Adopted teen with Attachment disorder?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by auntalva, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. auntalva

    auntalva Adoptive Single Mom of 2

    My 16 yo AD spent two weeks at a local shelter for troubled teens and runaways, and after six weeks back at home she is now at the Juvenile Detention Center due to a third arrest on a charge of domestic battery (against me). Her negative behaviors and attitudes seem to match all of the symptoms for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) ("reactive attachment disorder"):
    -- need to control
    -- fear of closeness
    -- lack of reciprocity (self-centered, dishonest)
    -- angry and defiant
    -- no empathy or remorse

    How do I teach this child to trust, cooperate, empathize and have a conscience? There are programs like the XXX Institute in Colorado that look really good, but I am a retired, single Mom and cannot afford something like that.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has she ever been to attachment therapy?
  3. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    All the trust issues, etc that come with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) are a long term treatment process. The facility in Colorado, while it has great short term success ~ the long term isn't that great from what I've read/researched.

    Saying that, nurturing is a process from the day a child is born. You're behind the 8 ball when you've adopted an older child; I suggest you pick up the book Parenting the Hurt Child - I don't necessarily agree with all the treatment options suggested in this book however there are many great ideas for nurturing/attaching. Parenting with Love & Logic has been a better approach for my difficult children (both diagnosis'd with severe attachment disorder & PTSD, bipolar).

    Please check your local mental health center to find an adoptive/attachment specialist ~ that may be the place to start. I assume your difficult child came with medical insurance thru the adoptive contract & therapy should be covered.

    I forgot to welcome you - I hope we can help you with any questions you may have.
  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! Linda gave you some good advice and is way more experienced with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) than me for sure! But, I did want to welcome you.
  5. auntalva

    auntalva Adoptive Single Mom of 2

    Thanks, yes it is good advice. We are trying to bring my difficult child home tomorrow after Juvenile Court. The next time this happens I will try and identify some "crisis intervention" people that we can call in order to avoid using law enforcement and having her wind up with a criminal record. She has a part-time (her first paying job ever) and I don't want her to miss her next shift and possibly get fired. I will call the state Adoptions Unit, which had promised me "mental health" services if needed and INSIST that they locate someone who is more experienced with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and/or adoptions. I think they just have these contracts with certain facilities, or they take the quick-and-easy way out, only paying by Medicaid. But gosh, if the adoption is in jepardy of disrupting, they need to give us some help!!!!
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have been amazed at how much energy is put into NOT helping when it comes to state services. I hope you get some response from them.
  7. auntalva

    auntalva Adoptive Single Mom of 2

    Yesterday I did talk to the agency that has the state contract for Adoptions. I spoke to a "Special Needs Adoption Services Supervisor." She recommended a local therapist who was herself a therapeutic foster parent and has lots of experience treating adopted children and some background with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) issues/training. She emailed a referral for my daughter. In addition she set me up to participate in a course (including five home visits) in Behavior Improvement, to enhance my abilities at parenting a difficult child. What amazed me even more, was the fact that she gave me her cell number, acted upon my request right away, and urged me to call her to let her know if this was working better for us. Either things have changed a lot since the state "privatized" some of these areas, or this particular Supervisor is a jewel. Anyway, I am feeling more hopeful . . .
    Thanks very much to everybody for your encouragement and your advice!
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    That's wonderful - absolutely wonderful. Saying that, the best advice I can give you is to find one advocate in the "system" who will go to heck & back with you & your difficult child.

    I have one in my mental health CM & have offered to adopt him. He declined. ;)

    Keep us updated please.
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Way To Go! That is really great that you found someone quick that supports you.

    I hope they can get you the services needed.
  10. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Good luck in court. The therapist sounds like a good fit. I hope difficult child is receptive and it proves helpful.

  11. cheatherly

    cheatherly New Member

    I am not sure how this works??? We adopted all 3 of our children. The two brothers were adopted at ages 3 and 10. They are now 10 and 17. Our 17 year old has been in crisis for over a year now (going into 11th grade). Starting in 7th grade he started burning things, stealing, tormenting his brother, hoarding (he always did that). He is very charming and most people are not willing to believe he has any emotional problems. He had to leave our house due to severe aggression towards me and his younger brother. He is living at my parent's house, but he has already started the patterned behaviors there... burning things, inappropriate photographs of cutting his arms and with cords around his neck with the statement, "Hang". He hates us and doesn't want anything to do with us. He has not continued a lasting relationship with anyone. They come and then they go. My parents and I are becoming estranged as they don't want me involved or my thoughts regarding him. They feel that time will heal him. WE had 7 years with him with counseling and it didn't help. He is already starting the patterned behaviors with them, with counseling. He only has one year before he is 18. We are at wits end. We are teachers with a lot of experience with kids. We provided a loving home with many family activities.
  12. cheatherly

    cheatherly New Member

    How are things now? We are close to you. We live in Southeast Georgia. Have you found any answers or had any responses that helped? We can't afford the treatment facillities either.
  13. keista

    keista New Member

    Cheatherly, welcome to the board.

    This is a rather old thread - from 2009. Please start a thread of your own and introduce yourself. You'll find a wealth of information and support here from others.

    I have no personal experience with adoption or older teens, but offer my welcome and support.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Depression in males - esp. young males - often masquerades as anger, violence, attitude, etc. Even mental health professionals often get caught up in the behavior-based approach and miss the depression.

    It doesn't sound like these problems existed when you adopted him - so, not likely to be Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) per se.
    Detachment is or can be part of depression - part "cause", part "effect" - and likewise, self-harm.

    Not that I'm any specialist, or anything... but sometimes it helps to look at the situation through a "different lens" - a "what if..." lens - and see if it changes how the situation looks.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    How old were they when you adopted them?