New Here... we're in over our heads!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by kbeth81, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. kbeth81

    kbeth81 New Member

    I just found this forum and I'm very happy I did! We have legal custody of an 11 year old who is in 4th grade. He is not related to either of us, but we know his mother and we offered to take him about 10 months ago. She happily signed the custody papers without reading them... and here we are.

    We originally thought he was just neglected and needed a lot of love and help in school. Boy were we wrong! We had him evaluated by a psychologist. He has Reactive attachment disorder, Oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, on the edge of post traumatic stress disorder, many learning disabilities, possible fetal alcohol exposure, possible fetal crack/cocaine exposure, and failure to thrive. The poor thing is a mess. We had been doing pretty well until this month. We have taken him to the emergency psychiatric ward, he has been in trouble at school every day, he is about to get kicked out of after school care, and every single night is a huge fight. Screaming, throwing, destroying temper tantrum. We feel like we are going to lose it!

    He starts counseling in a week. He is on Adderall and zoloft, but it really doesn't seem to make a difference. I'm thinking that he needs to be on an atypical antipsychotic.

    Anyways, I just wanted to introduce myself. Hopefully I can find time to post and get more answers. I hope to get to know you all!

  2. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    Welcome to the site, your difficult child(gift from God) has a similar background as my Major. I would be cautious with the effects of the antidepressant and the stimulants, sometimes they can greatly increase the problems. If you see things getting worse I would call the psychiatrist very quickly. But they all are individuals and can respond differently, I hope it works out for your family...but I think alot of drug/alcohol addicts are trying to self medicate their own mental health problems and if your difficult child has inherited them, the medications he is taking can cause problems, so keep your radar up.
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, kbeth81!
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Welcome to the gang! It's a great group with a lot of experience!

    Does he have an IEP at school? If so, it may need to be updated since you've found out so many different things with his various diagnosis's. They can't just "kick him out" if he's got an IEP.

    Can't talk much right now, difficult child 1 is melting down (again!) and I've gotta go break it up!

    Again, welcome!

  5. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    Wow...first of all I want to say how very special you are to step up & welcome a child in to your home that you saw needed help. Welcome. This is a wonderful place. I must agree with checking with the psychiatrist about the medications....sometimes that mix doesn't work in the right direction. Well, at least it didn't here with my difficult child at all......went downhill.
  6. kbeth81

    kbeth81 New Member

    Thanks for the warm welcomes! He does have an IEP at school. I think we are going to try to get him into a school that is specifically for children with emotional and behavioral problems. His school is already bending over backwards to accommodate him and it's still not working! He needs someone to tell him what to do at every single second. It's very frustrating for them.

    He's been on these two medications for about 3 months now. His current doctor says that they're not right if we're not seeing immediate results. I think he's worse. It's so bad that we are thinking about a residential treatment center. We both feel like we don't have a relationship or a life and it's hurting us quite a bit. The hardest part about it is that we love him so much and the more love we show him, the more he pushes against us. It's very frustrating and hurtful. I've decided to stop thinking of him as my son, but as a job. It seems worse when I get too emotional about it.

    The other issue is that soon we want to either have a baby or adopt another child. But at this point we don't even think that's going to be possible.

  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Kari,
    What an angel you are to come into this child's life!
    And what a great job you've done so far with-doctors and dxes.

    Sounds like he needs diff medications for sure.
    It's a trial and error process.

    I don't know how many other people (or even animals) are in your household, but taking in your new child certainly shakes up the dynamics. You will have to set down rules and create a lot of structure.

    Have you read The Explosive Child by Ross Greene?
    What seems to set him off the most?

    Don't forget to make time for yourself.
  8. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    Welcome Kari! You've found an awesome place for info and feedback
  9. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    First, welcome! You certainly took on a load and a half. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is nasty. When you add Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) into the mix, it goes beyond nasty. I wish I had something encouraging to say but I don't. Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)/Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is organic. There are no medications to help per se. Ditto Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) requires major behavorial modification. If you haven't found one, find a therapist who specializes in it. Some therapies are, to put it mildly, on the fringe.

    If you haven't read it, do check out "Adopting the Hurt Child" by Keck. It may help a little.

    I adopted a child with mild Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), possible Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE). She was in therapy from age 3 until 16. She was sent to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in her mid teens. By accident, I did some things right -- I carried her almost nonstop for well over a year; I let play at being a baby with baby bottle, burping, feeding her, etc. (I refused to change diapers). These things helped her form at least some attachment towards me. Not entirely and the odds are that she now has borderline issues but she is a functioning adult. However, as I said, her Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) was mild. It doesn't sound like your son's is.

    As brutal as this sounds, start looking for placements for him at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Find one that deals with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). It can be a lifesaver for him and you.

    If you find you can't help him and feel he can no longer live with you, don't feel guilty. The blame lies with his mother -- she did her best to destroy her child and pretty much succeeded from the sound of it. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids frequently end up in disrupted adoptions. The success rate is not good.

    I'm sorry to sound so negative but after having lived it and having seen what a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) child can do to you, your family, your health, your finances, your quality of life, it is not a life I would recommend. It takes a commitment and a strength few of us possess. Don't misunderstand, I love my daughter with a passion, I'm grateful for her every success and mourn every failure. However, had I known the facts pre-adoption, there is no way I would have gone through with it. Once she was in my heart, I fought tooth and nail to get her all the help I possibly could. As I said, I was lucky -- her Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is mild, I did some things right by sheer luck, she is a strong person in her own right and fought hard to overcome some of her difficulties, she was still young enough when I got her (3.5) to be able to form some sort of attachment. Sadly, few of that is true when a child comes into a new home after the age of 7. It takes a commitment to change not just by the parents but by the child. The problem is the child has found the only way to survive is by putting up the walls and there is no safe way for the child to tear them down without a feeling of total self-destruction.

    Now that I've given you a lot of bad news, maybe a little bit of help. While you can't medicate Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) or Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)/Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), there are medications that can help control the rages and some of the impulse issues. There are programs specfically geared to both of these Dxes that can help. Will your son ever be cured? Probably not, but he can be improved. He can learn to cope with the world and himself.

    I wish you the very best. Remember that you and your husband have to survive as well. You didn't damage this boy; you may not be able to fix him. All you can do is try. Decide how much you can truly tolerate, what you can do and accept whatever decisions you make as being the best for him and you.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    First off, no way on this planet would I ever allow my kid to be on both the high-power stimulant Adderall and the hyper-anti-depressant Zoloft at the same time. Zoloft alone made ME nuts. I ended up in the hospital. Please be aware that sometimes the drugs ARE the problem, especially is the kids get worse after taking them for a few weeks or a few months. Other stuff:
    Although he probably has some Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), please do not assume that all or most of this is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). He obviously would have some attachment issues, but there is so much else probably going on. I would take a multi-faceted approach to this and try to address each issue. The attachment may not be as bad as you think, or it may be worse, but it isn't the only thing going on. If he has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) or Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), well, that is probably more problematic than anything else doing on, BUT you have to see if he has it.
    We adopted a child with a crazy history like yours, although he was just two. The first thing we did was get a neuropsychologist evaluation to see how many issues could be picked out. No other evaluation is as intensive as this. If he is alcohol affected (which is actually organic brain damage) there is no medication that will make him understand cause and affect and there is a very special way of parenting such a child. But I wouldn't guess. I'd get the evaluation. Because he was exposed to drugs in utero, as was my child, I'd also go to a regular Neurologist for a total check on that. These kids are not like other difficult children. They have a lot of possible physical damage that comes out in behaviors, and a regular psycologist is probably not skilled enough to tell you what to do. The neuropsychologist can evaluate then maybe send you to a specialist who is used to dealing with very complicated children. Our son is doing really well, but he got interventions very early.
    Welcome to the board!
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008