Advice sought

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Lovelife, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. Lovelife

    Lovelife Member

    Hi everyone, we are new to the forum, and are very happy to have found this place.
    It's been so helpful to read of everyones struggles.

    SO, here goes....
    We are in process of adopting a young boy (<9) from foster care in Cali.
    He's been in a dozen homes, disrupting out of most because of violence. (one home he tried to smother their small dog). He was placed in care at the age of 2. His parents really struggled with him in particular (two other siblings). His father had anger issues, antisocial personality disorder, developmental delays. Mother also had mental health and substance abuse problems. Family history of Domestic violence, neglect, a couple of possible occurrences of physical abuse.

    This kid is defiant, oppositional and violent. Hits, kicks, pushes, punches closed fist. Pounds on windows, doors and slams doors and throws things. Every request to follow rules or perform an expected task is met with NOPE. He's jumped on our one dog, purposely hurt him while laughing, etc. The scary thing about this kiddo (yes, I know we should have been less hopeful and more cautious) is that the violence is frequently unprovoked. He has significant meltdowns, although those are decreasing as he is very busy right now. He usually thinks it is funny, smiles about it and shows no remorse. He gets a rise out of any power struggle (we do not engage). He is also showing abnormal sexual behaviors now, mounting our one dog, placing his privates on us despite firm boundaries established and constant redirection, trying to show us his privates, grabbing butts, boobs, etc. We believe he displayed these behaviors before towards other children in another home, but was unsupervised. He's tried to grab my crotch, tries to kiss on mouth, points to erections after forcefully giving "long kisses" on the check (while we attempt to push him off), etc. He has no friends and struggles with peer relationships, being very bossy and demanding, and violent if not getting his way.
    He also has a sense of vengeance, often stating "This is what you get", in response to nothing really happening. He threatens to punch us in the face as well, for no reason (will bring fist up to our chin) goes back and forth between I hate you and I love you, etc. Sometimes he will sing in the car a song that says over and over I hate you, you are a dumb dumb, etc. He is also starting to take change on our counters, nightstands etc. although he does it in front of us.

    Psychiatric evaluation included Axis I of ODD, Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar, Mood Disorder. We think, because of the violence, and sexualized behavior he is CD, not ODD.
    We have very firm rules in place, have a very structured schedule for him, give natural consequences along with ones that seem to be his "currency". Consequences are generally ineffective from a long-term perspective. He cares for a second, and then, as he acts with almost everything, he does not give it a second thought. Gone from any remembrance.

    Our question is, is this a kiddo that can settle down after some stability and intense therapy INSIDE a home/family environment. We are really worried that he needs more than what can be given in a home, and is definitely beyond a once a week therapy session (agreed by several therapists/psychologists). We don't want to abandon him, yet we want to do the best thing for him, even if that means in patient for awhile.... maybe a better chance of being successful in a home environment. Have others on this forum had success in a situation similar?

    Thanks for any thoughts (please spare the WTF were you guys thinking :))
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Are you aware of Reactive Attachment Disorder?
    With his list of diagnoses and behaviors... as a parent (not a professional), I'd be thinking more along that line rather than the "laundry list" of other diagnoses.

    It's often missed as a diagnosis. And is often found in kids who had a rough first three years. Those are the years when we learn to form attachments to others, and learn things like trust and love. If they don't learn it early, it seems it is very difficult to learn it later. I haven't had to deal directly with this diagnosis, but did end up researching it along with dozens of others when trying to get answers for my own kid.

    He may need intensive residential care for the rest of his growing up. If you have no other children who could be at risk), and want to stay involved as parents, that might still be possible depending on the system where you are.
  3. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    If you had no pets in the house and no other children, then I would say, it will be a roller coaster ride, but admire you for trying it. But, please don't endanger others... There are parents on these forums who had to disrupt the adoption because pets were killed and children sexually abused. No matter how diligent you think you can be, it is nearly impossible to be on guard 24/7.

    And if behaviors don't improve...and he grows up taller, bigger and have to be concerned with your own safety.

  4. Lovelife

    Lovelife Member

    Thank you for your reply. Yes, have done the research on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Waiting on a therapist evaluation who specializes in this. He could possibly have some attachment issues, but he does show affection towards us. Maybe the push pull is indicative of what you say. So, uncertain about that and the therapist he did see didn't pick that up quite yet. Altho, he does form very superficial attachments very quickly. He does have some suicidal ideation, but then says he wouldn't do it because it would hurt.
    I've gone thru the checklist, and some of the things check and others do not. ... but it does make some sense in many ways.
    Thank you for your thoughts, appreciated.
  5. Lovelife

    Lovelife Member

    Hi, yes you are absolutely right. We not only are worried he is a danger to us, but to our pets and to himself (he will bang hard against windows, glass tables, etc.). We have full line of site with our dogs, he is never left alone with them. One is absolutely terrified of him, she runs from him :-(. He's certainly testing us, with some new things that we didn't see in the transition. He's had these violence/aggression problems since probably 2 years old, from what we can tell. We don't want to destroy the little guy, but we care about our pets, and worry about how he's going to behave in school and as he gets older. His sexualized behavior is definitely abnormal for his age. Two big red flags for sure, outside of the normal trauma related behaviors which we expected.
  6. Lovelife

    Lovelife Member

    We go so back and forth on this. He is also very manipulative. He will suffer a well defined consequence (mostly natural, but we have one in place that seems to be the only effective one at least short-term... building a foundation ). He will be violent or aggressive, lose his privilege, and then hang all over us, giving hugs and affection, apologizing profusely. Then ask if he gets his privilege back. Nope, we don't back down. Met with a meltdown and violent acts. Doesn't scare us as much as the sexualized behavior tho, since we believe it was going on in his previous home as well, with the other kids (who weren't able to report). The aggression towards the dogs is another huge red flag to us ... no sense of responsibility, guilt, remorse. He never ever takes responsibility for his actions, despite us not being angry or punitive types in our ways. He held up our one dog by his collar, and laughed when I explained to him why it was wrong... and to put him down. His response was a big smile and "I didn't hear any choking noises". He also panics about being abandoned, and cannot self play. He also does not like to be by himself, and if on a car trip without distractions, will chatter non stop, and get annoyed if not answered immediately. Thinking we answered our own question.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We adopted a kid like this age 11 too. Your son can have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and show affection. Its to make you trust him and think he accepts you. With his history of many homes, disruption and violece, I guarantee you he is full blown Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) even though he, and our son, did not get that diagnosis until he was finally told he had to leave and was put into a longterm lockdown in residential treatment for young sexual predators.

    In our care, and much of this was done on the sneak, he killed two dogs, tried to strangle our cat and may have killed him too since one day he never came home, sexually molested our two young kids who were too terrified to tell, abused a slow, epileptic boy at school who was non verbalb(we found yhis out after he confessed when he was gone), stole from us and stores and set little fires.

    The strength of our family pulled us through, but we never saw or wanted to see him again and dissolved the adoption. it was a trauma we are over, but will never forget. We were not told he was a problem and thought our love would cure him. But the truth was he didnt want our love, for all his hugs and kisses. Fake.

    It did not seem fake. He was a good actor. He was always loving on us. His diagnosis in residential,after living there a long time, was severe reactive attachment disorder. Funny that his psychologist and psychitrist missed it. Hmmmmmm. We never heard that diagnosis from them while he lived with us or from his social worker beef re we agreed to bring him home and it was not in his adoption biography that we read before bringing him into our house.

    The county charged him with sexual assault in the first degree because the younger kids were so much younger than him. He was convicted. Trust me, this kid never acted out sexually in front of us. We thought he was asexual. Yet he was hurting the children in our house and never got caught. Until he did get caught, three years later at 13. Goodbye to him. Thats when we found out that HE had killed our pets. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids are wonderful foolers. The bottomnline is they may fake remorse but they dont have empathy. They dont have a conscience.

    My advice is to never leave him alone with any younger children, put alarms on his bedroom door do he can't leave his room at night and do damage (you escort him to bathroom), rehome all pets because you already caught him trying to harm the dog...this will continue, and think hard about whether you want to really do this.

    Good luck. You are going to need it. You may be stronger than us. We were ready to strangle him when we found out what he'd done. He could never come back. I think CPS felt sorry for us. They offered awesome services that helped us heal.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I just read you havent adopted him yet. Youre lucky. My advice is dont do it. Dont go through what we did. This boy actually is acting out worse than ours did.

  9. Lovelife

    Lovelife Member

    What you write breaks my heart. So sorry for what has happened to your family. You are an amazing person, I can see that. I've read some of your other posts. Our stories are similar, although we haven't had this kid permanently that long. We went in knowing it would be hard but wanting to help change a life. One thing I saw in another post of yours is similar to us. We often ask him, what is happening to cause you to want to..... And he always says, I don't know, I'm just a crazy kid. He is super ego centric. Every thing happening, if not about him, he tries to redirect to him. He finds it funny when our other dog trembles when he is around. He has jumped on our one dog. He has hit me lots, etc. we know he manipulates and is not attached. He had a problematic birth, was breech, and in icu for a bit. Bottle fed by propped up due to chaotic home. Does not have friends, nor remember names. Sadly my feelings about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) or at least a severe attachment problem are probably correct.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is NOT a child that can be helped with in home therapy. You just cannot do it. No one could. You and your pets are already in danger from this child and it will only get worse. It isn't something that is somehow going to get better. Most marriages/relationships cannot survive a child like this either. Attempting to handle this child as a single parent is a recipe for a major disaster. I am NOT saying that your marriage/relationship is weak. I am saying that a child this damaged and manipulative simply is just too hard on a relationship. He will triangulate to the point that you and your partner are constantly at odds in both major and minor ways.

    Without major help, this child will likely be a danger to the community as well. He has already acted out on animals and you suspect on other children. Or I think I got that from your posts. No regular school, public or private, is going to be able to handle him. It is easy and fast to abuse another child while the adults are distracted, and he will likely do this. It is a school situation that you are likely to face if you continue.

    In order to have the best possible future, he needs intensive inpatient therapy of MANY kinds. He also needs constant supervision to a level that no family can handle. I know. My husband and I spent years trying to do this with my own violent child. He was so violent to his little sister that I couldn't be in the next room or my daughter had bruises. I didn't go to the bathroom alone if I was home with my kids. My daughter had to come in and stand in the shower to keep her safe. My husband had my son do this with him if I wasn't home. We had doctors who advised us to do this, and they put it in writing because it was that important. We eventually moved in with my parents to have help supervising my son. After we moved out, we spent 2 years trying to find a way to reach him when he was a teen. Eventually we had to let my son go live with my parents to keep both my son and my daughter safe. My son was determined to hurt her and he had to go through me to get her. I was terribly afraid I was going to have to kill him or watch him kill her. It was truly that bad.

    But my son wasn't nearly as bad off as your son. Acting out against a pet just didn't happen. He did get violent with other kdis who tried to hurt animals, and I had a real problem when his idiot 5th grade teacher talked about trying to find home for some kittens and why wouldn't her husband just put them in a bag and dump them in the lake. She said this at a PTA event and my son heard her. Thankfully, he had a wonderful Special Education teacher in his pullout program, and she helped me talk him out of hunting the teacher down. They stopped attempting to mainstream him into that teacher's classroom after that..

    Your son just has way too many behaviors that are dangerous, and his thought processes are so abnormal that he needs the intensive help and supervision that can only be found in a residential setting.

    You can still try to be in his life, maybe. But he NEEDS that inpatient residential setting in order to have any chance at a normal adult life, and in order to keep him and the community safe.

    I am so sorry. I really wish I could encourage you to keep trying and to adopt him. But it won't a good thing for you, your other family, or the child.
  11. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    This kid needs 24/7 constant supervision. You need to sleep and can't be watching him at night. And it is my understanding that if kids are going to learn to follow rules, they need to learn by age 15.

    So I think the best thing for him would be to be placed in a facility where he is locked up and constantly watched at night and closely supervised with each and every little thing he does during the day. Going to another foster home will not help him, he needs that 24/7 supervision.

    I know you can decline to take him, but I don't know if you could suggest to them where he be placed?
  12. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I worked in an early education center for kids 3 to 5. We had one child who would hurt other kids, bite them, kick, try to pull down little girls shorts, spit on people an laugh, put his hands down the adult teachers tops... We had a teacher and a para for 7 to 8 kids and there was no way I could keep the other kids safe from him. He would drop a crayon, crawl under the table to retrieve it, but instead bite a child on their upper inner thigh.

    They even made a padded closet room where I would have to stay in the room with him til he could settle down. I had a padded large gym floor mat to "protect" myself from him. I gave my notice after two months. I was afraid I would hurt him... Maybe not intentionally, but a reflex...he bit me once on the back of my upper arm and I jerked and my elbow hit him in the face.

    After I left, he was still in the class room for a couple more months. I am not sure what happened after that. I had heard that DCF was working with the family...I often wondered if he was removed from his home.

  13. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    I don't know what your motivation is for taking such an obviously DANGEROUS child into your home. You may think your love can save him, or you may be motivated by a religious sense of duty. Regardless of your undoubtedly good intentions, you cannot save this child and your life will be destroyed if you try.

    At minimum RE-HOME your pets. He will kill them. You cannot be home all the time, monitoring his every action. He sounds like he is determined to hurt, maim, abuse, molest, and destroy and he will find a way.

    Please do the right thing by your pets and find them another loving home where they will not be subjected to the abuse this kid is already inflicting on them.

    This says nothing about any other children living in your home. Are you really willing to sacrifice them for the sake of this stranger, this psychotic mess of a child who you cannot save?

    This kid is too sick to function in a family setting. He needs to be in an institution.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Bottom line. Rethink adopting him. Some kids are too damaged sadly to be safe in families.

    If you do continue with him, please rehome your dogs. That dog who shakes...makes me so sad. He could be killed, even if you ARE home.

    The kid we had took a beautiful new puppy we had bought after our older dog had died (we didon't know yet that he had strangled the dog) and then threw the puppy over a top bunk while he hled the leash, strangling her to death. That was when he was first caught doing a heinous deed and it was three years in. He was such a good sneak. This, and others, haunt me to this day. Poor, innocent puppy. Nobody was home but me and him and he tried to pretend to cry and say the puppy strangled herself. I called the cops. And this was before we knew he had hurt our younger kids...Told tje cops to take him, weren't sure we could be safe around him if they didnt. They did and did not charge us with anything like abandonment, although they could have. I think the dead puppy sickened them too.

    Don't be us. We loved him lots and it didn't matter. We were just fortunate he didn't burn our house down too. My kids talked about him but not until way after he left...he used to tell them he was the devil and more powerful than even the parents and that he would burn the house down and kill us all, even himself, if they ever told us what he did yo them sexually or otherwise.

    They believed him, even though we had had that talk about good and bad touching and how we would believe them and stop bad touching...he used a knife on them to force them to do what he wanted. By his calm demeanor to adults and all his hugs and kisses, I never knew. I still feel guilty. We got tons of help...our kids he touched are thriving adults now. But he hurt them...

    You are legally responsible for anything a minor child of yours does to a neighbor or friend or school mate or unrelated child. Do you want to take that risk? If we could do it over we'd only adopt babies, and we have and they are wonderful. It is risky to adopt an older child who is probably already emotionally screwed up and often without a conscience. It is like raising a tiny sociopath. They were never loved and respond with fear and hate toward any attempt. Our love scares them and they even do worse.

    Adopt an infant.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  15. Lovelife

    Lovelife Member

    Thank you for your response. We are not religious. We wanted to try to help a kiddo, by not giving up on him. Yes, hind sight is always 20-20 and yes our kind hearts won out over our brains on this one. What is amazing, is the concentrated efforts to the home. He is adorable and very engaged and "oh my god who is this beautiful sweet kid" outside of the home. He fools everyone. He knows his actions are dysfunctional, because he will stop something immediately when faced with someone outside of the home.
    We will not re-home our pets and keep him. We love our dogs terribly. They are our family. We do not let them out of our site. We also, luckily, have no other kids in our home. He did have unsupervised time with kids in the previous home (we are not foster parents, adopt only). We also know, deep down, the state believes he should not be in a family environment. And yes, he is a psychotic mess of a child (genetics and environment). We have a meeting scheduled to address.
  16. Lovelife

    Lovelife Member

    Thank you, and yes we now know you are absolutely right (and our intuition should have ruled). We are not emotionally attached to him .. as we realized early on that he needed matter of fact and direct approaches. No emotions what so ever. We aren't stupid people, believe it or not. Probably just too caring. Foster kids are a tough group, yet they are not all like this. IF he were not truly sick and in need of intense help, we would have never met him... he would have been adopted out of the first placement. His last home, when we picked him up, said good luck you will need it. This poor kid needs intensive therapy in a residential setting at best. He already has some cognitive delays, and is, from what we now found out, behind in school. He can't afford to stay in a home and not get the help he needs.
  17. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    I would suggest keeping the dogs locked in a room away from him when you and your SO are at work, unless you can bring the dogs to work with you. Make sure the foster child cannot in any way shape or form break into this room.

    I believe you when you say you have covered every contingency and will not permit him to be alone with your dogs. The thing is these disturbed kids are very sneaky and you do have to sleep, go to the bathroom,. If he is determined to hurt, he will do so. He will find a way. There is no such thing as a foolproof plan other than not to get into the situation to start with.

    The only way to be one hundred percent positive he does not have the opportunity to harm the animals is for him to not be in your home.

    I do not mean to be argumentative, but since you already know this child is a danger to animals, I have to question how much you love your dogs if you are willing to have this young man in your home, with them. It seems that the choice is your pets' safety or your desire to rescue this child.

    I understand wanting to nurture a lost little lamb etc but to put yourself and your animals at risk, knowingly, seems reckless at best.

    Good luck whatever you decide. I am very glad no other children are involved.
  18. Lovelife

    Lovelife Member

    Our dogs sleep with us :). The male, I tell him he's my boyfriend ;-). He's not as scared as our little girl. She is more shy than he. and yes, I have taken the male dog into the bathroom to go pee to avoid the kid being alone with him. The kid is now superficially giving the dogs kisses, as he knows the drill... dogs scared, safety hazard, kid gone.
    I appreciate the blunt responses on this forum. We really need to see these responses in order to get a kick in the butt and not feel like we have failed. We have gone back and forth thinking, okay... as they always tell us, with trauma it takes time, boundaries, consistency, structure. ... to saying holy :censored2: we are going to be selling our house and moving in a few years because they kid just shot a bunch of kids at his school (he has a vengeful nature).
  19. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    What about during your working hours? Are you able to keep them both with you 24/7?

    Does the kid live in your home currently? From your last response it sounds like maybe you are considering removing him from the home?
  20. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Also, does he have an IEP and what is his placement? If you are his legal guardian you will be liable for his behavior. sexually assaulting peers is no joke. No non-residential school is going to be able to restrict his freedom to the extent that seems necessary to protect other innocent children from his predations.

    So sorry.....