My Intro


Well-Known Member
I just wanted to introduce myself. I've been spending a great deal of time on this forum this week. I had to take off work because we're having carpet put down. I found this forum because my son is approaching adolescence, and I wanted to see what challenges might be coming my way.

We adopted our 12-year old son ten years ago. He was born addicted to cocaine. His mom was a prostitute who did the right thing and turned him over to his grandmother when he was born. She is now deceased. The mother realizes she can't take care of him and signed away her parental rights when he was two, which is when we adopted him.

He has severe a severe anxiety disorder with depression and mild ADHD. He has to take medications for the panic attacks, but not for the ADHD. I posted this in the Substance Abuse forum because I think his problems are the result of being born addicted to crack. It took about four years before we found what worked for him. His grandma did an amazing job with him, and we are reaping the benefits of her work and love. Our son focuses well on his schoolwork, but his ADHD makes him very hyper. I have never taught Special Education, but I am a teacher, so I have been able to use some of the techniques I use on my hyper and more "excitable and overly-sociable" students. When our son is bored he gets trapped in his head, thinks too much, and is paralyzed with anxiety and panic attacks. We keep him involved with a lot of activities, such as swimming, hockey, and volunteering at the animal shelter. We also encourage him to help other kids with their homework. If he is kept busy, he doesn't have time to get bored. When he's bored, his behavior is out of control.

I realize our approach may have to change as he grows older. For about six years everything has been easy. It's exhausting for us to constantly make sure he is entertained and busy. But, if we let him watch TV and get bored, he gets nervous and depressed and goes into a nuclear meltdown. The best form of discipline for him is simply asking him why he did or said that, how did it make others feel, etc. If he understands the seriousness and genuinely feels badly about it, we don't punish him. But, if he does it again or just doesn't get it, we make him clean house. We've always made him volunteer and taken him to homeless shelters, etc. so he develops empathy for others.

We let him know that he was adopted when we first got him at age two, and when he was older, helped him understand what crack is and why he was born addicted to it, etc. We've made it very clear to him what could happen if he ever picks up a drug, or even alcohol. He is at high-risk for becoming addicted because of being in his mother's womb while she used crack. We've taught him not to blame his mother. She had a major problem she didn't know how to control. Crack took over her body, mind, and life, so much so that she felt forced to prostitute herself. It is an addiction she feels she cannot overcome. I try to make him understand that his mom didn't chose drugs over him. She loved him, but didn't have the skills to stop using drugs. It's not as simple as just stopping the drug use.
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Active Member
First of all, how do you make somebody volunteer? That is the exact opposite of volunteering...

Predisposition to addiction is hereditary. Not every offspring of a drug addict will become a drug addict, and not every drug addict has drug addicted parents.

My mother was addicted to crystal meth, and my father was a violent drunk. But as bad as my mom was, I always knew that she loved me as much as she possibly could. It was important for me to realize and understand that. I would feel less loved, and wonder if it was me. Horrible thing to feel, so I think it is important that you explain to him the effects of long term drug abuse. And that her faults weren't on him, but on a very viscous disease she struggled with for a long time.


Well-Known Member
Wow. The similarities here are incredible.

We adopted one of our precious boys at age two. He had crack in his system and also had syphilis. His birthmom lived in a horrific, depressed part of Chicago where there are no jobs and drug addicts have any money around. He was her fifth child and grandma had the other four, all drug exposed, but was also poor and stressed and did not want another child. So fortinately Sonic came to us after being in a very loving medical foster home first
See, he needed open heart surgery when he was an infant.

He was wild and screamed a lot as an infant and long story short is we knew he had autism and maybe alcohol effects. These were not diagnosed But we especially thought he had autistic traits.

But we loved him and he was a fighter with a tender heart and tried so hard. He got help all along, made tremendous strides, is an independent young man of 23 who works hard and is very beloved by all. He does get social security, but lives basically a full life with his own place and two part time jobs...and he wont drink or touch drugs. He has one very close friend, he bowls and plays softball and is a cook and also works at Game Stop.

Sonic has almost no interest in his birth family. When it comes up, which is very rare, we tell him she must have been a wonderful person with a good heart, but she was too sick with addiction to raise a child. When asked if he wanted to meet his siblings he said no. When asked again later he said no again.He is a happy young man and does not appear upset at being adopted.

He was really a well behaved loving little boy and teen and likes his life. He does have high functioning autism, but no signs of alcohol effects. He is one of my four children. Three were adopted and he is the sweetest of all my kids.

My other kids do not have special needs. My oldest child and biological son is my biggest problem. Go figure. He is NOT sweet OR happy.

Nice to have you here.
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100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Welcome Crayola

I do not have any experience with this but just wanted to say that your son is very lucky to have such loving and caring parents!


Well-Known Member
Welcome Crayola. I think you are doing an amazing job in channeling your son into all the right activities. You hit on so many issues that are important, keeping him active in healthy activities and sports, involving him in volunteer activities, allowing him to develop empathy for others.

We adopted out daughter also. Her birthmother is an alcoholic. We were open with her from the beginning about being adopted and her bm's history. We hoped that would stop her from going down the same path. We too involved her in many many activities and did all of the things we thought would change the outcome of her inherited traits. Unfortunately she is now 25 and an alcoholic. We had adoption issues as she went through her teens and up until a couple years ago. She was in an addiction treatment facility for several months in her late teens. She is doing much better now and holds a job but I am afraid her drinking will always be an issue. We have been through a lot with her over the years but things are so much better now that she is on her own. We have a good relationship with her, we just couldn't overcome the addiction gene she was born with. I do believe with all my heart though that she is so much better off than if her bm had not realized she could not care for her.

I wish you a lot of luck. Your son is so lucky to have you. There may be times in the coming years that challenge you deeply but you sound like you can handle it.

Sister's Keeper

Active Member
Hey Crayola,

I have adopted my sister's 3 kids. The youngest of which was born addicted. (heroin) She has developmental delays, but no real behavior problems.

We have always tried to be honest with them about their mother's addiction. We have approached it from the position that the drugs affect her brain and make her sick, so, sometimes she does things that aren't right (she is in prison) and that because she is sick she can't take care of them.

Although my sister has prostituted herself, we have decided not to broach that subject. She is presently in prison for multiple shoplifting and parole/probation violations. She hasn't had any prostitution charges or convictions (oddly enough no drug charges or convictions either, go figure) so we have decided that the prostitution thing is information they just don't need to have.


Well-Known Member
I think you are doing everything right. Textbook right. Every single thing you are telling him, sounds perfect. I was told to tell my son the truth about his background, as he would be able to understand it.
We adopted our 12-year old son ten years ago.
We have very much in common. My son was taken from his birth mother's care because of the potential for abuse. He was 2 weeks old. I met him at 22 months and had adopted him legally when he was 2 and a half. His mother used multiple drugs. She had already had many other children, and my son's birth grandmother raised as many as she could. My son went to a crisis nursery.
He has severe a severe anxiety disorder with depression and mild ADHD
My son, early on, had anxiety and ADHD. He had language delays, too. He had intensive intervention and pretty much always had an IEP, eventually ending up in non-public school, largely because of the anxiety.

We had no problems interpersonally beyond the normal. We have been extremely close. But when my son turned 15 or so we began to have more conflict. Which would be normal, but I am a single mother.
He has never been arrested. He is compassionate, to a fault. He does not look to get into trouble.

But I would be lying if I said the last 12 years have not been hard. He just turned 28. My son's depression and anger began in late teens, and he is little by little getting a handle on it. He did end up going on SSI a few years ago. Working for him in a regular job proved too stressful. For the past 10 months he has been working for us, remodeling houses, with my Significant Other.

When my son was 19 we discovered he had been born with Hep B. I think this was the factor that really pushed my son into mental illness. He felt an intense rage at his birth parents who he felt had made him toxic, damaged. Whose behavior had made him defective. When his liver conditioned worsened is when he seemed to be unable to fight to have a normal life.

Little by little he is trying to turn this around. I despair a lot. But I do think he is incrementally gaining a little motivation.

Our story serves as proof positive that telling the truth when they are able to understand it, has merit. Many, many times I doubted myself, especially when it caused him such distress about his identity, indeed, his very being. But then if I had concealed the basic facts, how could we have explained the Hep B diagnosis?

At the end of the day I believe that every person deserves to know who they are. So that they can make sense of it. Actually, I believe that is really a fundamental purpose of our lives. This has been very helpful for me to write this post. I have found some peace.

Take care.