You get them in fostering, boring it isn't.
Our newest arrival..the one I've called 'Romeo' on the blog?
The one whose mum had to decide between him or her latest bloke since her latest bloke was considered a risk? The one whose mum went and chose the bloke? That child. That poor discarded little mite.
He's found his groove with us, got a bit of traction on life. He fits in, enjoys our routines, responds maturely to the normal disciplines of a normal house. By which I mean he moans about bedtime, moans about there always being something green on his plate, has been known to lob a remote control across the room if whatever he's trying to do on the X Box goes pear shaped. And sulks when he's banned from it for 48 hours for the lob.
We like him. He likes us. He's on the way up.
There's been talk of permanent placement, after all he has nobody; real father has vanished, no other relatives to speak of, mother shacked up with a drug-doing, possibly drug-dealing reprobate complete with Asbos, convictions, convictions pending including contravention of a Court Order and carrying something allegedly with intent, who is believed to have several other offspring from other 'relationships' dotted around several different social services.
The mother wants Romeo back.
The story we hear is that she's left the bloke, and says she's mended her ways.
These are the occasions when we have to remember that we foster carers are first and foremost, professionals.
Professional parents. And while the business of being a good parent is so demanding and complex it's way more of an art form than a science, there are times when we have to be cool and collected and push our feelings into the right place.
We have to remember that the job in hand is to get them ready to go home. Even when our heart aches, our fears are running riot in our head, our reservations are real and profound. We are part of a system which on the whole is fantastically thorough and deeply caring.
The decision-makers will decide and we have to support that decision and do our darnedest to make it work.
I might have misgivings about the woman's suitability to parent, not to mention her motives for wanting her son back (accommodation, benefits...), but if it happens, my job is to conceal those concerns from him, which at the moment is what we are doing - he has no idea what sort of discussions are taking place.
If and when he goes it will be heart-breaking for us, yes. But how do we want him to feel?
This is a big question. Do we want him to feel sad to leave? We instinctively want him to have appreciated his time here and therefore miss the things he's not likely to get when he goes back to a troubled mother. Or do we want him champing at the bit to get home (wherever home is)? Or a bit of both?
The fact is it's out of our hands. We could go extra-kind and generous to help him store up some emotional strength and well-being before he goes. Or we could begin to neutralise so that whatever attachment may have developed isn't overly weighted to the point of risking damage to his next step in life.
But I suspect it doesn't matter much how we approach the departure, so we'll carry on as before; providing material needs first and a consistent, caring, loving environment second.
Because one thing you notice quickly in fostering is that it doesn't matter how wayward a child's biological parents are, the child has a longing to be with them that is as powerful a force as anything in the Universe.
Forget gravity and Newton's second law of motion.
The pull a child feels towards mum and dad is so seismic that if it could be harnessed it would solve the eternal mystery of perpetual motion, so it would.
So I fully expect Romeo to dance off with a song in his heart, full of hope.
That said, there'll always be a bed for him here.
That old Chinese saying for parents sometimes applies to fostering;
"Let them go and every path they take will lead them back to you".