Am I in Hell?


New Member
Hello, my name is HBM and I just found this forum and have been reading for days before I decided to register. I don't know how to make a signature, so a brief bio of our family:

HBM-me. 48, renal failure, ADD.
HBD-husband. 56, ADHD. Happily married to me for 20 years, positive, sunny outlook, forgetful.
Golden Girl - 27,lives on her own, artist, easy
Gentle Boy- 22, lives on his own, musician/student. ADD, easy
Golden Boy - 18, lives at home, graduating soon. Easiest - smart, motivated, happy
Gentle Jr. - 17, lives at home, student. ADHD, anxiety, sweet, easy
Nightmare - 15, girl. Adopted from foster care at birth. Bio mom used alcohol, pot, probably other stuff but did not tell social worker so it's not on official papers. ADHD, ODD, CD, Histrionic. Mean, hateful, ungrateful.
Sweetie - 13 girl. Mild Autism with mild ADD (daydreamer). Also adopted from foster care, do not know if bio used, but other bio sibs have some issues, so likely. Has some developmental delays but cognitively above average. Kind, thoughtful, patient, creative and nearly a savant with mathematics, art and music.

We live in the 'burbs in the US.

Obviously, I've described my children in a very biased way. It reflects how I feel which is anger, disappointed, disgust. We are at our wits end. Nightmare is ruining our lives and there seems to be no end in sight. She sees a psychiatrist and has been in counseling since age 6. She has zero remorse for what she does to people. It's always someone else's fault, everyone is against her, everyone hates her, nothing is fair. She gets in-school suspension every single week. She's been expelled 4-5 times for fighting, cursing, throwing things, lying on the floor screaming "F you" to the teacher who told her to get out of his class after disruptive behavior keeping the other kids from learning. She's disruptive in every class, has literally failed every grade with a 0 since Grade 4, but they promote her because "it would hurt her feelings" if they held her back. She has terrible reasoning skills and is like a black hole needing attention 100% of the time, no matter how she gets it.

She has stolen from us numerous times (as well as friends, teachers, etc) but the final straw was two months ago when she stole $1300 in cash that I had in the house to deposit to make the house payment. We're now behind on our mortgage. She goes nowhere but school and home and said she spent it on "candy". We took her to the police and they screamed at her, she cried her fake tears and then said she stole because she "wanted stuff that we wouldn't buy her" and "that's what I do when people are mean to me" and "if they had cameras around, they wouldn't have lost their money". She's never apologized and shows zero remorse. There is a lot more than this, but it's what has brought me here. She:
  • Steals
  • Lies
  • Beats her little sister physically attacking her and leaves scars all over her body.
  • Verbally abuses her
  • Disrespectful to any adult having the misfortune to meet her unless that adult puts no demands on her
  • Screams the moment she wakes until she eventually goes to sleep, rages for hours, breaking furniture, dishes, tears up clothing, holes in walls, doors and windows broken.
  • Everything she touches ends up broken "it was an accident" smirks
  • Argues about every word spoken to her
  • If through choice is "good" or "bad" she WILL ALWAYS choose "bad"
  • Has not turned in a single homework assignment this entire school year and has a zero in all of her high school classes, yet shes "progressing" on her IEP
  • If she's in the room, everyone is miserable and fighting within seconds
  • She gets into verbal fights with teachers and is removed from the class almost every day for throwing paper, barking, screaming curse words, talking, slithering around the room on her belly, flipping her chair "accidentally", dumping books, etc.
  • Their solution is to send her to the Behavioral Learning Center where she has a single male teacher supervising her supposedly helping her with her work, yet we find that she's logging into her friends social media accounts all day. (she has zero access to computers at home, no cell phone, no tablet, nothing)
  • She is involved in no activities because she's been asked to leave every single thing we've tried, even though she enjoyed the activity, her need for constant attention was higher. Cheerleading, gymnastics, soccer, ballet, jazz, tap, piano, softball, basketball and more. She is in youth group at church but I don't know how long it will last and I'm terrified she'll steal from the other kids or leader.
I know this is a bunch of rambling. We're frustrated. We live in a prison. We all have to walk around with keys on ourselves because everything has to be locked up. All bedrooms, except hers. The pantry (she'll take food out and hide it around the house or let it rot in her backpack, so we have to monitor it), the linen closet (she'll dump entire bottles of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, etc out because she's mad) the laundry room, everything. I can't even walk from my bedroom to throw a load of laundry in and leave my bedroom unlocked because she's in my purse and jewelry box in a flash. As punishment for us for not buying her contacts, she stole our 18 year old sons. $200 down the drain. As punishment for us not getting her the braces she wants(but doesn't need) she threw her sister's retainer away ($400)and pulled out one of her adult teeth in anger.

My kidney function has declined significantly because of the stress in the last few months. I can't stand the sight of her. I don't want to be around her, hear her voice, see her face, nothing. The other kids are complaining about the constant screaming from sun up till she's forced to shut the door and her mouth at night. We can't eat meals together, we can't do anything together because she will just pick pick pick pick at people for attention or scream and rage because we looked at her mean " or didn't answer her stupid" question " (which is usually something dumb like 'is it weird that I like my own farts') while we're talking to friends or at church.

She's taken every ADHD drug out there and there is very little change. Adderall made the worst impact. She's taking zoloft, Strattera and intuniv now. Medicaid won't pay for any neouropsych doctors. Her psychiatric just writes RXs and tells her to stop "acting like that with each report of her rapidly increasing bad behavior. She won't consider there might be more than just ODD, conduct and ADHD because Medicaid doesn't cover testing. It's been like this with every psychiatric she's seen. The psychologists and counselors just play with her or give her excuses to use when she gets into trouble like "I'm not able to tell the truth" and "I can't focus and have anger issues, so I can't help it" along with other stuff. she has some physical complaint "my left earlobe hurts, my legs ache, my elbow itches, my eyelid feels weird, my neck cracks" etc.

She's 15 and shows no remorse. She has no life (her choice) and literally goes to school, comes home and reads/draws. She's never invited to do anything with any kids. Except for last month when she invited an autistic boy to a dance after we already made it VERY clear she could not go. It was a semi formal dance. She didn't tell us until 4 hours before when she said "Oh yeah, this kid Alex is probably going to come here at 7:00 because I asked him to the XYZ Dance and never told him I couldn't go" She didn't know his phone number and since he's autistic, he didn't have any social media or anyway to contact him. Literally all we could do was wait for this sweet boy to show up thinking he was going to a dance, corsage and little gift in hand, just to have it all crushed when she answered the door and said "I can't go". When asked why she did such a mean thing to a boy, especially one who she knew wouldn't understand, she said "I thought you would have no choice but to let me go if you couldn't call his parents and make me say I was grounded" It turned out her plan was to ditch him later anyway.

Ok, thanks for reading if you did. And if nit, that's ok too. I'm just so sad and this is getting worse and worse. She's basically unsupervised at school because they let her wander around (big school of 2000 kids) so I'm sure sex and drugs are not far behind. She would be happier in another home. We'd be happier with her in another home. There is no bond between us. She's recently st started with the I hate you, this house this family I don't want to be here, I want to be anywhere but here stuff. Frankly the feeling is mutual :(


Well-Known Member
I am so sorry you and your family is dealing with so much. Have you called Medicaid and asked what it would take to get the neuropsychologist exam? I had problems with our regular insurance' but they said we had to try other things first. The school did an IQ test and we finally we got it covered, but it was a commercial insurance. Most insurance companies have away to petition and challenge their decisions. But with Medicaid, it would be harder...

We got a psychological exam thru a local university, and they just charged $75. Yes, it's different than a neuropsychologist, but we were one of the few that got more help with the psychiatric exam than the neuropsychologist. I also found a FASD diagnosis clinic who had some good info for us. They diagnosis my Difficult Child with static encephalopathy, alcohol exposed.

Others have more knowledge than I do... And I am sure they will be posting later. Glad you are here, sorry that you need to be!



Well-Known Member
Nightmare - 15, girl. Adopted from foster care at birth. Bio mom used alcohol, pot, probably other stuff but did not tell social worker so it's not on official papers. ADHD, ODD, CD, Histrionic. Mean, hateful, ungrateful.
How old was she when you adopted her? and how long in foster care?
She is at risk for Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)/FASD. If this is the case, her brain is damaged - this isn't just willful behavior.
She may also have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), depending on what the first 2-3 years of her life were like. If she has this, she is highly dangerous to the rest of you.

She has terrible reasoning skills and is like a black hole needing attention 100% of the time, no matter how she gets it.
This would fit a number of different diagnoses, including Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)/FASD and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

I also found a FASD diagnosis clinic who had some good info for us.

Check into specialized resources for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids and for Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)/FASD kids. Organizations can help you get a proper diagnosis - which then "should" open the door to supports.


Well-Known Member
I am thinking reactive Attachment disorder, common in older adoptd kide, especially those born with substances used prenatally and also brain damage from drugs/ alcohol. These kids, who were not treated with love or stability in their infant/toddler years have different brain wiring and learn that nobody will care for them but them and do not learn to love or bond with others. No, love and kindness does not change them and usually love scares them so they act out even worse. They are very often kids without a conscience.

I adopted one like that, although we didnt know it. Nobody did. He perped on my two younger kids so we, for their sakes, made him leave our family. He killed pets. Started little fires. Lied. Stole. You name it.

If you can find a therapist who works with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids, which is hard to find, with extremelty hard work she MAY learn to bond and then again she may not. Regular therapy doesnt work...they are way damaged before they met us. And they lack the ability to be grateful. Some do better in homes where loving back is not an expectation.

Alcohol in utero can cause permanent brain damage. The kids don't imorove or remember right from wrong on a day to day basis. There is no cure. See is she has this too. A regular doctor wont know. Take her to neurologist or
neuropsychologist. Gaps in remembering things or reasoning day to dsy are a huge symptoms. Oftrn they abuse drugs or end up in jail because they dont understand right from wrong.

After you are moee aware of the types of damage she suffered before she came to you, then you can better decide what is best for all of you. We adopt them because we want them to know love. It shocks us when love doesnt work or makes thungs worse. Few older child adoptions are smooth or easy. And regular therapists and ourselves...we dont get it or them.

I wish you good luck. Better luck than we had. It was three years of hello, then recovering from it. We have not seen him again. We know he was beyond help and we had younger ones to protect. I still feel guilty.

Big hugs.
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pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Welcome, HBM. :welcomecat:To make a signature, hover your mouse over your name in the upper right corner of the screen. A drop down menu will appear. Click on "signature" and then fill in the boxes.

I'm glad SomewhereOT responded to your thread. She completely understands what you are living with your daughter. I'm sorry that your adopted daughter is a nightmare. I have no words of wisdom for you other than to ask: what are you doing to keep your other children safe from her abuse? This child sounds unreachable. It also sounds as though the school has given up on her. What good does it do to have her wander around being disruptive?

Do you have a children's hospital near you? Has she ever had a complete, multi-disciplinary evaluation?


Well-Known Member
Oops. See you adopted her young, but she could still have attachment issues. Now im thinking more of fetal alcohol spectrum and drug abuse in utero and the whole permanant brain damage issue. You can not really parent anyone with this sort of brain damage. They do not understand right from wrong and can't learn well, even if they have a normal IQ. They often end up in jail for the same crime over and over again because they cant learn from their mistakes. Often they have lots of sex because no matter how often you explain, they dont understand why they should snd since, for the same reason, they dont understand why they shouldnt drink or do drugs they also have babies drug/alcohol affected.

Something beyond the normal diagnosis. Is wrong with your daughter. Not your fault but doesnt make it easier to live with.

Take care, my friend. Call any adoption angecy to ask who in your community understands and can dianose both attachment and drug exposure in utero issues. Regular psychiatrists just dont know much about it. You need an informed team and still...alcohol exposure problems can't be overturned. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is gutwrenching and is hard to change too and requires money, and a HUGE commitment on your part. The therapies for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) are not perfect and all are controversial.

Again...good luck. My family gets it. Do you what is best for the majority. That's my advice and opinion. She may never be able to adjust to ANY family life and not desire a family. Residential treatment may suit her best or a hardcore foster home that will not expect love from her. Love repels some of these kids. They do worse around people with those expectations.
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member since 1999
Hi HBM and welcome, though sorry you have to be here.

A couple of things jumped out at me. First and foremost, your family has the right to be safe in your home. Period. If Nightmare is assaulting siblings or parents, or behaving in an unsafe manner, call 911. What I did was request assistance with transport to a hospital ER for a psychiatric patient, but even if they come out and refuse to transport to hospital for evaluation, have her arrested. It's not the ideal scenario in terms of getting her meaningful help, but again, your family has the right to be safe in your own home. That comes first, as far as I'm concerned. Especially since your youngest is the target of her aggression - that is completely unacceptable. I know you know that - sometimes it just helps to hear someone else say that it's okay to call 911.

Secondly, I know we've had former members get assistance from the agency that facilitated the adoption. It varies by state, but I would contact that agency and find out what resources (if any) are available for the high-risk children they placed. And with a maternal history of drug/alcohol use, your daughter was a high-risk placement. Some parents have gotten really phenomenal support.

Lastly, and I know this is a whopper because sometimes schools can be as difficult as our kids, I think it is long past time for the district to be held accountable for their failure to provide your daughter with a "free and appropriate public education" (FAPE). To promote a child simply because they don't want to hurt her feelings is not FAPE. been there done that. When I was told by our sped director that my son was being promoted based on the work he *could* do, not the work he was actually doing (which was nada), I was utterly gobsmacked. Speechless. Great - let's get him a job where he's paid based on what he could be doing, rather than what he actually is. Sigh.

It's extremely exhausting dealing with districts. I would start out by simply taking screenshots to show that she's on social media during school hours (and why on earth hasn't school blocked access to social media in the first place?!?!?). They are also required to have objective data showing that she is meeting her goals as written - ask to see it. And how are her goals? That was always my biggest challenge - making sure my sped kids had appropriate goals with good ways to measure.

Document, document, document. Dates, times, places, people.

I would also recommend finding an advocate to help you with this. I cannot begin to tell you how exhausting it is to get assertive with districts (especially with all you already have on your plate) - some have an endless supply of dirty tricks, and some just refuse to listen to parents. Some *are* good, but... based on your description of their efforts so far, I'm thinking yours may not be one of those. You should have gotten a list of advocates available in your area when you got a copy of your parent rights at the last IEP mtg. Or just call the sped department and request a list of advocates. I've always found parent advocacy groups to be the best - usually free, and usually have parents who have really been through the trenches and know what they're doing. Sometimes it helps to have more than just one or two people on your side of the table. There is also your state's protection and advocacy group for children and adults with disabilities - it's federally mandated. If they cannot help you with sped issues (which I think they should, but you never know), they should at least be able to refer you to someone who can help.

Hopefully one or more of these thoughts will be helpful to you. If not, please just ignore me, LOL. It's best to take what you can use and forget the rest. If any of us had *the* answer, we wouldn't be here. ;)

Glad you found us and, again, welcome.

I wanted to add that my daughter, who has depression but is otherwise not a "challenging kid", was an utter and absolute nightmare at 15 (perhaps a bit like her mother, LOL). You very well could be dealing with her basic issues on top of a really bad case of teenageritis. Not to diminish at all what you're dealing with, but I honestly believe that some teen daughters would be best served (or maybe their mothers would be) by banishment to a desert isle. I can't tell you how many times I've called my own mother in the last 5 years to apologize, LOL.
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Active Member
Hi HBM, and welcome to the group. Sorry things are so difficult for you and your family. My SS10 has been diagnosed with attachment disorder. He has a lot of the same behavior your adopted daughter has, but not to the same degree. We're not exactly sure why he acts this way because he has always lived with his father and mother (prior to her death), and has been extremely difficult to deal with since birth so I am told. He has been to numerous "regular" counselors to no effect. We're now trying a counselor with our local children's hospital, but have just started, so I'm not sure how effective it will be yet.

I agree with slsh...I would call the police every time she steals or rages or acts aggressively to have her sent to the hospital for a psyche evaluation or juvenile detention. I know that is easier said than done, but it may be the only way to impact her way of thinking.

SS10 started major rages recently and threatened to kill us and himself. I told his father that I wouldn't stay in this house if he continued to ignore/enable his son's explosive behavior. He's 10 now, but it won't be long until he is 15.

I simply will not tolerate violent behavior. I don't feel you need to tolerate it either.


New Member
I am so sorry you and your family is dealing with so much. Have you called Medicaid and asked what it would take to get the neuropsychologist exam? I had problems with our regular insurance' but they said we had to try other things first. The school did an IQ test and we finally we got it covered, but it was a commercial insurance. Most insurance companies have away to petition and challenge their decisions. But with Medicaid, it would be harder...

We got a psychological exam thru a local university, and they just charged $75. Yes, it's different than a neuropsychologist, but we were one of the few that got more help with the psychiatric exam than the neuropsychologist. I also found a FASD diagnosis clinic who had some good info for us. They diagnosis my Difficult Child with static encephalopathy, alcohol exposed.

Others have more knowledge than I do... And I am sure they will be posting later. Glad you are here, sorry that you need to be!

Thank you for reading through all of that mess everyone.

She was adopted at birth, I picked her up from the hospital. She had supervised visits with her BM when she was an infant for an hour every couple of weeks. I was a stay at home mother, but she did start preschool with our developmentally disabled mentally retarded county group where they did therapy with her (the standard for all special needs adoptions, she's considered hard to place because she's biracial and because her mother had 4 previous children taken). We loved and cherished her just like the other kids, so I don't know how she could be attachment disordered, but she does act like it. Her younger sister, also adopted, came from similar circumstances and is also biracial, but has none of these problems.

I feel like the worst person ever, a terrible mother and a failure at parenting, even though the other kids are great kids and people. I've actually felt hatred for her and I don't hate people, I truly try to see the best.

It means a lot to me that you were all supportive of my rant and have given me some great ideas for things I've never heard of before. Thank you. I look forward to getting to know you all.


Well-Known Member
I don't know how she could be attachment disordered, but she does act like it
It will not be Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), as normally defined. She didn't have the chaotic first 2-3 years of life - neglect, abandonment, abuse.

Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)/Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the other possibility that would be high on the list. Those with more severe damage can be taught the same logical skills over and over and never get it - whether it's a school subject, or relationships, or behavior... If she has this and is this severe, she may need to be transitioned to a group home setting, as she will not be able to look after herself. This doesn't mean you abandon her. It means that you are supporting her though the next stages of development in getting what she NEEDS (not wants) to be safe. You will always love her and care for her - but you won't always be able to be her caregiver.


Well-Known Member

I want to add my welcome. Sounds like you are a family in crisis mode with your health issues and dealing with your daughter. You have received some really good advice, especially in regards to looking into Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). I am glad you have found your way here as the warrior parents on this site have seen it all and can be a great source of information and support.



Roll With It
I think you need to put some serious pressure on medicaid to get her into a group home or some setting other than your home. You really are not and CANNOT be setup to meet her needs. NOT for lack of love or trying, but because she is dangerous. You mention she hurts her sibs and leaves scars Regardless of the fact that a child is doing the abuse, this IS child abuse esp of Sweetie. Please be aware that CPS could be called and their solution would be to remove SWEETIE. Not your difficult child because she will be very hard to place. Sweetie woud be easy to place so she would be the one most likely to be removed.

I am not trying to scare you. I have been there done that with CPS when my oldest would hurt my daughter. We literally had to go to extreme length to keep our 2 younger kids safe and even that wasn't enough. We were lucky and when the first clueless social worker wanted to remove my younger ones her boss saw all that we did and told her she was an idiot.

One thing that MAY help is to call around to ask for programs to help families with violent kids. It isn't easy. I got a notebook and a pen and the phone book. First I called our pastor. I gave a brief synopsis of the situation and asked if he knew of any programs. He said no. Then I asked if he knew anyone who might know of any programs. He gave me 3 names. I wrote his name and phone number down and the names he gave me. Then I called those names, said that the pastor gave me their names, gave a brief synopsis and asked if he knew of any programs. Or anyone who might know of any programs.

I filled a notebook with names, phone number, an eventually program names/info. Then I spoke to the school resource officer aka the cop stationed at the school. He gave me a list of programs that even the therapist we saw didn't know of (I shared the list with her). It was a long process and probably took me a full 8 hours of nonstop phone calls, but we found help.

I also think your daughter needs a total evaluation for Fetal Alcohol as the others have suggested. If you click on the link in my signature, it will take you to info on how to make a Parent Report - a binder full of ALL the info on your child. It is invaluable as you speak to people to get help for your daughter. I truly believe this report is the strongest and most effective tool you can have too help your family


New Member
HBM, I share your pain. My son is an older international adoptee. He is my nightmare. Many of the same issues as yours. We tried everything..counseling, different types of reward/punishment(even begging), doctors, refused psychiatric.(As in "there is no way in heck I'm going" and too big to get him in car) he just didn't care! Nothing really helped his behavior. The only thing that helped was kicking him out at 18. Still issues with him, but at least I don't have to deal with him daily. There isn't enough help for us adoptee parents that have problem children. We were so lost. Your not a bad person for resenting and being angry at your child. I still am working on those feelings and he hasn't lived with us for years. Hang in there.


New Member
I just came upon this site and I don't know if you are still checking this post. I did want to say that we have a 12 year old that we adopted internationally at the age of 11 months and he clearly has Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I don't think Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is researched enough to say definitively that a child with a stable environment during the first few years can't have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). The drastic changes that come along because of adoption and the additional emotional issues can cause stress and throw our children into deep emotional turmoil. I don't have answers about how to help a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and I don't know or think that's all we're dealing with. We have been diagnosed with so many things over the years, from autism spectrum to adhd to Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) to tourettes and that's just a drop in the bucket. We've had to do several hospitals stays and seen so very many professionals along the way. The books I read have totally different tips than they did 9 years ago when we realized we had a problem. In the end, I have no advise other than to say that your feelings and emotions are normal and expected and frankly, mild compared to what I think sometimes. But you are her momma in the same way that you would be if you bore her naturally. The frustration you feel would momentarily vanish if you could see a healthy glimpse of her. I've seen those in our son (though they were often because he was playing up the charm to manipulate us into getting his way) and they are what keeps me going. That, and the knowledge that while I don't feel lovey dovey towards him, I get to show him true, unconditional love. And in your case (as well as mine) that love might come in the form of a police call or a trip to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). The line for me, is if he tries to hurt us, I'll call the police (not happened). If he tries to run away, I'll call the police (has happened). I won't physically restrain him (he's too big for that) and if he threatens to hurt himself or us I'll take him to a treatment facility (happened). If he begins to yell and throw a temper tantrum we take him to nana and poppys so our other kids have a peaceful home. If he begins destroying items we call friends for backup (he stops when we have company because of embarrassment). If I am in doubt that my other children are at peace and taken care of, I make adjustments such as take them on a vacation or spend one on one time with them (even at the expense of spending time with my adopted child who gets much more one on one time anyway).

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I know this is a bunch of rambling.

Telling our stories puts them into perspective for us.

We need to do that to make sense of what is happening to all of us, and to our families. When something like this happens, it truly is like we wake up one morning in Hell.

So, there is a country song. It goes "When you're going through Hell, keep on moving ~ don't slow down...." I forgot the rest.

I am glad you found us, and I think you are a wonderful mom, very caring.

Here is the song.

Rodney Atkins - If You're Going Through Hell (Official)