New here and desperate for help...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by carolinablonde, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. carolinablonde

    carolinablonde New Member

    I'm so glad I found this site. I don't like that others have to go through what we do, but at least I know I'm not alone. I'll try to make a very long story short...

    I married the man of my dreams this past year. He used to be a foster parent and adopted a sibling group of 3. He also has 1 bio son that lives with his mom. I have two bio daughters that I share custody of. husband always had issues with one of the girls he adopted(I'll call her "C"). She would have "meltdowns" and there's no reasoning. She has no cause and effect. Over the summer her episodes became more and more frequent. In November we found out that her half brother(one that she was adopted with), had been sexually abusing her for years. Full intercourse. He would go and get her when everyone was asleep. Because she has a low IQ, this was considered a felony and he is now in therapeutic foster care. Since this all came out her fits have gotten even more frequent. She has been hospitalized 4 times since December 30. The longest was 11 days, the shortest was 6. She has medicaid because she was adopted out of foster and they will only pay for 10 days in the psychiatric hospital. During her fits she will destroy everything in her way. She will tear her room apart, punch holes in the wall, break down the door, etc. She threatens to hurt herself, she threatens to kill me, her dad, and most recently my 7 year old daughter. If there's a knife out from me cooking in the kitchen, she'll grab it and go after her dad. This last time she also threatened to kill the gerbil. She also runs away. She has run 4 times recently. She has no idea where she's going, she just goes. The last hospital she was at she told them that if the fences weren't up she would run away. They still discharged her that day. Her last situation was almost 2 weeks ago and she's been in the hospital since then(11 days). We have been working with a company that was supposed to do intensive in home therapy. With everything going on, they've decided that she needs to be in a long term residential facility. Our hope was that she would be discharged directly to the facility from the hospital. Well, we were told this morning that the hospital is discharging her and there's nothing we can do about it. Medicaid will not pay anymore because the doctor said she's stable enough to go home. We do not feel safe with her being here. My ex does not feel safe with my girls here. I don't feel safe with my girls being here. As of right now, "C" will be home this evening. They are trying to get her into the long term as fast as they can, but my fear is that she will not be accepted or that medicaid will deny her and then I don't know what we will do. It is really starting to effect the whole family.

    I suppose I should fill you in on her diagnosis's as well. She's recently been diagnosed with ODD, PTSD and cyclothemia. She also has possible Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). She is on lithium and geodon. Her birth mother also did drugs and used alcohol while she was pregnant. "C" was born premature and weighed less then 2 pounds. She was severly abused and neglected by her birth parents. They would lock her in the bathroom when she was 2 years old because they didn't know how to deal with her eating(she also has Pica). Then after they were adopted by my husband and his ex-wife, she started abusing "C". So, there is a long history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. "C" has no attachement to anyone.

    Anyway, I'm not sure where to go from here. Is there anything we can do other then wait for her to finally be placed in long term?

    I'm sure I've left alot out...but this is the situation in a nutshell.

    Please help...we are desperate...

    thanks so much in advance!
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Carolinablonde! I'm glad you found us but sorry that you are dealing with so much. You are in such a difficult situation. I know I wouldn't feel safe having her come home. Are you on good terms with your ex? Could he take the girls for awhile? I wish I had some suggestions for you on what to do in the meantime while waiting for an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I'm really hoping one opens up soon. Hugs.
  3. carolinablonde

    carolinablonde New Member

    Thank you. Yes, my ex and I are on good far as the kids go anyway. ;) We have them on a week on, week off schedule. So, I will have them for a full week and then he has them for the next full week. Although, because of his and his wifes work schedules, I frequently have them overnight a couple nights during his week. Of course, tonight and tomorrow night are those nights and then they come back with me on Friday for a week. I spoke with my ex and let him know what's going on. He said he felt comfortable with my plan for their safety and was ok with them being with me for the short term, but we left it up to the girls because they have stated that they are sometimes afraid when they are here. My oldest didn't want to come. She was very upset that C was coming home. They have a lot of conflicts so I expected that reaction. She also said she doesn't like to see C hurt me, and threaten to kill me, which is totally understandable. In the end she decided she would come, but only because they would get here after C would be in her room. Turns out, they are now not discharging her until the morning, but it will still be an issue for tomorrow night. She has an alarm on her door and it will be on. And, if I feel like it's been a bad day for C, I will have the girls sleep with me. husband works 3rd shift...

    My ex has had to take the girls when I've had to be at the ER with C. He has said that if I ever feel like they shouldn't be in the house that he doesn't have a problem with them staying with him.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I adopted an eleven year old boy who turned out to be a psychopath. He sexually abused all of my other children (they too were adopted) and the kids were too afraid of him to tell us (they were all much younger).

    As for C if she was exposed to drugs and alcohol and, on top of it, was neglected, I hate to be pessimistic, but it's a long, long, long, tiresome haul with usually poor results from all that I've seen in adoption land. These are not the same as healthy infant adoptions! She is likely to get even more dangerous and act out even more as s he gets older. medications are unlikely to help her that much. She was damaged way before husband got her...both physically through drug/alcohol exposure and emotionally due to severe abuse. Some kids can't be saved...sad but true, as we learned. In fact, some are harmful to other kids. And adults too!

    Wish I could give different advice, but I strongly, strongly, STRONGLY suggest you get your children out of there before it's too late. Welcome to the board and I'm sorry I couldn't be more optimistic.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    How old is C? I assume she's been tested for Prader-Willi. The pica has me concerned. Even if she doesn't have PWS formally, I'm wondering if she could have a problem with that part of her hypothalamus. It might take a functional MRI to find out.

    The tantrums since the disclosure - her emotions are probably all over the place. it would be logical for her to have a strong bond with her half-brother and to be blaming herself for his being in trouble. She could be fretting the change in her routine and his absence. Ooky, I know... but she may have a stronger attachment to her half-brother than anyone else and also possibly in her mind, the only way to form attachments is through sex.

    Sorry you need us. It sounds like your ex is a good dad.

  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'm glad you have a safety plan, but so sad for your family that it's needed. :( We do have members that have dealt with very similar issues as "C" has, you definitely are not alone. Can I ask, are you or your husband comfortable with refusing to take C home due to the potential harm to other children? Be warned, though, that you may be threatened with, or actually charged with, child abandonment.
  7. carolinablonde

    carolinablonde New Member

    C is 11. She came to husband as a foster child when she was 4. As far as refusing to take her home...We were told we can't leave her at the hospital because we'll end up with a huge medical bill. However, he is fully prepared to sign over his parental rights, even if it means being charged with neglect/abandonment. Our concern with that is we're not sure how it would affect things with the other kids. Would I also be charged? Would the other kids be taken as well? Even if he wants to do that, is it even possible? He loves her and wants to be part of her life, but we need to keep everyone safe and we don't know if this will ever get better. The lady who is helping with the long term placement is coming today, so I have a lot of questions to ask. If this is only going to be for a couple of days then we can handle it. If it's going to be longer then we need to figure out something else. Are there emergency options? The hospitals suggestions was for husband to get a hotel room with C. Yeah...we're just made of money...not to mention he works 3rd shift and no one would be there at night. Argh! Anyway, thank you for the replies and advice. We are willing to try/do anything at this point.
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Hi & welcome. Another adoptive parent with challenging children on her hands.

    First & foremost, the abandonment threat is "usually" an empty one. As for the other children if your state has the funds to take on the entire group of children it would be a first. Trying to find homes for that many troubled children would be more than many DFCS department can possibly handle. Vague, likely empty threat in my mind.

    If terminating parental rights will get C the help that is needed I'd go for it. Does your state have a TPR for good cause law in effect? You might end up paying some child support ~ again unlikely.

    I walked away from the hospital with-o my difficult child wm ~ the same threats hung over my head. In the long run, medical assistance paid for 6 weeks in patient & then transferred wm to a residential facility for treatment. My husband & I were on the edge & we couldn't have been pushed any further than we already were. Our fear of kt being picked up (another threat) was unfounded.

    Check in or work with a family law attorney.

    You will all have to be on the same page. Your difficult child is a hurt child ~ hurt before she was even born. This child deserves so much more & you & yours have done your best. in my humble opinion, it sounds like C needs to be in a home as the only or youngest child.

    Just some thoughts & experiences for you.
  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Something else I'd like to mention ~ my twins (boy & girl) were sexually abused; used in porn, etc. The sick symbiotic relationship C has with her half brother will be difficult to break. C will look to her brother for physical comfort even tho it's not the type of comfort you get from a brother.

    I say all this because kt & wm no longer live under the same roof for the same reasons I mentioned above. My twins are devastated/confusted & at have one of the most incredible love/hate relationships you'll ever see. It will take lots of time to correct that relationship. C really needs to be in a therapeutic setting with-o other children.

    None of this is her fault ~ it's just C's reality.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Thank you, Linda. I was hoping you would post here. You have such a strong personal insight into this.

  11. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    I too would say that the abandonment threat is likely to be an attempt to coerce you into taking her home and nothing more. We went through same thing with difficult child 1. What did happen was the fastest response we had seen to date in trying to coordinate efforts to set up a placement for him. As in 20+ people convened in one room about 3 days later to brain storm and agree to fund an out-of-home placement. We never paid a penny of the supposedly thousands that were due because our coverage had run out.

    I also would strongly recommend an out-of-area placement that is a therapeutic foster home where she is the only child coupled with an SED school placement in a very tiny SED school where she can get a lot of therapeutic attention.

    I would expect that she may never return to your home.

    If you do bring her home you need to get all the other kids out of there - send them to ex's, friends homes, extended family, whoever you trust to care for them for several days or longer. Be prepared to have a problem finding a place for the 3rd adopted sib in this process or to have that child act out in new/different ways.

    Then you need to strip the entire house and garage and yard of anything that can be used as a serious weapon. NO knives or regular scissors; no stick-like objects like painting sticks, bats, umbrellas; no curtain rods that are the solid metal kind; no easily picked up and thrown heavy statues or glass type objects; get rid of all plastic bags; no ropes or rope-like objects like belts. If you have blinds tie the strings up very, very high so they are not easily accessible. If you have something of value that is easily broken remove it to storage - TV's, computers for example. Install a deadbolt lock on your bedroom door and keep the key as well as a cell phone on your body at all times. If you have not already done so, today right now go and remove every single OTC and rx medication you have in the house and lock them up. We built and installed a padlocked medicine cupboard in our home and the kids have to ask for everything even benadryl and tylenol and vitamins.

    Plan to keep her in line of sight at all times. If there are obstacles to this, move furniture etc to enable you to see her and what she's doing. If you are going to be alone with her at night you may want to see if a male friend or relative can come and stay with you then. I would contact your local police station and talk to them about the situation so they are aware of the problem. Hopefully it will dramatically improve their response time when you call.

    Get the gerbil or any other pets out of your home too.

    Under no circumstances should she be left alone anywhere. I cannot emphasize that enough.

    Since she was victimized there may also be funds to help pay for treatment if your state has set up a fund for this and she qualifies. There would have to have been a police report filed - at the minimum. You could contact your local domestic violence program and ask if there's anything that they are aware of that might provide further assistance.

    You have my utmost sympathy. I second the person who said you have gone above and beyond for these children. Try not to feel guilty about an out-of-home placement. It is in her best interest in my opinion.

    Your responsibility now is to attempt (and I only say attempt) to ensure she gets an appropriate placement and that you PROTECT your other children and yourselves. You are no good to them dead or seriously hurt.

    If you have not already done so, I would immediately contact Child Protective Services and ask them for help. Given the in-home abuse I expect they are already involved. But if they are unaware of the new developments I would make sure that they are. You do not need to be accused of child abuse of any other children in the house because you are forced to bring her home.

    A family lawyer familiar with adoption law may be helpful to you in clarifying your legal options for abandonment or other legal remedies for returning her custody to the state.

    It's overwhelming and a nightmare I know. I also know that, if you take these precautions, you will live through it and one day it will be better/over.

    It is great that the relationships with other parents/ex's are positive. Call on those people to help you protect the other children.

    Remember to breathe and as long as she is out of your home spend extra time with the other children if you can. Play therapy for all is likely in order.


  12. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Oh yes - and be prepared for the sudden emergence of sexual advances/exposure to anyone/everyone including your other children, you and your husband, total strangers.
  13. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    The one thing I forgot to mention when things were at their worst here was the use of video cameras about my home. We had a monitor on my desk, husband's desk, in the kitchen & in our bedroom. The cameras were set up in kt & wm's bedrooms, the living room, the play room, the dining room ~ the only place that wasn't being monitored was the bathrooms.

    I did this with permission of our county workers, our mental health case manager, our risk management supervisor, our psychiatrist & our therapist. It was purely a safety precaution that, for a very short time, helped here in tweedleland.

    Something to consider.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    You've gotten some great insights and ideas here, especially from rls, Linda and Marg.
    That poor girl. She's going to have a rough life.
    Please, do not think you have to shoulder the entire burden. She has more going on than you can deal with by yourself. Do what you have to do.
    Many hugs.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am very sorry that she was hurt so badly, and that your other children have all had to deal with all of this also. Please make sure that all of the children get counselling. Be aware that the older child may have abused or tried to abuse other children in the home sexually. It may take months or years for them to feel comfortable telling you about this.

    If you give in to the threats of legal charges, financial expenses, removal of other children, it may take MUCH longer to get her into a residential placement. If nothing else, get children's services to say that it is unsafe to have her in the home with the other children - then you CANNOT bring her home. Do NOT tell them that the other kids can go to exes, friends, etc.....

    If C stays in the hospital, they will move heaven and earth to get her into a residential placement asap. If she comes home then clearly it is "safe" and "okay" for her to be at home and she really doesn't need residential asap or even right now - and if things get worse then they will re-admit her to the hospital and find a residential placement then.

    YES, this kind of lunacy CAN go on - and it does. We experienced it and many others here have also. In our case we wound up having to have the Sheriff come and take our son because he assaulted me. They wouldn't allow me to press charges and did all they could to talk me into letting him come back into the house - including threatening me with charges for not letting him come home. I held my ground because I knew that if he got me cowed he would go for his real target - my daughter.

    You have all the other kids to protect. They are NOT going to take all the other kids. If they cannot find a bed for ONE child (C), how are they going to find beds for your 2 children AND your husband's 2 children? Yeah, they cannot find a place for one child, so they are going to take 4 away and have to find beds for them? I seriously doubt it.

    These threats are made every time a parent tries to push for residential placement for a child. In the years I have been here I have yet to hear a parent who wasn't threatened with this. OF the parents who refused to take the child home because it would endanger the other children in the family, I haven't seen them go through with what they threaten. It could happen, but I don't think it is very likely.

    I do urge you to get an attorney to help with this though. You do have to protect the other children AND yourself and husband.

    TimerLady, rlsnights, JJJ and Marg have great insight in this situation. I hope that our advice is helpful. Please know that you are in all our thoughts and prayers - the whole family is. Please keep us informed as to how things are going - we will help as we can!
  16. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Are you in the Carolinas right now ?

    I live in SC - wondering if you are in my area...
  17. carolinablonde

    carolinablonde New Member

    Thank you all for the amazing responses. I appreciate so much the time that you took to help us. C did end up coming home Wednesday evening. We took many precautions to make sure everyone was safe. Of course, she was perfect the first day. Tonight my daughter had soccer practice and we all went. C got wound up and that's usually when she ends up having issues. We had dinner when we got home and she was told that after dinner she needed to take some quiet time in her room to settle down. She was ok with that. We told her she needed to take her medications. She got upset about something (I don't even know what it was) and said she wasn't going to take them. She threatened to run and husband had to restrain her. She was hitting him, trying to headbutt him in the face..etc...We asked her again to take her medications. She refused. This went on for awhile. She then said if he would let her go she would take the medications and go to her room. Stupidly, we believed her. She stood up, took the medications and bolted out the door. We called the police immediately. 5 cop cars and a search dog later, she was found 2 miles away. The officer had told husband to go to the magistrate and get an order for involuntary committment. He was on his way to do that when they found her. So, he came back, picked her up and they are now back at the hospital. The officer that helped us works there off duty, so he gave husband his card in case they need to talk to him. The hospital that we take her to does not have a child psychiatric unit so they sometimes try to just send her home. So, she made it 48 hours. I am home with the other 3 girls and husband is missing work...again. So, that's where things are right now. At least she'll be back in the hospital(hopefully), and we'll have some more time to get things set up in residential for her. Thanks again everyone!
  18. carolinablonde

    carolinablonde New Member

    Yes, I'm in North Carolina though. In the Charlotte area. :)
  19. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Is it an option to transfer her to a facility with a child unit? Even if it means she's in one out of the area it would be much more appropriate. I can understand better why they keep trying to send her home if she's on an adult ward.

    I can't believe Charlotte doesn't have any child psychiatric units.

    Hope they're willing to take her again.

  20. Jena

    Jena New Member


    welcome!! sorry you had to find us yet you are in a good place. i have no adoptive children, and you have gotten great info from the members here which have walked and survived a similar path.

    I will say though I once worked with a child who was also adopted for about 9 mos. in home theraputic care, he too was sexually abused and also physically and emotionally abused on levels i could not even begin to share. it would sicken many here. his story has remained fresh in my mind since the day i met him. with intensive in home therapy, a group of people working with the parents, him and siblings he was able to not only heal from his horrid and devastating abuse yet he was able to in time begin to heal, want a happy life for himself and realize he deserved good.

    he was in the program a total of 3 years and in the end graduated high school, they wanted to bounce him out due to a few rough situations along the way with various teachers nothing too traumatic yet once i at a cse mtg. explained the road he's walked the horrors he'd seen and told them you must give this kid a chance they did and he met the challenge.

    dont' be so quick to assume the worst. i do not think she will have a horrible life. healing does come with hard work and yes medications will be necessary for her obviously. yet placing her in residential may not be the best answer only you know best. you may not think that right now yet in time the answers will come to you.

    i wish you luck, you are a great parent, and yes have taken on alot yet you sound as though you are ready for the challenge.