foster mom needs strategies - UPDATE!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mdaly22, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. mdaly22

    mdaly22 New Member

    So glad to have found this group! We accepted a placement of 2 brothers into our home on Friday. As is typical in foster care, we have VERY little information about either boy. The oldest (age 6) came with a bottle of Adderall (15 mg) and a mention by his caseworker that he is ADHD. He is loud, active and bursts into tears when he is frustrated, all of which I expected and can handle. What I've never encountered though is the level of defiance I am getting from this child. It is sporadic, but to the point of making me feel uncomfortable about being able to guarentee his safety. For example, when I took him, his 2 year old brother and my 4 year old son on a walk to the bus stop to meet my 8 year old son, I explained before we left that one of my rules is that we hold hands when we walk to the bus stop. He indicated that this was fine before we left, but once we got outside he took off on me. I called him back (he complied) but when I reminded him of my rule he gave me a look that could kill, shouted "NO!!!!" and took off again... straight towards a busy road. Luckily, another mom was there and quickly took my two little ones while I went after my foster boy. When I approached him, he flung himself down on the road, still shouting and screaming.

    I am very hesitant to take him anywhere with me without some strategies in mind for dealing with his behavior. That's what I'm hoping to find here. How do you deal with defiant/dangerous behavior? For example, how could I have handled the walk to the bus stop differently so that safety is maximized? Once we got home, I followed through with a serious talk (he cried) and told him he had lost the privilege of a walk to the bus stop and that next time we'd be taking the car, where he will remain while we wait for the bus (he cried at that, too). Any suggestions or stories of what you've done with a similar child are greatly appreciated - I need to arm myself with some game plans!
  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Hi & welcome. The number one book recommended here is The Explosive Child - has a great many ideas to deal with the day to day antics of our little wonders with-o losing your mind.

    Having said that, as foster children, I would demand any & every evaluation there is out there. I would find every bit of information on these children, i.e. neglect, abuse (what kind if there were any), mental health issues in the bio family, other possible diagnosis's that were hidden from you.

    I would demand a neuropsychologist evaluation. A complete physical including a neurology appointment to rule out any possible seizure activity.

    Dealing with foster children involves a special kind of caring. I have 2 books that I've used with my tweedles that help; I would highly recommend Parenting the Hurt Child. Whether this child is a permanent addition to your home he will need some stability; some possible re-training, if you will, of the very basic skills that he may have missed in the bio home, for whatever reason.

    And the number one question I would ask is how many placements has this child been through? This will give you some kind of clue of the level of hurt, defiance, anger, sadness you can expect from him.

    husband & I spent a great deal of time teaching the tweedles how to "redo". In other words, the walking together outside holding hands. It was a safety skill they had never learned - one they needed badly. We practiced in the yard - each time there was a slip up, very calmly I'd ask for a "redo". It took months to master the skill of crossing the road together & safely. In the end it would take 2 adults; one for kt & the other for wm. kt & wm learned early that if they couldn't follow the rules, the consequence might be no park until there was another adult available to walk safely with them.

    Just my take on your situation. You may have to spend a great deal of time practicing & "redoing" before you can safely walk with your 6 y/o safely.
  3. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    Great job on the car "restraint"! Ahhh...gotta love seatbelts.

    But as for making some boundries on running away... There's always the public humiliation route of showing him a child leash and "threatening" him with it if he doesn't cooperate with your instructions.

    Otherwise...well, considering you have 2 other children... I'm at a loss... I'd, personally, stick with the seatbelts. :smirk:

    I hope you find a useful solution!

    Good luck! <3
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My advice won't help you, but it's from the heart.
    I don't advise taking in children who are older than your youngest. We adopted an eleven year old when we still had two younger adopted kids--three and seven. Although the child acted like an angel, he sexually abused my two younger ones and terrified them so much that we didn't even know he was doing it because he told them he'd kill all of us and himself if they told. I found out over a year later--it was going on all that time. He also ended up killing our dogs, neighborhood pets, etc. We were told he was a "nice kid with some cognitive delays." I don't think he had any cognitive delays. I think he was very bright. He is gone now, but the damage was done.
    Over 90% of the foster kids have been sexually abused. With boys that often means they act out. With girls, they tend to falsely accuse the father or brothers of sexual abuse. Does this always happen? No, but I know enough people that both scenarios happen to, and I want to warn you about this. Do you have videocams in the rooms of the foster kids so you can see what they do at night? We were told we should have done that AFTER the damage was done.
    Like you, we felt we could make a difference in the life of the most needy children. We found that you can't save them all. If I were you, I would tell your caseworker that these boys are not a good fit in your house and you are concerned about the affect on your younger children. I would take no child who is over two years old and certainly not siblings since you have your own children to consider. The defiance is probably due to just the horrible life and lack of attachments that this child has had and, in my opinion, should be in a foster home with older kids or in the home of a childless couple who have already raised their kids. No, social workers don't tell you that there are big risks to your other kids. They are overworked and desperate to place the children. We were offered and accepted many kids. I just wanted to pass along that the goodness in your heart could betray you in the end. These kids sound like too much for anyone raising young children of their own--and God knows what they could do to your precious children. We had "the talk" about bad touching with our kids and promised them we'd always believe them if they told us that an adult or other child touched them the wrong way, but they were so scared of Eleven Year Old, they didn't tell us. When he left, they finally bubbled over with stories that broke my heart. As a small aside, my best friend was raised with foster kids and a few of the boys came into her room and tried to molest her, but she was older and pretty much told them where to go. She never did tell her parents though and they kept bringing in foster kids. Since she herself was adopted she said, "I felt like I was another foster kid who just lasted longer."
    Consider fostering drug affected babies for now. Just my opinion and suggestion. Naturally you don't have to listen, but I wanted this thrown out there since these issues rarely come up when the social workers talk to you. (((Hugs)))
  5. mdaly22

    mdaly22 New Member

    Thanks all for the feedback. MidwestMom, I had a heart-to-heart with my husband today after he was able to closely observe our 6 year old fs this weekend. husband is a therapist who works primarly with adolescents. He does not feel that this child is a good fit for our family and that he needs to be placed in a one-to-one environment. husband found that fs does respond under that level of interaction.

    We have decided to contact the agency tomorrow and let them know we need to disrupt this placement. I have kept a behavior chart of when this boys does/does not comply with rules. He himself opened up last evening as I made dinner and he comes from a physically abusive home. He told me his mom lets him do whatever he wants and the he never has rules at home. I believe it!

    We've been fostering for 4 + years, only taking children whose ages we've gone through with our own children (8 and 4). I never thought about the importance of keeping birth order intact and am shaking my head how this did not occur to me. My own sons were adopted as babies and their is a wealth of information in the adoption world about the importance of maintaining birth order. I am sticking to that from now on.

    This has been a very emotional decision for me. I keep reminding myself that there are scores and scores of children in need of placement... and it is true that you can't help them all.

    Mary Jo
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Trust me, hon, we had to disrupt placements and it always broke our hearts--this was even before the Eleven Year Old came into our lives. For what it's worth, I feel you are doing what is safest for your own children. If your younger kids come into contact with an older child who has had a bad life--well, they can't really defend themselves against him. Prayers to you and lots of hugs.
  7. mdaly22

    mdaly22 New Member


    Just read your signature - my two sons were adopted from Korea! Oldest has sensory issues and oral motor delays (which he works so hard on!). Youngest is ADHD. They keep my life full and I can't imagine two more perfect children. Of course, I am their mom!

    husband is suggesting we call on-call today and give them a heads-up about our decision. Thanks for the support. The 2 foster boys with me have a third sibling (middle child) currently in a residential treatment facility - apparently has very violent behavior. Can't imagine what they've seen... but I need to protect my sons first.

    Mary Jo
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yes you do, Mary Jo.
    My thoughts are with you, but I feel you are doing the right thing.
    Yes, I adopted my daughter from Korea. She's my best friend and very beautiful. I tend to think I have the best kids on earth :wink:
  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Ours difficult children can be challenging under the best of circumstances. While I feel I'd want all the info available on the kids, I couldn't recommend splitting up siblings after only a week. I'd think more time is required to make these type of life altering decisions with emphasis placed on the best interest of the children. Perhaps a better placement for the kids would be with-a couple that do not have children?

    Even merging families of newly married couples requires an adjustment period. Introducing children from troubled backgrounds into an established family can be more difficult.

    I hope you don't feel I'm judging here, because I'm not. Sometimes it is in the best interest of the siblings to be separated, but that's not the norm in my opinion.

    Welcome to the site. :smile:

  10. mdaly22

    mdaly22 New Member

    Hi, Sheila!

    I talked with their caseworker this morning. My recommendation is that these boys be placed in a therapeutic foster home where the oldest can get the level of supervision and interaction that he needs. I also recommended that they be the only children there. This 6 year old has loads of potential, but needs more than I can give him. I agree that they haven't had much of an adjustment period with us, but I think that his underlying issues are significant and beyond my comfort zone.

    In NYS, siblings must be placed together (this is a new law this year). They would only be separated if a psychiatric evaluation concludes that it is in the best interest of the children to separate them (sexual abuse, etc.). The third brother in the picture is in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) now to determine if he can be placed with is other 2 siblings or not.

    Such a sad situation and I am sad to be a part of it.

    Mary Jo
  11. mdaly22

    mdaly22 New Member

    So, here's what's happening now...

    County caseworker called to lay a major guilt trip on me. I shot it all right back at her (having found out that we're the 3rd foster home in 4 weeks) - that she's done nothing but try to minimize this child's problems. I was very proud of myself. I then called our foster care agency and asked them to talk to the county for me - that I didn't want to speak to the caseworker again. Let them deal with her.

    So, this evening we get a call from our agency that they did speak to county AND county has agreed to place our 6 yo foster boy in a 21-day diagnostic center where he'll get a full psychiatric evaluation. He will most likely be placed after that in a therapeutic foster setting with his 5 yo brother. The youngest brother will stay with us. Twice weekly sibling visits have already been arranged.

    I am so relieved at how things are turning out. I was so worried that this boy was going to get passed from home to home without anyone stepping in to make sure he got the help he needs. I am blown away that this decision has been made... I've seen little in foster care that puts children first - what a wonderful surprise!

    Mary Jo
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Way to go, Warrior Mom! :warrior:

    I'm sure your speaking so directly to the caseworker played no small part in getting the help this boy needs.
  13. mdaly22

    mdaly22 New Member

    Wow, "Warrior Mom!" If you only knew how painfully shy I was growing up. Something clicked in when I became a mother - and now I love fighting the good fight!

    Mary Jo
  14. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    You go! What a great job! That little guy really needed a "stand up Mom" to step in and help him. What's nice is that you'll see him a couple of times a week and will be able to complain if things don't look like they're being handled correctly!

    Great job "Warrior Mom!!!"



    PS Doesn't a backbone feel great!

  15. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Methinks that you have found your niche :wink:
  16. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    :warrior: MJ, way to go. I'm very impressed on your advocacy for these children.

    My tweedles were adopted from the foster care system - I only wish someone had made sure that kt & wm had this kind of care before we adopted them. I'd hazard a guess that we'd be far better off than we are now.

    Again, :bravo: :warrior:!

    And thank you for these children. :flower: