First Introductions

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mominator, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    I came to this site looking for information on conduct disorders. I’ve been reading posts off and on for months, but not had the energy to explain my situation. I’ve been in therapy for the past couple years because I’ve learned that adopting children (especially through the foster system) can expose previously stifled childhood trauma in the adoptive parents. But a little more than a month ago, I finally decided (with an extreme push from my therapist), to see a psychiatrist for myself and have gotten on antidepressant medication that’s helping me. Now instead of repeating to myself “I Love My Kids” over and over trying to convince myself, I’m able to separate my reactions to their behaviors from my feelings for them as people and my children.

    I’m 46, currently a stay home mom. I have an eclectic work experience. I’m twice married. The first time when I was young, stupid, and didn’t recognize the warning signs of impending abuse. On the positive side, from that relationship, I got a wonderful daughter who is now 26. My second husband is wonderful. We married when my daughter was 10 and he stepped in and raised her as his own. Once bio-daughter was 18 and we were on the verge of becoming empty nesters, we decided to adopt children through the foster system. Most important to us was to keep siblings together. So, in 2006 when got a call asking if we’d take a set of four we said yes. The adoption was finalized two years later. A month later, my husband adopted adult bio daughter also, because she didn’t want to be the only one with a different last name J.

    Prior to becoming a foster parent, we were taught there are no “normal” children in foster care. They all have behavioral problems. But when we got the kids we were told they were all normal except that one of them “might” have ADHD. I look back on that now and laugh. Sometimes the laugh is bitter and sometimes it’s hysterical, but it’s laughter non-the-less. Because, you can tell from my signature the kidos have some difficulties.

    My current big issue is that the end of this month, both of my sons will reach the one year anniversary of being out of the house and I don’t know for sure when/if they will be coming back. At the end of February last year, they were arrested. Actually, my husband and I called the police because they hurt one of their sisters. After nearly 6 months in juvenile detention, they were finally placed in a residential treatment facility nearly 4 hours drive away from us. (My area has VERY limited resources, so it took that long to find beds in a facility that would address their needs.) The boys are in the same city, but aren’t even in the same location. We try to visit with them every other weekend but it’s difficult because they (the boys) aren’t allowed to interact with each other. So, we have to visit with one boy, take him back, pick up the other, etc. That requires overnight stay, which requires arrangements for the girls and pets left at home. It’s exhausting.

    Everyone except my husband is getting therapy as a result of the boys’ actions. Everyone in the family has to heal AND the courts need to agree before the boys can come home. That may not happen, but I’m praying. In the meantime, we are making arrangements to take special classes for supervising children with conduct disorders and making changes to the physical house as part of our safety plan.

    I’m told most people give these kids back to the courts, but my husband and I feel these children have already been thrown away once and they aren’t “throw aways”. No matter whether they come home to live with us or have to live outside the house, we are going to love them and support their continued improvements in therapy. And they ARE improving.

    Another HUGE part of the heart break is that their sister, who dearly loves them both keeps going through the grieving cycle and alternates between missing them, hating me for calling the police, and acting out because she’s trying not to act like a victim and wants to be “big man on campus” so to speak. She wants them to come home, but doesn’t want therapy and I’ve told her that is not an option. If she doesn’t heal or feel safe, we as her parents will not even ask the courts for them to come home.

    It’s difficult advocating for both sides of the issue!

    Thank you for listening.
  2. Welcome, Mominator. Sorry that you're dealing with this. I'm new to posting, too, although I've been reading this board for 5 years since shortly after I remarried and was trying to figure out how to help my step-son with his issues. He was in residential treatment twice, for a year each time. The first time, they sent him home after a year because he wasn't making any progress. He was home for a year and was still pretty violent and manic. (I don't understand how the parents are supposed to cope with a dangerous, mentally ill child if a facility with specially trained staff can't.) We were able to place him in a different facility, where he was finally properly diagnosed and changed medications. That helped a lot and he was able to come home after a year and has been doing fairly well with supports at home and at school. I know that dread that they might send a child back to live with you who is violent and dangerous. Do you have an advocate or case worker who can try to extend their placement if they need it or get more supports at home? We're in the U.S. and had a state department of human resources case manager who helped us extend his placement for a few months and get services at home. We have therapy and respite care through the state DHS.

    While they are not 'throw aways", you do need to protect yourselves and your other children. Sometimes that means that the residential is the best place for them for awhile, even if their sister doesn't understand that. She's so young, that she won't be able to understand the big picture for many years. I hope you'll be able to get her into therapy even if she resists. If you can find the right therapist who can develop a bond with her, that may overcome her resistance and she can get some benefit from that.
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  3. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    Thank you Second Time. I totally agree that right now the best place for the boys is in a treatment facility. They are in a good program and it seems to be working.

    My daughter has been in therapy for nearly 11 months. I find it absolutely astonishing (in a not so good way) how kids with ODD and ADHD can be so impulsive, but maintain a long term, high level of quiet stand-off-ishness. Every week, it takes half the session for the therapist to get her to talk.

    I know there is no time line to recovery, but I'm always conscious that to my middle aged self, a year of time is like a drop of water in a bucket. It doesn't make much difference. But to little kids, every couple months can be like the after effects of an earthquake. Everything can be changed. They can have huge growth spurts, great leaps in maturity, or even start to forget bad things that have happened to them. The changes can be even more dramatic with children such as ours. My kids have trouble with working memory and to varying degrees, reactive attachment disorders. Both boys have already forgotten what our house looks like. My youngest son is stalled in treatment because he has to answer very specific questions about his past behaviors, and he can't remember all the details anymore. As for my daughter, well, she's youngest, memory fades faster for the younger one. Not that that is a bad thing, but we would like her to get therapy for the actual events.
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    We adopted an eleven year old boy after having adopted four others. You are right...there is no such thing as a well adjusted foster child. Most have attachment disorders of varying degrees and psychiatrists really don't know much about it, although they should. They diagnose our kids wrong a lot of times. That ODD/ADHD may be a component of attachment disorder...or, if the bio. mom used drugs while pregnant, there is also that component in there.

    Three of my adopted children came very young and bonded right away.One came from an orphanage from another country at six. He was always a very well behaved and brilliant boy, but he did not seem to be bonded to us. He obeyed, but he didn't want us to "parent" him and often spent his time at other's homes. It is eight years now that we haven't seen him and he is grown. We also adopted an eleven year old who was so dangerous and abusive we dissolved the adoption. He sexually abused our youngest two kids (also adopted), stole, killed our animals, and was, in general, not fit to live in a family. We had been told that he was a really nice boy except for being a little cognitively delayed and his foster parents of five years loved him. He was always so helpful with foster mom and her young children she babysat for. I bet he was. He was a young sexual predator and was found guilty of that in a court of law in our state after there evidence proving he had done things to his young sister and brother. The courts charged him and he was found guilty. We actually had nothing to do with it. I know he had to be on a sexual predator list. Whether he still needs to be, I don't know. He is twenty-two now.

    11 Year Old Bo was very good at hiding his worst so we loved him like all the other kids and never dreamed he was scaring the young ones so that they were afraid to tell us all he did. We didn't even suspect him of killing our first dog. The second one...that was where his act fell apart. After he left, my youngest kids started talking about all the things he had done and it was horrifying, but they said nothing until he was gone as he had promised to kill them and had stolen a knife and held it to their throats many times. My daughter still has a tiny scar on her neck, although she told me, when I noticed it, that the cat had scratched her. Poor younger kids were only four and seven. The county was awesome. They paid for so much therapy and help that we made it as a family, but the boy who had perpetrated had to leave. For good.

    You certainly don't have to dissolve your adoption like we did. We don't consider any child throwaway, however we needed to protect the children we had whom he hurt and they were terrified of the thought of having any connection to him ever again. Plus, to be honest, I doubt either me or my husband could have ever looked at him again without feeling sick. He continued to be a child predator in his locked down Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and cameras caught him stalking other children and trying to touch them. Wish we'd had a camera, but he was also so obedient and sweet to any adult's face that we didn't feel the need. I feel very guilty and naive when I think about it.

    Not all children can live at home.

    We adopted to have more children to love and we adopted a few hard-to-place children on purpose, to give them a chance to know family life. Sadly, neither of our older adopted children ever wanted to be in our family. In the case of the child from the orphanage, he did get married and make his own family from somebody who was of his own heritage and he is happily married and fruitful. Although he won't see us, at least I know he is doing very well...just did not feel like we were his "real" family. The one who is eleven is in and out of jail. We have checked court records. I would not be surprised to find out one day on the news that he murdered somebody.

    Anyhow, I got off track.

    You are doing all you can for your kids. You are also protecting yourself (and YOU matter too) and your daughter. Your sons may or may not heal. Those early years when they were abused by family or tossed from foster to foster make huge impacts on their brain's wiring. One social worker told me that 99% of the kids in foster care are sexually abused somewhere. We believe it too. Obviously this child had been abused, although he has no memory of it (it is common to block out sexual abuse). He had perped on children in all of his foster homes, but we did not find that out until he was gone.

    I wish you luck and hope your children continue to improve and to heal. Some attachment disordered kids do heal and learn to bond even without therapy. But usually therapy is very helpful.

    Welcome to the board! :)
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  5. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    MidwestMom, I know it's hard to imagine past experiences with new data, but I wonder if you'd answer a what-if question for me? Before I ask the question though, I'm wondering if I start a conversation with you, is that private or public?
  6. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Wow, what a handful. Glad to welcome you on board, but like everyone says, sorry you need to be. Someone here is always willing to lend you an ear or a prayer whichever you need as you go along. Even though my daughter is an older one at age 40, I am here to remain in control of my own life and not deal with her issues. My therapist says this kind of group therapy for me is like an alcoholic in day at a time and keep coming back!
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    If you send me a private message, nobody will see it. Click on my name first.
  8. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    I just messaged you.
  9. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    Yes, my therapist thinks I need to go to a support group. But I'm in such a small area that everyone knows everyone. I can't openly talk in person. I'm very glad I found this site. Everyone has been very kind.
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I sent you two answers back. Let me know if you got them both. The first answer was kind of scattered because there was so much to share and it was not fun to share it. The second message tried to straighten out the chaos, in case there were things that didn't make sense. Message me again if you want to "talk."

    Some things the experience taught us is that not all kids can be saved and, yes, kids can have no conscience...we stopped even thinking about adopting older children. Most are just too damaged by their early least that was our experience. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is very frightening. That was the end. In fact, we kept our family as is after that. The children we adopted very, very young are bonded to us and doing really well. It is no different than if they had been our birth children. There are as attached to us as our one biological child is. But I believe you need those first years with a child in order to have it work out well, although I'm sure there are exceptions.
  11. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    I'm so sorry that you've been going through all this, and those are some lucky kids to have you and your husband willing to go the distance. I think you're amazing. I just wanted to add something: I'm a foster child, and was left in a shelter at age 10, then sent to a foster home that I left the minute I graduated high school. My early childhood was chaotic with a lot of moves because we were a military family, alcohol abuse, my mother's mother committed suicide with my mother watching, so she ended up in foster care, too. A real mess. But, I'm here, I'm pretty good, I wasn't a huge problem for my foster family. My younger brother was fostered with me (he was not quite 3) and he did have more problems, but he never hurt anyone but himself. So hell, I don't know. I was never adopted, but even though I didn't get along with my foster mother (she was an alcoholic, too), I'm glad I was there. Much better than the craziness with my bio family and my time in the children's shelter. Just another foster/adoptive story to throw in the mix.
  12. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    I just sent you a very very long message. Sorry for the length.
  13. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    Thank you HMBgal. People like you are the reason my husband spent so many years wanting to do foster care. He was in the military for a long time and met a lot of people who were never adopted that would have greatly benefited from having some stability and love in their lives. It took me a long time to agree with him because of all the stories of children with reactive attachment issues. But I took the leap and even though we are going through extremely difficult times and even though I'm crying while I type this, I can honestly say that I'm glad I have them. They are my babies just like my biological 26 y/o daughter is one of my babies. And I've had some wonderful people tell me that no matter what happens, where the kids were before we came into their lives would have been so much worse.
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I didn't see this. I will read your response. SORRY!!!
  15. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    no problem. Thank you.
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I can't seem to find the response. I'm sorry. I have trouble with PMs. I'll try again.
  17. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    I started a new conversation with you and pasted it there. Let me know if you don't find it. Thanks.
  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I did find it. :huh: I'm not too bright with working my way around forums. Sorry.

    What a smart, caring, lovely woman you are :) You are also a realist, like me. Anyhow, I did respond.
  19. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    Thank you. I responded back.
  20. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Hi Mominator, although I have no adopted children, I still wanted to lend you my support as I still understand some of the issues your going through. Hugs