My only son.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Mom, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. Mom

    Mom New Member

    We adopted our son when he was 6. As a teacher I could tell he was ADHD, but PTSD, and Reactive Attachment Disorder were added within a year. We had had 2 therapists, one in-home and one who did play therapy. We switched to an attachment therapist and saw a little improvement. The biggest issue we noticed was that he didn't learn from his mistakes and his memory was very poor. He started medications for ADHD in 3rd grade. His behavior in school and grades were vastly improved. We felt like we had won the lottery. At home though he still had frequent angry outbursts. He became very successful in sports and though he was still awful at home and lied frequently, we figured he had a bright future. Did I mention he has a genius IQ? He peaked in 6th grade. By junior high he was smoking cigars, weed, and drinking. By 8th grade he had branched out into designer drugs. He went through 2 anger management programs, 2 therapists, and 2 different psychiatrists. Mind you through all this he was going to church with us, fun summer camps, vacations, outings, drum lessons, skateboarding. However, his grades were in the toilet and he was getting suspended a lot for fighting and disrespecting teachers. 9th grade began with him skipping school and breaking the law. He and/or his friends stole thousands of dollars of the jewelery I had inherited from my mother and grandmother. Joseph has large families on both sides, but they have no tolerance for criminals. His older sisters really tried with him, but he had become so abusive with me they were furious with him. When he began stealing cars, Department of Juvenile Justice sent him to a program for 9 months. We were so hopeful that during this time away he had figured things out. I wrote to him several times a week, and his dad and I visited every other week. He did really well in the program and even made up for the grades he failed. We enrolled him in a new school for a fresh start even though we had to drive him. His grades were great! Then we found out he was back using, stealing cars, and had added stealing credit cards to his repertoire! During HS we kept trying. 2 more therapists, different medications, behavior plans, you name it, we tried it! We had installed a $1500 alarm system to keep him in. He jimmied it and began sneaking his delinquent friends in at night. Even though I had pleaded with a judge to allow him home for Christmas on an ankle moniter, he was having his drugs delivered! He has now threatened to kill both me and my husband. When he was taken into custody this last round, the judge just continued his probation. I am afraid to have him home. I can't stand the verbal abuse, having to lock up everything, etc. I told my husband that if Joseph comes home I have to move out. We made the decision to not pick him up and now we are being charged with abandonment. Needless to say my husband and I are devastated. Florida Mom
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Mom to our little corner of the world.

    It sounds like you have been through the wringer! It absolutely does not sound safe to have him at home! How old is he right now? I wish I had some great advice for you but I have not been in your situation. Know that you have found a safe place to be here and will receive great support from others. Sending gentle hugs your way.
  3. Mom

    Mom New Member

    Thank you. He is 17. While it's nice to know I'm not crazy, especially about the missing items I've read about in other posts, I'm sad to know there ate so many of these children out there.
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  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Mom.
    You have certainly done all the things that great parents do, and then some. And you even knew what you were getting into.
    You are well aware that PTSD and attachment disorder are extremely difficult to treat, much less "cure."
    Unless he gets 24/7 intensive therapy right now, and gets off of his street drugs, I'd say that his days are numbered. I would lock him out, too.
    Tough Love and all that.
    Check with a lawyer to find out how to go about doing it so that you do not get charged with abandonment. Be sure to document every time your son threatens you, verbally or physically. Take pictures, record phone calls, all that. (Just do it but don't tell him you're doing it or he will blow up.)
    You may be stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    If the law says you will be charged with-abandonment, you could have him move back in for oh, 20 minutes until he steals something, call the police, and have him locked up again. Then do it the next time he's released. Keep doing it until he's 18. Then you can change the locks.
    But he'll come back even after they've been changed.
    A lot of headaches to get around an under-18 abandonment charge, but I can't think up anything else.
    As long as he's not consistently taking his medications, and he is using street drugs, you basically have a mean, lying stranger living at your house. I say that because you said that when he was in the 9-month program, for example, he cleaned up his grades and did very well with structure.
    But the draw of these "friends" is strong.
    Is there any way to get him into a program that is really far away, in another state, where he cannot go back to his user-friends? They are extremely expensive. But so is having all or your jewelry stolen.
    You know by now, that you can't claim it on your insurance, because he is a family member under 18, covered under the same homeowner's plan, and you can't steal from yourself. been there done that. :(
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have adopted several kids. My baby adoptions worked out so well. My older kid adoptions did not. One left the family entirely when he grew up. The other only lasted three years in our home because of his extreme physical, emotional and sexual abuse to our youngest two kids who were too afraid of him to tell us about it. It's actually a long story, but irrelevant to your post.

    The truth is, when we adopt older children who were maybe not cared for well in the womb and/or drug exposed before birth, then abused by bio. mom, then past from foster to foster, the children lose their ability to love and attach and if we try to love them they get angry and defiant and scared and act out. Many end up in jail (I think 80% of all in jail spent some time in foster care) and they do not develop normally. Since most therapists and even psychiatrists are not t hat well schooled about reactive attachment disorder, our troubled older adopted kids (and six is older) get diagnosed with all sorts of things except the core issue. I was told my one child's worker that 99% of kids in foster care have been sexually abused at some time before coming to us, which was certainly the case with one of our adopted older kids. He didn't remember it, but since he did it to the younger kids, and a lot, he obviously had experienced it but forgotten it.

    It is common for older adopted children to act out criminally. We can not love their past away. Their brains develop quickly within the first three years and we aren't there to nurture them and give them a consistent caregiver. It's sad, but it seems to be the norm, at least in the adoptive parent group I've been in for over twenty years (my youngest adopted kid is now eighteen).Don't discount heredity either. Many adoptive moms were stunned when they finally met their children's birthparents...they swear, almost to a person, that the child they raised is more like the birthfamily they never even saw. Also, if bio. mom drank or used drugs during her pregnancy, that affects behavior too. It can cause varying degrees of brain damage and behavioral problems abound.

    Since he is seventeen you may still be able to get him into a program and I hope it helps him. If it doesn't, just remember...none of this is your fault. It was going to be this way because he was so damaged before you ever got to show him about love, and by the time you did, he no longer trusted anybody.

    As you try to heal your son, also be good to YOU and go on with your life. Your misery will not help your son and you deserve a good, happy life even if you beloved child is not doing well. You child sounds as dangerous as ours was...he probably should never live with you again. We frankly told CPS to take our dangerous child...he had sexually abused our two younger ones...we couldn't even look at him. We were done. We have never felt badly about that decision. He killed our dogs too and set little fires in front of the younger kids and told them he was the Devil and he'd burn the house down with all of us in it if they ever told "Mom" or "Dad" about what he does. We dissolved the adoption.

    I am sorry you had to join us and hugs for your hurting heart.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Mom. I am so sorry you are going through this with your son. I know how devastating it is when our kids go off the rails. You have done everything possible to help your son, I doubt there is more you can do. I am not sure what the legal ramifications of abandonment are. It does seem prudent to get yourself an attorney, I believe abandonment laws differ in each state, in some it is a misdemeanor in others a felony, so it would be important to figure out what you are dealing with.

    Your son sounds incorrigible, I really have no advice as to what you can do for him, this is not an area I know much about because your son is still a minor. What I do know is now much this impacts us, the parents. It is depleting, devastating, exhausting and filled with grief. You may try contacting NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They have chapters in many major cities and they offer excellent parent courses and support for parents. At this stage of the game, I am sure you and your husband need a lot of support. You can access them on line. You may want to read the article at the bottom of my post here, although it isn't particularly geared to your situation, it has some good points.

    You may also want to post your story in General Parenting and Substance Abuse so that the folks there can offer you some support. They may have more practical advice for you. If you add a signature at the bottom of your post we can identify you and recall your story.......go up to your screen name, click on it and click on signature, write it and save it.

    We're not experts here, we're parents, all of us in various stages of detaching from our kids on this forum which is for older kids, and in the other forums the parents are figuring out how to deal with their kids.........most of our kids have a conduct disorder, or mental illness, or substance abuse issues. or some issue which prevents them from being "typical"....... We post for support and to offer support. Read through some of the older posts in the different forums, you'll be able to identify similar issues.........and not feel alone. Take what you need and want and leave the rest. I hope you find solace and comfort here. I'm glad you found us. Keep posting, it helps.
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  7. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Have you explained that your son has threatened to kill your family?
  8. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Welcome!!!! I hope that you find some comfort by coming here.
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    NAMI would be a good source of support for your family, and of general information regarding coping with a child with your son's problems and diagnoses. I have emailed N A M I in the past with questions pertinent to my own situation, and have received excellent, well researched, and timely response.

    As you explore the N A M I site, you will find numbers and addresses for support groups in your area. Coming face to face with other parents suffering the same kinds of fear and disappointment in a safe environment will be strengthening for you.

    I am so sorry this is happening. You have displayed courage in facing your son's issues head on.

    None of this is easy.

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  10. Mom

    Mom New Member

    Thank you for your kind words. I am just now exploring NAMI site. We have our arraignment in March and have hired an attorney. What makes it incredible is that he has "charmed" the post-adoption advocate. He lies very convincingly.
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  11. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Ugh. How scary. I agree with MWM, you have done all you possibly could do. Now it is about keeping yourself safe, and letting him turn 18, and detaching as much as you can. I have a friend with a son like this..she has two bio kids, and three fostered-then-adopted. All three had very hard rows to hoe, but the oldest was truly a sociopath, and in the end, after therapy, jail, therapeutic boarding school, and sleeping with the bedroom doors locked, he has gone his way... She only hears from him once a year or so. I know it broke her heart, but she and the rest of the family are better now. Not everyone or everything is fixable.

    I am very very sorry, Mom. We are here to listen and support you.

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  12. Mom

    Mom New Member

    Thanks. When people judge us, I tell them to walk a mile in my shoes!
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  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome Mom. I'm so sorry you are going through all of this.
    I can relate to much of what you said. First and foremost is your safety. If he is threatening to kill you then he should not be in your home.
    That is just crazy that you are being charged with abandoment. I do hope that you have kept good records of everything that has happened. One thing I learned is to make sure you document everything!! I would like to think you could explain to a judge that he has made threats to kill you. That alone screams that it is not safe to have him in your home.
    When does he turn 18?
    ((HUGS)) to you............
  14. Mom

    Mom New Member

    He doesn't turn 18 till Dec. While I didn't document daily stuff, he has an extensive record of domestic violence.
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    When difficult child daughter turned 16, social services in our area declared her "emancipated." The social worker spoke to husband about it, not to me. She told husband that she recommended he allow the emancipation for the sake of our family. husband then talked to me, and we went ahead and allowed her to be emancipated.

    This meant that we were not legally responsible for her after the age of 16. I think it may have meant that we were not responsible for housing her, either. That was never an issue though, as difficult child daughter was always running away and living with really bad people in the heart of the worst part of the city.

    They were the same people she sought out when she (PTSD blank) when what happened three years ago (when she was in her late thirties) began to happen.

    Have you spoken with a social worker in your area regarding emancipation for your son?

  16. Mom

    Mom New Member

  17. Mom

    Mom New Member

    Bless you! You understand! His adoption advocate is clueless. People think Radishes are only found in foreign orphanages. Our adopted son had been neglected and abused by his birth mother & her boyfriend. His birth father died of a drug overdose. He did spend sime time in a very nice group home, but several of the foster homes were not so great. Plus he visited birth mom until her rights were terminated when he was 4. This is not the life I had wanted to share with him. Drug addicts and criminals should not have children.
  18. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Since he has had domestic violence issues - get copies of the police calls and/or charges and have them ready for your court date. I am sure your lawyer will make sure that your son is forever barred from your home.
  19. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I agree with 2M2R. Get copies of all the police reports and charges filed against him. The better prepared you are the better your chances of the judge finding in your favor.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hon, my experience as one who adopted overseas, from foster care, and privately once is that social workers do understand the problems we have with adopting older children who have been in our horrible foster care system, and often abused there since there is really very little oversight. They just don't tell eager-to-love prospective adoptive parents because they need to get a certain number of children in adoptive homes...and once they are there, you can kiss their interest good-bye. There is really no difference in behavior between kids from overseas who lived in an orphanage and got no love or attention a nd kids who lived in three different foster homes and got no love and attention...or worse fell in love with a foster family, then were forced to leave...for no logical reason. I've done foster care. I quit. It is not for the child at all. Also, kids from both orphanages and in foster care have a high likelihood of having been exposed to substances pre-birth, which causes brain differences or actual damage.

    I feel sorry for those who adopted especially from Russia. All that money, mostly because the kids are Caucasian (I calls it like I sees it) and t hey have not done well here, many having fetal alcohol syndrome. Of course, as always, there are the wonderful exceptions to the rules. Usually, though, infant adoption is by far more bonding than adopting a child whose brain is already developed. And I have the battlescars to prove it.

    The child I adopted from foster care, who actually is very sweet and loving, was his birthmother's fifth child. The grandmother had custody of the others, but said she could not take another child since the last one wasn't much older than my son. It was lucky for y son th at he was able to come here and get the help he needed as he was delayed and has high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). He had cocaine in his system at birth, had syphilis (treated) and open hert valve surgery at a few months old (luckily very successful). He was two when we got him, but had only been in one foster home and very loved and it showed. His birthmother walked out of the hospital as soon as she gave birth to much for her. She probably kept having kids. I have my own opinions on that. I think you know them.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015