New here. Need to vent, and looking for support.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Tiffanyann, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Tiffanyann

    Tiffanyann Guest

    I am so relieved that I found this site tonight. I am feeling at the end of my rope with my 4 year old foster child. I have been reading many of the posts, and am glad to see that I am not alone in my struggles, but lately I feel so alone. I am a professional, and have worked with many special needs kids. When I decided to take on foster children (as a single, working mother) I didn't intend to take special needs children, knowing that I may not be able to provide the amount of support they need. My new foster children came to me before I was aware of the older girls' issues. I don't want to give up on them, I really love both of them, but I am finding it harder and harder to "like" A. She has been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), and for a 4 year old, she really knows how to control her world. Tonight just before I got on here I tried to go to a christmas party with the kids, hoping to be able to relax and enjoy the night a bit. Of course, she would not listen to the teenage girls who had been put in charge of the children, and, long story short, we had to leave early in a mad tantrum, fitful rage because she had been being mean to the other kids. At other times, she can be so sweet and charming. I just don't know what to do with her when she is like this.

    I see the liink about the book everyone is recommending, and will take a look at it soon. I have also been reading many many other books on dealing with kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), and she has made progress. It's just hard feeling so alone, and I didn't expect to feel this "grief" reaction that I have noticed since learning that she has Reactive Attachment Disorder. I know it isn't necessarily a death sentence, but it does mean many challenging times ahead. And, ultimately I don't know the end of the story here. I guess for now, I just need to vent, and to think about how to provide her the love and support she needs to grow up to be a successful person. Thanks for listening!
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Hello and welcome.

    My difficult child was diagnosed with disordered attachment as well, and while i don't know that Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is really an accurate diagnosis for him, he does fit the criteria for the diagnosis and display many of the symptoms. it was a blow to me, as well.

    one thing to keep in mind is that this is a one day at a time journey. even if your child didn't have a diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), you don't know what tomorrow brings. kudos to you for taking on some girls that obviously need someone. the road is not easy, but i hope you can find it in your heart to continue.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Just because she's a foster, don't assume it's Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). It could also be Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). You would need subtly different approaches. Or it could be a combination. But sometimes very similar symptoms, especially the need to control their environment, can be seen.

    An anecdote told at our church from when easy child 2/difficult child 2 was 4 years old - the children were all in one room doing an activity under adult supervision. easy child 2/difficult child 2 emerged, face like a thundercloud. She came outside, sat on the edge of the veranda with her chin in her hands and scowled at anyone who came near. A few minutes later the adult who had been in charge of the kids came out. My friend asked her, "What's up with easy child 2/difficult child 2?"
    "We didn't all want to do what SHE wanted to do," explained the person supervising. "And I wouldn't make them do what she wanted either."

    One very determined, but thwarted, kid.

    And there's no Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) at all in her. But there are a lot of other problems. But at 4, she just seemed to be a highly capable but very headstrong and at times confrontational child.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Tiffany, hi there a nd welcome to the board.

    Every foster child (we did foster care) has special needs. Almost all have serious behavioral problems and attachment issues are the rule of the day due to their early lack of bonding and mistreatment by adults. Most have lived in abusive situations where they were physically or sexually abused, severely neglected, and thrown around from one person to another. This is horrible for a developing child. They need to trust ONE caregiver who loves them or they do tend to believe that "Nobody else will look after me. I'd better look after me and the heck with everyone else."

    Foster care is not for the faint of heart nor will you often get a sweet child who adores you for helping her out...they are usually hostile with tons of severe issues. If you want to make it easier on yourself, take in infants. They have issues too, but they are too young to, say, hit you or swear at you. I'm older now and am thinking of doing foster care again. Trust me, it will be infants only. It sounds like you are committed to these children. Expect a long and rocky road and a lot of "iffy" diagnoses. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) usually goes along with other issues, such as fetal alcohol spectrum (hard to diagnose), sexual abuse issues, and the normal disorders such as ADHD and autistic spectrum and maybe a mood disorder. You need a great psychiatrist who will help you figure out your kids. Even a great psychiatrist will probably be baffled. These foster care kids are very puzzling due to the other factors such as drug and alcohol exposure in utero, physical and sexual abuse, and many caregivers or one caregiver who is abusive.

    These kids often do not respond to regular parenting or common sense. They are simply too damaged. Some have organic brain damage due to birthmother's alcohol/drug abuse while pregnant. I have a friend who had a two year old who killed her chickens. This isn't that unusual. We had a foster child whom we actually adopted because he acted so "good" to us. He killed two of our dogs and sexually abused my youngest two kids. We had another child who had been sexually abused for three years in his prior foster home and had not told anybody about it until he told us. He didn't believe anyone would help him. He wet the bed every single night, a symptom of abuse.

    I also went into foster care thinking, "I'll help an older child. They'll be easier." Haha. Not true. Whatever is wrong with your foster daughter, it is not likely to go away, especially if you have to work full time too and she is not with you all the time. We adopted one child out of foster care. He is on the autism spectrum due to his birthmother's drug/alcohol use in utero. His early years were full of severe behavioral issues. Although he outgrew them with a lot of work, he is 17 now and will need some assisted living probably his entire life.

    Foster care is a jungle. It can be rewarding, but it's NOT in any way easy. Moreso, that you are doing it alone. Kudos to you. I could not have done it alone!

    I hope you join a group of other foster parents for real life support. It is very helpful to get their feedback. It isn't he same as talking to mothers who have had their children from birth. Even if they have problems, at least they have been well cared for. In a foster care group, most of the parents are dealing with various degrees of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and they can share their methods and their professionals. Unfortunately, the state rarely gives you the option of the best doctors. (((Hugs))).
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010