Apr 20, 2006

Beyond Hope?

I have been trying to help this homeless guy get his life turned around. I am beginning to think that it is a fool's errand. This isn't just a homeless guy, it is my son, the son we adopted at 6 years old, in the hope that we could give him a better life. I used to joke that if he reached adulthood without me being identified in the local news as "the father of the suspect" or as the "victim", I would considered myself a success. Well, he's an adult and I wasn't in the paper, but I definitely didn't succeed in making him a productive citizen. One of our biological children has a doctorate, another is working on a second master's degree and the third is an undergraduate so it seems nature won over nuture in his case. The trouble started early. He did poorly in school and socially. He made friends with kids who were in trouble and used drugs. In high school he rarely attended and finally dropped out. His girlfriend became pregnant once and then again. He worked low wage jobs, often two at a time to make ends meet. For awhile it seemed as though he might just make it. Then he didn't. The slide began with sporadic calls for help with the rent. Then it accelerated to every month. He would ask to borrow money, $500 or $600 at a time. Just until he got paid he would always say. He even called once to say he was on the way over with the money, but he never made it. He called at Christmas crying that they were about to be put out and the kids had no Christmas gifts. It was a lie to get drug money. It took me over $10,000 in "loans" to figure this out. The girlfriend covered up his drug use because she "loved him". The girlfriend and kids finally moved in with her mother. While living with her mother she managed to get pregnant by him for a third time. Three kids he doesn't support. We took him into our home for 9 months so that he could get a fresh start. He didn't pay a cent of rent even though he had several jobs during that time. All his cash, it seems, went to drugs. We finally got him to leave. He is never coming back here, that much I do know. Now flops where he can. He stays with people a few days until they put him out. Recently, he was staying with a couple of dopers until they got arrested and put in county lockup. He was abruptly back on the street with all his belongings locked in their apartment. He explained to me that this was just more of his bad luck. He doesn't see that if you flop with criminals it leads to bad stuff, not bad luck. I made an arrangement for him to get into a rehab program. He didn't go. I drove him to a homeless center last Monday morning. They offered him work and a place to live. He decided that he didn't want to work construction and left. Instead he got a job at a burger joint yesterday and is flopping with a friend. I tried to tell him that he would soon get asked to leave the apartment and will lose his job because he is homeless. He thinks he is smarter than me so he ignores me. He calls me every couple of days or so to ask for $5 or $10 bucks. He walks to where I work to get the cash. He calls from pay phones or a friend's cell to my cell phone. I don't recognize the number so I answer because it might be one of my customers. My dilemma is whether or not to keep giving him a few bucks. The money means nothing to me but am I allowing him to keep on keeping on? He is not beyond hope, but his is beyond my ability to help. I just don't know. I

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