Hello..I am new and pretty awful on the computer

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by StrengthInHim, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. StrengthInHim

    StrengthInHim New Member

    I am trying to learn how to navigate this site and found a group pertaining to adoption but could not figure out how to post. We adopted my nephew who is now 5...it has been 2 1/2 years and while there has been 85% improvement with him it is still hard to even be in the same room with him. We also have two other biological children. Our home often feels unlike a family when he is home and is wonderful if he happens to gone. This brings great guilt with it. He has been diagnosed...ADHD(combined type), ptsd, victim of sexual assault, and a disturbance disorder. I am seeking to "like" him and to want to be in the same room as him(without a nauseous pit in my stomach) and also to be able to be a "mommy' to him...not just his caretaker. He is very affectionate and loving...it is me who does not reciprocate in those feelings. I know he is suffering inside and know that if he can have the right tools leading to somewhat happiness it will start healing for us all. I'm not sure how to explain his behavior except that it's normal stuff magnified by one hundred thousand and he just has a way of getting under your skin. His pre-k teacher said she has to grit her teeth sometimes just to talk to him...this made me feel great! It's not just me! So, I have just gotten the internet and am searching for "others" who understand and can stand beyond the the hurtful advise of friends and family who are trying to "help." I have recently suffered a few mini "breakdowns" and have felt hopeless....though church helped me thru that one I am thinking that the right support system may be a nice asset in these endless days.
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Welcome, and I think you will find there are many of us here who struggle to like our kids much of the time. It's hard for people to understand the level of behavior we are talking about.
    What kinds of supports do you have if any? Do you get respite care or therapies? Does he take any medication and do you think it is working?
    Others will come along with questions ...only answer those you are comfortable with. It helps us relate and share with you if we have experienced anything similar...not meaning to be nosy or anything.
    Anyway just glad you found us and please know you are not alone!
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just wanted to say welcome. I'm glad you found us, but I'm sorry you had to. There are many who can relate to what you are saying, you're not alone. I have no words of wisdom, just one mom to another to say glad you're here and hope you find peace in the stormy sea. Hugs to you.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the board, but sorry you had to come here.

    I am wondering about his early years. Were they very chaotic? Has anybody ever mentioned attachment disorder? Does he see a therapist? Do YOU?

    If you aren't feeling the way you want to feel about him, it may benefit everybody to get into family therapy. Has your nephew been tested in Early Education to see if there is any help there? I'm not quite sure what kind of behavior you are talking about unless you mean he is just MORE of everything. Does he get violent or have tantrums or hurt anybody? Are your children older than he is? If you have any pets is he nice to them? Is he learning on schedule? Does he understand how to relate to his same age peers?
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! It is OK. It is completely normal to struggle to find the 'love' for some of our kids. You say he was abused, was this at the hand of his own mother & father?
    Has he received any treatment, ie: counseling?
  6. StrengthInHim

    StrengthInHim New Member

    He was put into care at 10 months, lived with his mother's grandma, his mother in treatment and shelters, 2 foster parents(one of whom relayed to me in a CPS meeting that my nephew is psychotic and will kill my baby-cps took 8 months to get him out of her home after she decided she could no longer be his foster mother), went to 2 daycares, was kidnapped by his mother and taken to Canada for a little over a week. Lots of bouncing. I am his paternal aunt. Where it happened and by whom we don't know. We tried counseling several times and had awful experiences, not that they even ever asked him one question. At the moment he is doing Animals As Natural Therapy which is a God send for sure. We are working on privacy, boundaries, appropriateness and supplying good feeling sensory.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member


    I think your nephew is going to need intensive therapy probably all of his life and there are still no guarantees with that sort of background. Are you against conventional therapy for some reason? He is going to need it...he has got to have attachment problems with all he has gone through and attachment disordered c hildren need help to refrain from becoming dangerous to others and themselves. You can still do animal therapy, but in my opinion it is nowhere near enough. Did his birthmother use drugs when she was pregnant? Drink? Those are other problems that can cause organic damage that has to be addressed. This is not going to be an easy fix, if indeed he can be fixed. His foster mother sounds as if she had her hands full. Not that she should have said those things, but maybe she was afraid for her own kids.

    If you do have a baby, I would not leave them alone unsupervised. Ever.

    Good luck.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If there is some degree of attachment disorder involved (it's a spectrum, not just a single diagnosis), regular therapists aren't going to cut it. You need to find someone with extensive experience in dealing with attachment disorders and attachment therapies. It is a very different approach from traditional therapy - and traditional therapy doesn't work with attachment-disordered kids.
  9. StrengthInHim

    StrengthInHim New Member

    Thank you so much for your replies! No I do not get any type of respite. Family and friends listen on the phone but want to offer a lot of advice not respite. They love to take my wonderful, calm 13yr old and give her a break, which she definitely needs. My 2 1/2 year old is extremely intense but in "easier" ways...if that makes sense. I will try to explain my nephew. I guess some situations might help. I actually find him to be a lot calmer than other boys his age. I am a hard parent...which I always thought was right but now I don't know up from down so who knows.
    -anything you tell him to do he will most of the time. This is wonderful!
    -anything you tell him not to do, he will do a million times
    -lies ALOT(lately this seems better but then again maybe I am just not noticing)
    -very sneaky
    -is violent though not at home...I didn't even know he was violent until teachers and his maternal GG brought it up
    -a year ago we were moving and I found months worth of urine between his bed and dresser. so much that it soaked through his dresser wood...the wall was mushy. There was fresh and old urine. Every time he is sent to his room he has to potty. He knows we have to let him(sometimes I make him wait if I know he doesnt need to) so it is not happening due to lack of bathroom access. So, when we moved here I told him if he did that in this room I would move him to a diff room. 1 week after we moved in he saturated his bedroom carpet with urine. I asked him why..."because I am mad at you." So he was moved to a newer smaller bedroom with just his bed. Daily I added his possessions to his room for good behavior and 2 months later moved him to a bigger room. Changing rooms around is a lot of work. We moved here May 2011. Recently in March he earned his original room back. He was very excited telling me he was going to be very respectful of his room and never pee in it. 3 months later his blinds are all torn apart and he is picking at the paint on the walls...and his room smells like a dog has been urinating in there for 2 weeks. So he is back to a different room. Devastating. I will not be switching the rooms anymore. The room he is in now is a good room...just not big and cozy like the other one.
    -He cannot handle any type of change in his life whatsoever. Starting school, ending school, school breaks, moving all brings on about a week of "freaking out" I call it his fever. When he is in his fever...everyone in the home is suffering. He used to visit his GG until I noticed that when she went on vacation for a month he had no fever the entire month. So visits with GG stopped and GG started visiting our home once a week. This turned into a nightmare and we have stopped contact with GG. Which took away my breaks....but we decided she is not healthy for him.-We tried for 2 1/2 yrs with her before this gut wrenching decision.
    -When its just the four of us...there is a lot of laughter, loving, and pure joy. When nephew is home it is all screaming, anger and frustration, by everyone except my wonderful calm husband-which sometimes makes me crazier than anything else! But also I get jeulous of his ability to be that way.
    -he was was violent to animals before we Animals As Natural Therapy. We have had to part with several dogs because of this...devastating. I don't know what would happen if we weren't looking
    -At school he cannot handle not doing things perfectly or if other kids are not doing things perfectly (he goes to a special needs preschool which we are keeping him in another year.
    -His eyes switch over like a light switch...one ex. Him and his teacher were sitting next to each other cutting paper. Nephew stopped looked up at her, without taking his eyes off of her he reached down cut a hole in his shirt with the scissors, his eyes switch back, he smiled and went back to cutting paper.
    -he requires 100% supervision during awake hours.
    I don't know if this relays what it's like but it's at least some of it.
    -thanks for listening!
  10. StrengthInHim

    StrengthInHim New Member

    When we did therapy(twice) they just kept saying I must be doing something wrong and am probably just overwhelmed by the "newness" of raising 3 kids. My 13 yr old began having stress siezures which really looks as extreme as epileptic seizures...so I got her into therapy and her therapist never even talked to her! They would only speak to me...so I set her up with a school counselor. What kind of therapist would be a not "regular" therapist...my brain is mush and i cannot think of a better way to say that. I requested a referral to a phsychologist thru his doctor last week. I didn't know it was that simple. I had tried to get his other 2 therapist to refer him but they said that only happens after a certain course of therapy has happened. Apparently I have no idea about this stuff and am even more glad that I am here now. What is a diagnosis?
  11. StrengthInHim

    StrengthInHim New Member

    I know for sure she did meth and heroine while breastfeeding. I have no clue about while she was pregnant. We wondered but she was trying to not even smoke cigarettes while she was pregnant and had recently finished treatment.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sorry... board short-forms. First... diagnosis = diagnosis. But, do you see that little underline beneath "diagnosis"? hoover you mouse over it, and the definition pops up. Like this: ADHD. therapist. psychiatrist.

    Others on the board have more experience with attachment (ours was attached and became detached later), but one common site that has lots of info is attach-china (sorry, I don't know the full url). That one started out being for kids adopted from China, but has expanded significantly, and has info that doesn't just apply to adopted kids either. That might give you a start, though.

    Has he ever had a comprehensive evaluation? say, by a neuropsychologist? or a child behavioral/developmental team out of a teaching hospital? If not, who gave the diagnoses?
  13. StrengthInHim

    StrengthInHim New Member

    so helpful thank you!!
    He has not seen any neuropsychologist people but to get him into the special needs preschool they did evaluations on him. there is a therapist there but for some reason he did not do any work with him this year, but will be next year because of the teacher asking him to...me asking apparently was not enough.
    An RN at the counseling place we went to did a 3 hours assessment and diagnosed him with these. She was wonderful and I was very excited about the care we would receive based on the 3 hours with her. Too bad the therapist's weren't like her. The nearest teaching hospital is 90 miles away.
    I haven't heard much about attachment orders...I will start looking into this right away.

    Also, I just spent some time with gut wrenching sobs. It is unexplainable to finally find a place where there are people who understand...thank you so much! Just what you have said here cushions the blows of harsh comments from friends and family. Just the other day my friend asked if I put my other kids on time-out too...I guess she thinks I'm just unfair and that's why things are this way. What a release talking to people who really understand. Thank you again.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would find both a psychiatrist (something is badly wrong with him...not his fault, but he has been damaged) and an attachment therapist. A regular therapist is not equipped to deal with this child and all of his issues. You may want to read this link regarding unattached children:


    There are three danger signs called the McDonald Triad. If your nephew displays all three, he is at high risk to develop dangerous behaviors towards others. The three have to appear together and they are violence/cruelty to animals, fascination with fire/firesetting, and peeing/pooping inappropriately. We adopted a child like this and he had to leave our house after killing two dogs and sexually abusing my two younger children. He was good at hiding it. It was three years before we knew what was really going on. Please, please, please be careful with your 2 1/2 year old or any pets. In fact, I would rehome any pets. That child was older...11...and a very good actor by then.We had no idea the destruction he was creating right under our noses. We had to put our family back together again after he left. Thankfully, we had a lot of help! It is unlikely that normal parenting methods will dent this child. He will need specialized parenting and protection in the house for your 2 year old son.

    I hope you get a lot of help and have a better outcome than we did. (((Hugs)))
  15. StrengthInHim

    StrengthInHim New Member

    Wow...I am so sorry you went through that.
    Was it a relief when he was gone? We've thought about letting him go.
    We are exhausted from the constant supervision and are extremely diligent in the 100% supervision. Unfortunately our 2yr old us probably codependent now from things like having to sleep with us for her safety. but that is all worth it. Thank you for your advice and much needed hugs. I will definitely be checking this website out.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well...this isn't very nice, I guess...but our lives went back to normal after he left and I don't think any one of us ever wanted him back. He was a horrible boy, obviously a product of his upbringing, but that didn't make choking two dogs to death any better...or having sex with my six year old daughter and my eight year old son (at knifepoint). Nor did it make us feel warm and fuzzy when we learned he had silenced them by threatening to burn down the house if they told us anything, along with his showing them that he WOULD do it when he used a lighter to burn little pieces of his carpet.

    R. had a home life similar to your nephews. His birthmother had abused drugs and alcohol. She neglected him and only fed him water to the point w here he had a seizure and was removed from her care. Then he was bounced around from home to home. He had actually been in five foster homes before he came to us...we were looking to adopt a child who would have a hard time getting adopted, and due to his age, sex, and race he fit the bill. We already had adopted two other minority children so we figured he'd fit right in and his pre-adoptive profile made him sound like an angel. His foster mother of five years loved him....he used to help her all the time, especially with her daycare kids (I'll bet he loved helping her with those kids!).

    So with that as his background, but with no reported behavioral problems we brought him into our family, loved him, and had no idea the havoc he was wreaking in the background. If we had kept him in our house after we finally found out the ugly truth, the other kids would have been destroyed. We would have had to monitor him like our home was a detention center. And we'd never have been able to have enjoyed the animals that we love so much. I would not be surprised if I turned on the news one day and saw that he killed somebody.

    Although antisocial personality disorder is not diagnosed until 18, this child had it already by age 11. He had no conscience and no feelings for any living thing. He could fake it well, but all he wanted was the material items we could give him. That's when we'd get big hugs. When he was taken away he got a diagnosis of SEVERE REACTIVE ATTACHMENT DISORDER which has similar symptoms, at the worst end of the spectrum, of an adult without any conscious or ability to truly love. In fact, love scared him.

    He was actually arrested because he had perped on my daughter, who was six years younger than him. That's the cut off. He was found guilty of sexual assault of a minor and is supposed to sign up as a sexual predator his entire life. We have followed his career online and he was already pulled into court once for not signing up. The scary thing is, he is not signed up now and nobody knows it. He is married now with two baby girls and it gives me the creeps just thinking about it (he has a Facebook). But we are afraid to tell the authorities that he is supposed to sign up as a predator and that we are afraid for his daughters because we think he may suspect us and we don't want him coming after us. He only lives a few hours away and we don't want to remind him of us.

    So, um, the answer is we were VERY relieved when he left. And I often post my story to remind people that not all kids can be saved. Some are so damaged before they are even in kindergarten that they are actually a danger to others. R. admitted, without much emotion, that he had been sexually acting out on children since he'd been at least five. He did not know why he did it and had no memory of being sexually abused himself, although it had obviously happened. He tried to perp while he was in a children's home for children who sexually perp, allegedly getting help. Some of the residents were afraid of him and he was caught on camera doing stuff to some of the boys.

    So what do I think after all this? Obviously, you have no idea how badly he was abused. He was probably sexually abused along his horrible path...I was told 90% of the foster children in the system suffered sexual abuse. Abusers can abuse. The cycle often repeats.

    Especially if there are other children in the house, I would not keep a dangerous child in my family. Maybe he would do better in a childless/animal free home...I can't say. Or maybe you can help him. I don't know that either. But I'd be VERY careful with 2, and I'd keep letting 2 sleep with you. And I sure wouldn't have any more babies with him around. (((Hugs again)))
  17. buddy

    buddy New Member

    This is often what happens with traditional family therapy or child therapists. It is a very specialized area and any book on reactive attachment disorder, adopting toddlers or older children, etc...when they discuss this subject they say that typical therapists can do more harm than good. Many of the books help you to know what to look for, One of the premiere therapy places we had in our metro area, who worked with many foster kids, said they had a lot of experience working with attachment. It became clear (and I gave it four sessions) quickly that they worked with traditional conduct disorder etc...at this time my son was THREE and had just had brain surgery! She wanted to play with him alone and then talk to me...he was non verbal! He didn't play back and forth play at all, only lined things up and I had read enough to know she had to work with OUR bond not getting his feelings out, uggg) I fired her.

    One thing that is warned is that all therapy be done with the family as a unit(except for very specific tasks when they have you leave and come back...), because a part of attachment disorder is that the child can triangulate and tell lies and pit adults against eachother. Yes there is a time and place for a child to be able to have traditional therapy but not while learning that YOU are the trusted one. One place I went to would not even let anyone else walk yoru child to the rest room, the child needed all comforting and directions given from the mom/dad. Remember, this is a survival thing for them, not a character flaw, they have had so many care takers that they have to learn to get what they can from each one in the only ways that have worked in the past. They don't get it that there is one primary person who is so committed and bonded to them and that person/or 2 parents, will protect and make sure everything is ok, that they will always be protected. That is just not how it was for them so they are not wired to act that way. For them, taking the risk of getting close to someone again means literally that their whole world could be destroyed again, that risk is simply too painful (assuming there was any small period of time as an infant they bonded with at least a mom, some kids didn't even get that). There are so many different levels and different degrees so i am just talking about what you are describing, the kind of situation with multiple disruptions and a lack of continual/consistent early bonding which is the time of life when our ability to trust/attach is developed. Broken bonds and attachment that happens later can cause terrible chaos and issues but it is not the same--the ability to trust is in there somewhere and can sometimes be recovered, but the early broken bonds are sometimes not able to fully be repaired...the child can be wired to not be able to attach to other people. This does not mean they will not have any kind of successful life, but it may look very different from a typical life that we dream of for our kids. Some kids do heal to a degree, some do well if they are never forced to have to attach or bond to someone so they actually do better in a residential setting where they are cared for and about but the pressure of the risk of rejection from a parent is not present. Sounds strange but it is true for a small number of people. Of course there are some who just do not at all care for others and may need high supervision for life. Some things you mention are a little different from many kids with the severe end of attachment disorder or could suggest other issues....like that he is more aggressive away from you than with you. The really scary kids in my humble opinion (and I'm just sharing from experience and other friends etc....)are those that are able to manipulate others into thinking they are amazing and sweet but then with the parent/s they have terrible behaviors. In front of others they may act all sweet to the parent/s. Some only do this to the mom and are sweet around the dad and sibs. Some are this way to the entire family at home, or to anyone vulnerable to them.
    But you are saying he is more violent away from home and you say you are "hard" I wonder if you mean you are structured and consistent? If he has a neurological disability that is contributing to this, consistency or clear rules even if they seem super strict may be comforting and helpful to his style of learning. Since you say any kind of change is hard, that is common in some neurological disabilities including fetal alcohol disorder, autism, etc...and some mental health diagnosis's like bi-polar and schizophrenia etc....(by the way, start a different thread about how to help with transitions and change, many of us go through that and we could all share ideas, maybe some would help, I can always use some new ideas for sure!)

    yeah, there is a lot going on, a lot to sort through and it could be a combination of things (that is what happened in my son's case) so if there is any way to see a more general specialist for assessment like a neuropsychologist then you may be able to get more support through your county etc. Once a child has a "label" you can sometimes get financial help and respite from the county. Given you did a foster adoption, you may be able to access post adoption services and finances. They do not want to have to pay for him to go back into care, it is cheaper for them to help get you services so go ahead and call, make suggestions about not being able to care for him without support, etc....they may step up! Our counties around here have disability units that will provide case management and help find funding for therapies etc. (this is not child protection)...we have separate mental health case management too. Lots of places around the usa have this, some areas do not. I'd certainly check just in case....(if you haven't that is)

    Do not worry that the past therapies said you were causing this, they were just not educated and many are not. Hang in there, do research about Attachment Disorder and other disabilities that you think might be a part of what is going on. (only specifically saying attachment disorder because of the history and symptoms, not because it IS that, we would have no way to know that or say that here....only you and a specialist can decide that)

    Well, this post might not make any sense because I have been interrupted at least six times, lol....I apologize if I repeated anything or didn't finish thoughts! I am sure you can relate....LOL
  18. StrengthInHim

    StrengthInHim New Member

    I am very excited. I just spoke with the only therapist in my area who specializes in attachment issues! She told me who to contact with the state to get funding for her therapy...they only pay 50% so we will have to pay at least 20$ a visit. She said some of what I've read on here. Starting out with the whole family, bonding the relationship between parents and child...the parent does the work with the tools she provides...And she's only 2 miles from us, what a blessing!! Thank you for all of your advice...a few days with you guys has been more productive than the last 2.5 yrs!:flirtysmile3:
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow! TERRIFIC! Sounds like you are on the right track for sure.
    I am very happy for you and excited that you are heading on an upward spiral!
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    SIH... Here's your first official "Warrior Mom" award.
    YOU started with your own gut feel, kept digging, kept trying to find answers and...
    A door has opened.

    It's not "the" answer, but probably part of the solution, and having something productive to work on is not just beneficial in the long term... it's one of the keys to "our" (parental) sanity!

    Hope the funding comes through!