adopted 10 yr old twins with ADHD--PLease help!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mami2threeangels, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. mami2threeangels

    mami2threeangels New Member


    My husband and I are in the process of adopting 10yr old twin boys from fostercare. They have lived with us so far for 7mths and 1 is a terror and the other one is ok with constant structure. J is very defiant & does not want to do homework or pay attention in school. We stay up all hours of the night doing HW. I dont want to go home afterwork anymore... Any suggestions? Tried rewards, big and small, and taken things away. My husband and I are both at a loss. Life sucks for us right now...
    Lasted edited by : Mar 31, 2011
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Does J have an IEP at school? I wonder if they can scale back on the homework. You have to balance school work with other life activities. Homework overwhelmed my difficult child. We ended up in tears most nights. Then I just told the school we would not be doing that anymore. It actually helped getting the IEP as her grades had been 'too good' (their words) to get an IEP, once the homework was not getting done the grades slipped enough to get her the IEP.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I've been coming here on and off for something like 6+ years. Many of us with adopted children (now adults) have noticed a possible little something extra in terms of the care and tx of our children. This could be due to an underlying mental illness, abandonment or attachment issues.....a variety of things coming to play at the same time. (Of course every child and every family and every situation is unique).

    I recall reading that ADD/ADHD is very common among adopted children. However, often, especially in young children this is an initial diagnosis and then later, an add-on diagnosis is discovered. I would be especially concerned with the child you refer to as "a terror." Please make sure these children see their doctor regularly.

    Do you know if there is any bipolar illness in this biological family? What are you adoption after care arrangements? Will you be able to receive additional funding if you should need psychiatric care? What if it is of significant cost? If life "sucks right now," why are you going forward with an adoption and not remaining foster parents? Do you have extended family that can help you? Do you have other children? Your other children will need care too...they shouldn't be abandoned because their new siblings need special care.

    You might consider visiting your local library and reading whatever you can get your hands on with reference to ADHD. Check out an organization called CHADD. Make sure you and your spouse have plenty of time for each other and someone that can give you a little break once in a while. No doubt you will need at least a little rest from it all.

    With reference to homework...I wouldn't sweat the small stuff. See if you can get an IEP if you don't already have one. Make sure they have a teacher who is patient or trained with special needs kids (if necessary). See if you can find a local high school student to come by once a week to tutor and also see what tutoring the school might offer for free or low cost. If your child feels better about his abilities, homework might not be such a struggle.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    An IEP is a good idea. Some parents just do not deal with homework at all because there is already too much stress in the home.

    Has the agency given you full and complete records about the twins first ten years?? Often times there is a "hidden" history that is not disclosed in fear that foster/adopt parents will terminate their efforts. Sometimes I think I'm the "doom and gloom" member of the CD family but I feel compelled to share experience even if it is not on the positive side. Hope it doesn't offend you.

    The first three years of life are extremely important in determining how children bond. Neglect and abuse at an early age can result in difficulties bonding for later years. If the boys have been in and out of foster homes then they have not been securely attached. These are big issues that you should see documented. They should have complete medical and mental health records too. The agencies are very eager to place siblings (especially twins) with one family. That goal makes alot of sense. Sometimes, tho, one child has behaviors that prevents that goal from being practical.

    Have there been neuropsychological evaluations done? There should have been and you have the right to review the results so you know exactly what you're getting into. So my advise is to explore their past, explore their present (testing and evaluation) and then come up with a game plan for your family. I really wish you well. DDD
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm an adoptive mom four times. It WAS more, but we adopted an eleven year old terror who ended up killing our dogs (and probably other neighborhood critters) and sexually abusing our two younger adopted children. He is gone. We have no contact. He was too damaged by his age to work out in any family. I shudder to think of him out on the streets now as he is about twenty years old. Do you have other children at home? Pets?

    My strong advice is to reconsider if you really want them in your family. If you already dread coming home from work, that is not a good sign. Older kids from foster care have most often been abused in every way and do not know how to form attachments to others (nor do they want to learn how). Have you looked into Attachment Disorder? I'd be very surprised if ADHD is all that's going on with those two. Were they exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero?

    Sorry to come across as negative. I have been a member of an adoptive parent group for many years and have heard very few good stories when families adopt older children from foster care. In general, they are damaged way before we get them. Love does not conquer all.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do :) Welcome to the board.
  6. mami2threeangels

    mami2threeangels New Member

    Thanks to all of you who replied. As a brief background: they were removed from their mother's care at age 3 due to neglect , drug addiction and abuse. They have been in 3 foster homes until finally they joined us in August 2010. They both have an IEP and see a therapist weekly as well as a psychiatrist mthly. They were diagnosed with ADHD approx 3mths ago and are on medications that have helped alot. Joe has admitted that he just does not want to do the work. He only has 2 assignments per night to do & just refuses to do it or writes down any answer so that he can say he did it. As soon as I get home from work I check their homework. I know that they have had 10 yrs of issues but he does not want to change unless I dangle a GREAT gift. For example - he took a test in math in which he got a "d". The teacher made him take it over and within minutes he got a "b". He is angry at the world for what his mother did and I understand that. He has lots of support now and we tell him how much we love him everyday. never go to bed with-o a kiss goodnight and in the morning. i love him when he wants to be good but its so difficult to be around him when he is in his "I don't care" mood.
  7. mami2threeangels

    mami2threeangels New Member

    Midwest mom,

    I am so very sorry for your horrible experience. Ireally think that he can change but he has to want to do it. He is great sometimes and thats why i want to give him more time. Also, our biggest fear is having R (the other twin) removed because of his brother. Its not fair for him to suffer anymore in life just because of his brother. He is not perfect but he atleast tries to do the right thing - he just lacks common sense.

    They were both exposed to cocaine in utero so i'm sure that also has lasting effects. R is the main reason why we dont give up on them. We lost 3 beautiful boys due to prematurity and have wanted a fam for so long - we just thought that they would appreciate having a "forever" family so much more than they do. ---

    This stress is really killing us but we cant give up just yet. Its a shame that the city refuses to separate them no matter what... There was another family before us that only wanted R ...
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    At least they are the only kids. Seriously, that helps.

    I learned the hard way however they not all kids want a family. That was certainly the case with our adopted son. He did not really think of us as parents and only played up to us or hugged us or said he loved us (he didn't mean it) when he wanted money or a toy or a game. When he was removed, he was diagnosed with Severe Attachment Disorder and put into a home for young sexual predators. I have no idea what happened to him. My other children were so traumatized by him that had we kept in touch, I'm not sure how they would be today. It was two years of therapy and healing after he left.

    I will share with you what we have since been told are the three big red flags for a child who has no conscience and may grow up to be a psychopath(antisocial personality disorder). One is peeing and pooping inappropriately (our child used to do it all over the house, in his pants, in closets..etc. We thought it was our new dog!). Another one is cruelty to animals. The third is a fascination with fire and maybe setting small fires or big ones. We found out, after the boy left, that he had set fires (small ones) all over the house. Our other children showed us the places that were singed by his lighter that he had stolen from Walmart. Those are three markers to watch out for.

    Have the twins ever been evaluated for possible fetal alcohol effects? We had one of our sons tested at a facility specifically for that issue, and then he also had a neuropsychologist evaluation. His birthmother had also used cocaine and if she said "yes" to cocaine, she didn't say "no" to alcohol! He turned out to be a great kid, but he does have autistic spectrum disorder and will need help as an adult (he turns 18 in August). He was adopted out of foster care at a young age and does not have behavior problems, however.

    Good luck :)
  9. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Oh, boy! Add me to the list of adoptive parents of twins with ADHD. We got them 6 weeks after birth. Their mom's OB was my OB and said "these are good babies". I can't imagine choosing this kind of stress, going into it with eyes wide opened. I'll be brutally honest, keep on fostering them or run for the hills!

    I could never hope to undo the harm inflicted on your two boys. What a heartbreak. I recently witnessed some of the nastiest parenting I'd ever seen, while we were admitting our daughter into a psychiatric hospital for her cutting. A boy around 8 years old was extremely active and unable to sit in the waiting room. His mother was foul mouthed, threatening him, cursing and objectifying him. She thought it was really funny that his grandmother had dumped a bowl of cereal on his head and he had eaten it while it was dripping down. She told this story to any one who would listen. I thought to myself "how can even the best psychiatric hospital in this state help this poor kid? Look at the damage which has already been done!".
  10. mami2threeangels

    mami2threeangels New Member

    Midwest Mom,

    I am thankful that he does not try to hurt my dog - (we have a 160lb st bernard that thinks he's a lap dog), does not poop anywhere and does not set fires..THANK GOD.

    Is there any other testing that you could reccommend? I think he has hope & I PRAY that he can change. We can have such a happy ending if he wants it.

    He knows right from wrong whether he has ADHD or not. I am sick of the therapist saying that he doesnt know what he's doing. When you ask him if he knew it was wrong before he did it he will say yes & he did it cause he wanted to.
  11. karmadestiny

    karmadestiny New Member

    Hi, J...seems to like the attention he gets from behaving the way he does and defying adults to show his in control and not threatend by them...this could all be because of the problems they may have faced being in foster care situations or maybe just angry for being put in care in the first place...My adopted son is also now 10 and has been diagnossed with ADHD and Aspergers Syndrome, his now showing very defiant behaviour, though he wasn't in foster care for too long...We adopted him when he was only 4 months...even at that age he used to scratch at my face if he wasn't happy for any reason and it shocked me that a child so small could be so aggressive, i used to have scratches all over my face...Like yourselves I have tried everything from diets to reward charts to anything else that was worth doing but nothing seems to work and sometimes his rage scares the hell out of me, and his a big boy who has alot of strength, his aggression can sometimes become physical...I love him to bits but his behaviour has become unbearable at times...he seems to be drifting away from us...At mainstream school he is on the SEN register and recieves alittle help with his reading and maths, at home like yourselves it is a struggle to get him to do his homework...I am scared of what the future holds for him and want to be able to help him find his way...The interest of most children with ADHD etc is more practical based, they like working with their hands rather than being academic...Try and find out his interests and work with them, whether its a sports activity or making something with his hands, so that he can learn to be more confident and learn to value himself and his abilities...and I think if you can bring yourself to learn to hug him and make him feel wanted and give him that comfort of knowing that he matters maybe slowly things will start to change...but you must decide to either commit to this child or be sensible and know your limitations and let them go..maybe they will find someone who will be able to deal with their problems, and give both boys a family together...It wouldn't be fair to split them up it may do more damage than good...J, just seems more sensitive to the energies around him than his brother and his finding it very difficult to know what to do about them, internally his very scared and very angry...he just needs to learn what tools to use and how to accept his past and work towards a better future for himself and his brother...All the best!...
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm glad he is not doing those things. I do have to say, I had no idea that our son was doing that either though until we had almost found out he was sexually abusing the younger kids. Took us two years to find out. He didn't harm our dogs in front of us. He acted overly nice to them. He never set any fires around us. And we thought the pooping was one of our new dogs. Keep an eye on him, especially when he doesn't know you're watching him.

    When our first dog was strangled, that was the first clue we had that something wasn't right and, even then, we did not think it was him...we blamed some teenagers down the street who had been harassing the kids. The second time, we knew. He was the only one at home except for me and that's when everything came suddenly pouring out and the younger kids admitted to us what this other child had been doing to them all this time. They had been too afraid of him to tell us, and, yes, we had had the talk about "You can tell us if anyone touches you in the wrong place and we will never blame you." They were still too afraid of him to let us know what he was doing to them. He kept saying he was going to burn the house down with all of us in it and they believed him.

    I'm going to post a link about attachment disorder. Somehow it seems that, if these k ids spent ten years in foster care, that more is going on than ADHD. That alone (ADHD) does not cause dangerous behavior. Ok, here is attachment disorder:
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    That seems like sound advice, karmadestiny. You seem to have a compassionate insight into how these children tick - so much harder when it's one of your own, I know... by the way, my son, adopted at age 3 also used to scratch my face as a baby and I would sometimes have gashes running down it... I would say that my son has now bonded with me and other family members successfully, however. What is the outlook for a child adopted at age 10 with a history of foster care and abandonment/neglect? Without obviously being in any way an expert I would say that it has to poor, the chances of a successful "graft" are poor.
    For the rest, I would agree with the other posters. This is something you need to enter with really open eyes. It is about informed consent, also. It may seem negative but actually I think it is a good thing to know just how potentially difficult and heart-rending a journey this could be for you and your family. I agree it seems cruel and wrong to split the twins up. If you do choose to adopt, I do think it is fair for you to do so knowing what is likely (not inevitable) to lie ahead.
    If I can just add a personal note, based on what you say about having lost babies yourself. I totally understand the drive that that gives you to adopt a child or children. When I adopted myself, I was so driven by that need and desire. I just didn't consider what could go "wrong" - all I saw was this perfect little baby, sweet and helpless and in need of mothering... even if I had known, I don't suppose it would have made me change my mind. But forewarned is forearmed. It is surely wiser to consider this thing soberly while you have the chance and before you have actually adopted.
  14. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    We know you are desperate for a family, for children of your own and I think we all truly understand that desire and the strength of it. You sound like good people, able and willing to create a loving home.

    We know you see adoption as a way to get that while giving a home to two children who have been abandoned. It's a lovely ideal and we see ads on TV all the time that tell us how the story should turn out.

    But that's TV and this is real life.

    I think you need to pay attention to the words you are using when you talk about how you feel.

    Not what you think.

    How you feel.

    The way you describe your reaction to the things you are experiencing.

    This is important information. You have said:

    For me, there are a bunch of red flags there that suggest you need to take more time with this decision. Do not let the foster agency or anyone else - including your own guilt or longing for a family - push you into this decision before you are ready to make it. There is nothing that says you cannot stay foster parents to these kids for years before you make the legal commitment to be their parents.

    Are you and husband in couples therapy? If not, you really need to be doing that, preferably with a therapist who has worked with other childless couples pursuing adoption of older kids.

    You are trying to find your way through an emotional and ethical minefield. Without someone like a skilled therapist helping you sort things out you are walking that minefield blindfolded.

    Some of the things you are saying show a lack of knowledge or understanding about what are appropriate developmental expectations for these children.

    Some of the things you are saying suggest you are angry and disappointed because they have not fulfilled your expectations - they are not grateful for the sacrifices you are making/expect to make in order to give them a home.

    That, in my opinion, is the biggest red flag that you and husband need to take more time.

    Most parents get to feeling their kids are ungrateful when their kids get to be teens. But that is a small part of the normal process of separation when our kids get to be teens.

    Parents who have had a chance to form a strong loving bond with a child as an infant or young child have a bulwark against the negative feelings even normal teens can evoke in their parents. WE are attached to THEM. It's a biological thing and is incredibly powerful.

    Yet, even with an intense physical attachment from birth, many loving, educated and enlightened parents find themselves on the verge of hitting their child or otherwise abusing them when pushed too far. It has only been 7 months. How angry will you be a year from now? Two years from now?

    They are not little adults so they don't appreciate your good intentions and your hopeful plans for their future. And they probably aren't going to do that until they are adults - just like most "normal" kids. Are you prepared to wait that long?

    It's not impossible to raise difficult children successfully. I know of one family with 6 adopted children including 2 sibling pairs. All the children are special needs. The two oldest teens are brothers who are Aspies. They started fostering them when they were 8 and 9 I think. The other sibling pair are 5 and 3. They endured incredible physical and emotional neglect and abuse as young children. The youngest is a downs baby - well he was a baby, now he's 2.

    Only time will tell for sure but so far they have succeeded with these children.

    Both the parents have special training and provided therapeutic foster care for more than 10 years to many different children before starting to adopt kids. They have many supports including I think 20 hours a week of respite care, medical coverage for all the kids, income, physical therapy etc.

    Both parents are at home full time. They are homeschooling all the kids. And their family is everything. They don't go on vacations like other people do, they don't go to the gym, they don't drop off the dry cleaning - everything is structured around a child's needs, illness, problems. At one point one of the ASPie boys was on a wrist ankle monitor and had to be arm's length at all time because he was having seizures that caused him to blank out and simply run - for hours. The second time it happened the police found him 3 hours later, naked and covered with mud. Sleeping all night is a pure luxury and I doubt either one has done so for many years.

    Another couple I know has raised 17 adopted special needs kids. They started by fostering drug babies - for years they provided around the clock care to up to 8 babies at once. Again, both parents are home full time and have extensive supports in place to help make it possible. And they have at least 2 teens who are out on the street cause they truly practice tough love. These kids are always welcome back but they must follow the rules or they are out again - no big emotional scenes or blaming or excusing. These two women are the personification of detachment. And I think they have selective hearing loss down to a fine art :bigsmile:

    I personally think both these couples are reincarnations of Gandhi or the Buddha or something like that. My point being that they are so far beyond the realm of "normal" parents that you cannot compare yourself to them because you will never, ever measure up. Part of this is because they have the kind of training, experience and support they need to be as successful as it is possible to be. You are not going to get that help but may still be faced with enormous challenges that will require a similar level of structure in your home.

    Your task is to see yourself and these children in the cold hard light of reality. You must see them for who they really are at this point, the good and the not so good - not who you wish they were or wish they will become.

    In my house we call it a reality check. Are your expectations, beliefs or fears in line with reality?
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    In yestedays paper that was another article about a family similar to yours. Although they had been told the children had been subject to abuse for the first few years by bioMom and that they had been placed in "a few" foster homes unsuccessfully they were never told of sexual abuse issues, violence etc. "just ADHD". These parents completed the adoption process and they have huge medical bills etc. and the Mom had to quit work. Why do I share this? Two reasons (1) you can not accept simple explanations from social services as their job is to get kids out of foster and (2) our new Legislature has decided to repair out budget by many (in my opinion unethical) means including a vast reducation in the guaranteed support of Medically Needy insurance coverage. This was promised to this couple and many others who adopted troubled chldren. the couple is devestated as they simply can not afford the cost of the intensive therapies for attachment disorders plus other problems.

    Once again I am aghast. We avoid political statements on the Board but these issues are huge. It's one thing to have a child with only ADHD as frequently via medications, structure and love it is doable. For children with severe needs..well, God bless them and their families. Do be careful. Only by being fully informed of the past, present status and projected future can a thoughful decision be made. Hugs. DDD
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow. You got some awesome advice here.

    You can not expect to build that perfect family you crave with older adopted kids. They have been damaged. I was told by our social worker in New Jersey (where we adopted our eleven year old from) that 99.9% of the kids in foster care have somewhere along the line been sexually abused. These kids do not understand family nor appreciate it. They often see us as a means to an end because they live in survival mode. They don't see us as parents...they see us as people who will give them money and toys and are not above playing up to us to get them. If you adopt older children it is best to abandon that "happy family/white picket fence" fantasy because it is very unlikely to happen. The children we adopted as infants/youngsters attached to us and made us a family. The children we adopted at older ages did not. And they all bring with them the drugs that they ingested in utero and their birthparent's genetics. None of our older adoptions worked out. That isn't to say they can't, just that lowering expectations is best.

    A friend of mine adopted one and two year old siblings. They were chosen to parent these children out of 145 couples. Both of them have given them so much grief that the police are regular visitors because the boy (in particular) is violent and often dangerous to the other children. Both have been close to giving up...the schools blame THEM. The other two children were also adopted, but at birth, and they are doing great. There IS a big difference.

    Good luck :)
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    What I don't understand is if J is a concern to the point that you are worried about R, why isn't J being considered to be removed from the home?

    What rls said was much of what was on my mind as well. Many red flags. And it was also mentioned on this thread that to be "forewarned is to be forearmed." I too understand from personal experience how it feels to really, really, really want to adopt and to want this so badly that it is hard to see/accept the full picture of what is right in front of us. Try your best not to go into this with blinders on.

    We can hope for the best, but there are many serious concerns. You have identified them yourself. I WISH someone had pointed it out to me years ago.

    If you do move forward, make sure you get as much support as possible.

    Sending you and yours goood thoughts.
    Lasted edited by : Apr 2, 2011
  18. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Another parent of adopted twins ~ a boy & girl I affectionately call the tweedles. They came into our lives at the tender age of 6 (now almost 17 years of age). They were both diagnosis'd with adhd; nothing could have been further from the truth.

    After almost 2 years of searching for answers & going to court to get medical, therapy & other papers released it turns out that kt & wm were abused, neglected & used in childhood porn. They had been in "several" foster care settings & back to bio mom & back to foster care. At the end of all that we were dealing with severe Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), complex PTSD & bipolar. My husband (who passed away 2 years ago) & I fought for the best care. We didn't finalize the adoption for 2 years ~ we insisted on in home services, funding for Residential Treatment Center (RTC), & a straight medicaid. If that didn't come thru the state was welcome to pick up my children. Guess what? They never picked up my children; they did provide what was requested & absolutely to help parent my challenging, intense & at times, loving children.

    Before you finalize please insist on a thorough neuropsychologist evaluation including the trauma section (I can't remember the name of that piece of the test).

    In the meantime, pick your battles wisely. In my tweedles IEPs homework was written out as an accomodation. It wasn't worth the battles or possible crisis team intervention. Once kt & wm hit 5th grade if homework wasn't completed at home it was completed at school during recess.

    Give your children as many choices as you can handle. Cereal or toast for breakfast. Shower or bath. They've had so little control over their young lives they will challenge you on each & every decision made on their behalf.

    Document everything. Expect at some point soon for your children (Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) or not) to test your love for them. To test if you are going to go the long haul or pass them to another foster placement.

    I'm a parent who will tell you that love does not cure all. I will tell you that with time, perserverance & a village (i.e. team of service providers) things will improve. Expect baby steps to start; give any & all kinds of nurturing exercises you can. Find a good adoption/attachment specialist.

    Please keep us updated.
  19. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    by the way, due to ongoing verbal, sexual & physical aggression wm no longer lives in our home. He's been in a therapeutic foster home for going on 5 years now. It is okay & healthy in some cases to separate twins.
  20. mami2threeangels

    mami2threeangels New Member

    Thanks for the great advise. I am definitely trying to stand back and look at the bigger picture now. I don't know if J was being honest but we could have possibly had a breakthrough at his last session. He asked if i was going to start to use drugs like his mom and if i did what would happen to him. I explained as best as I could and assured him that I would NEVER take that path because he was way too important to me. Since then he has reacted to everything a little differently and I am hoping that he now feels even a little more secure. he really can be wonderful and thats why we are trying our best to make this work.