That people want to hear things are getting better, even when they're not. So you stop saying this kid is hurting inside. That he has hurts that aren't ever going to heal. And when they ask for the third time today if he's doing better when you've already said twice that he's not, you say yes. And watch the worry melt from their foreheads.
That people don't like to hear the words mentally retarded. Even when it's true. They prefer to think about developmental delays and learning challenges. Some kids need extra time to learn to talk, you know. He's just never been given a chance, you know. As if a brain damaged by drugs and alcohol, abuse and neglect is something a child can erase if only given enough love. As if this broken child will ever be whole.
That you can take a child into your home, shower him with everything little boys need and deserve, and he can still act out in ways you can't even mention in good company. In horrible, terrible, disgusting ways. And it doesn't only make him difficult to love, but hard as hell to like. And you wonder if you're ever going to like this kid. If anybody can ever like this child. But you keep going, and hope that you'll be the first.