazing. It was nice to read an article that lets people know what children go through in the system, and it gave some insight into a poorly constructed child-care system. I grew up in a foster home and was diagnosed with some of the same symptoms as David, but I was fortunate to be placed in a wonderful foster home with great parents who helped me grow into a strong young man. When I read this story, it reminded me a lot of my childhood. I couldn't help but feel the need to reach out and let someone know there is hope! I realize that my case is different from David's, but they have a lot of similarities, and I hope that by sharing my story, it might help the Mallamos in some way!
Tell David's parents not to get too discouraged and to never give up and always try to be there for him. Let them know that I was abused as a child, both physically and psychologically. Both of my parents drank and smoked marijuana before and after I was born. I used to pretend that I was a comic-book character, usually Wolverine from the X-Men; I did that until I was a sophomore in high school. All through school, from kindergarten to my senior year in high school, my friends were comic books and video games. I had a real hard time trusting people and an even harder time opening up to people and letting them get close to me. I was afraid they would hurt me.
Now I am attending the Colorado School of Mines, and I'm studying to be a mechanical engineer. My social skills have also improved immensely. I live with five friends I met in college, and we have great relationships and have lived to together for three years now. I have also been in and out of your typical college dating games, including a relationship that lasted a little over a year. I have a steady job. I sell computers for a living, and I do quite well.
I don't want to sound vain or conceited, and I don't know that this is even helpful, but I feel that if my story can help in any way, then I am obligated to share it. I also know that my foster parents had a lot of the same concerns about me that the Mallamos expressed about David, and with time and love, things worked out for me. I hope that they will do the same for David!
At your service: I just finished reading "Nowhere Boy" for the second time. As a former child-protection worker, I applaud your objectivity in presenting this story. In my comments, I cannot be so objective. Unfortunately, David's story is like many I became familiar with while working with children. To this day, it continues to amaze me that children such as this are not recognized as abused or neglected until a few years into their young lives.