New Parent Questions

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by April, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. April

    April New Member

    Ok, here is my story. I am unable to conceive. After 4 years of medications and infertility treatments, shots, hospital stays etc. We decided to adopt. We got registered and matched and everything was great. We got custody of the two children we want to adopt on June 5th. They are still in the Foster Care System, until the courts finalize everything. We were told about some behavior issues with our son. They told us the behaviors were ADHD related and controlled by medications. Long story short after an evaluation by psychologists and psychiatrists they are telling us he has ODD, AHDH, PTSD, and that they are still completing the diagnosis of the rest of the acronyms that end in D. He has been evaluated before, and they didn't find this, and his behavior was worse in his foster home than here. So...we now have 2 kids, a 10yr old daughter that probably doesn't get the attention she should due to our 9yr old sons behavioral problems. Neither of us have ever been parents before, and we need some new ideas to help us contain the damage before it is too late and the state decides to seperate the kids. We have tried all the standard parenting things, which of course don't work. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!~~Thanks!
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member


    There is no magic bullet.

    I would suggest you go read as many of Timer Lady's posts as you can in the history. She also adopted 2 children (actually twins) a girl and a boy around the same age as yours.

    I have seen recommendations about the actual adoption and making sure the agency is responsible to provide mental health services in the future, including Residential treatment centers and respite on the weekends.

    I would ask the professionals about Reactive Attachment Disorder and start reading up on that now.

    I am glad you found us. Be ready for some of us to express that they would not take this on. Just take what you need and leave the rest.
  3. Vanilla

    Vanilla New Member

    April, you and your husband have done a noble thing in adopting two children who have been hurt by their past. I don't think you need anyone here to tell you that you are probably in for years of struggle, but there is so much wisdom and experience on this website that you will learn a great deal. Please avail yourself of all the services for mental health that you can access. Take care of yourself and your marriage too. Children with emotional/behavior problems can drain your energy and your spirit sometimes. Many times you will find yourself fighting for your kids, and often fighting with them, sometimes at the same time. And yes, you will most likely encounter feelings of wanting to give up on the adoption. No one can tell you what is right or wrong for you but you are among friends here, people who have shared your circumstances. Stay strong, and welcome!
  4. SnowAngel

    SnowAngel New Member

    God bless you for hanging in there. I know with my boys a strict schedule/routine helps. Also staying consistant and following through on consequences. Abused kids need the reassurance they are loved and safe. I wish I had more experience to help you. Check and see what your school can offer too. Good luck.
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Well, I'm one of those that would suggest you think long and hard before adopting these two. You're talking about two kids who have been severely damaged. The statistics are truly against you -- failed or disrupted adoptions are common when adopting an older child. When you add in abuse, the failure is even higher.

    I'm one of the lucky ones. My daughter was severely abused -- physically, emotionally and sexually. She was also severely neglected. At the time she came into my home and my heart, I was told she was neglected. Nothing else was forthcoming. It took years before I actually pieced everything known to date together. During those years, I was beaten and stabbed by her. Theft from me, my neighbors, friends, classmates, teachers was a daily occurrence. If she opened her mouth, it was a lie. Four hour temper tantrums were not unusual. Night terrors occurred at least 3 times a night for 3 years straight. This was between ages 3 to 9.

    Ages 9 to 12 were even worse except temper tantrums were down to less than 30 minutes and the night terrors stopped. However, theft now included shoplifting. While the rages had basically stopped, the tantrums remained -- more frequent but not as long. We won't even bother discussing the damages to my home and property. Ages 13-14 added truancy to the mix. At age 15, I was truly ready to give up. I got lucky and found a residential treatment facility that helped a little. The cost of the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) was $85,000 for 16 months. I paid for this. The county and state refused to help. The school district was even less cooperative.

    I got curious once and figured out that my beautiful, wonderful daughter had cost me well over $2M from ages 3 to 18. This was not counting basic expenses such as food, clothing, toys, etc. The emotional toll was much, much higher. My friends and family basically refused to have anything to do with her and, thus, me. I was forced to leave a career I loved and develop a new one that was half the salary and half the satisfaction. I still have some PTSD (if she raises her hand, I flinch and she hasn't been physical in well over 10 years).

    She is now 20 and doing much, much better but only because she knows I can now legally remove her from the house.

    So, if you're determined to go through with this, get all the help you can from the adoption agency. Make sure they include present and future services as needed. Include therapy, evaluations every 3 years, respite for the two of you, tutors as needed, special therapies such as art or equine, and anything and everything you can possible think of.

    I will never regret adopting my daughter. I love her with all of my being. At the same time, had I known then what I know now, I would never have adopted her (or any child that had been severely abused or neglected and most definitely not one over the age of 5).

    So, be careful. This is not an easy road you are choosing and, quite honestly, the rewards are few.

    by the way -- I found the Keck books on Adopting the Hurt Child, etc. to be extremely valuable. If you haven't read them, I'd recommend you do so. Ditto The Explosive Child.

    I wish you the best.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree that it's not easy, and they may never bond with you. I've adopted four times. The kids I adopted two and under are as close to me as my biological son. But the kids I adopted six and over were disasters (see info on Scott below). Two other ones didn't work out as they were abusing my younger kids as well as kids in the neighborhood. Not all kids can be saved. Some are so far gone when you get them that they get frightened at the idea of being loved. This condition is called Reactive Attachment Disorder, and it's scary. I would definitely read the Keck books first, and talk to people who've dealt with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Chances are good that kids the age of yours who have been abused have serious attachment issues. Most kids in foster care have been sexually abused too. The stats are something like 90%. I know this isn't encouraging, but it's realistic. This will be a very hard, unconventional ride.
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I would definitely get a hold of Keck's books - Adopting the Hurt Child & Parenting the Hurt Child. However this isn't going to answer your immediate concerns nor is it a promise for a healthy adoption.

    You're doing the right thing in getting any & all evaluations before you finalize the adoption. You need every bit of information so you & your husband can make an informed, educated decision - that decision being will you be able to parent this young man safely? Will you be able to parent your daughter & give her the attention due her with her own concerns & history?

    Are these 2 biological siblings? If not, it will be easier to separate them if that is the decision/choice you make.

    Before finalization please have written in your adoption agreement services you may need in the future given the age of your children at placement. I can foresee the need for PCAs, in home therapy, respite on a REGULAR basis, approved & safe attachment therapy, Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) workers & please have Residential Treatment Center (RTC) covered.

    My husband & I have adopted now 13 y/o twins - a boy & a girl. It's been hell on wheels from the day of placement. I wish I'd had someone tell me this before my children stepped foot in my home.

    My son, wm, is now living in a group foster home setting because of unsafe & aggressive actions toward his twin sister & myself. Both of my children are diagnosis'd with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), complex PTSD & bipolar. Neither of my children had these diagnosis's upon placement - we were told that they had been tested as ADHD. We were naive & believed it. Their hx is very ugly....

    My family is a family of different addresses. My children, even being twins, should never have been placed together. Their interactions are destructive to all about them & to each other.

    Having said that, I'd really question your ability to handle both children given their ages on placement & their hx. It's not wrong to adopt one child & not the other. It's a reality.

    Many many times these agencies set families up to fail by not giving the complete hx; all the background information that is needed to succeed as a family. It's sinful. It hurts the already hurting child & the family who fell in love with that child but couldn't parent him.

    I'm sorry you're in this position. I cannot say what you should do...I can only share what happened here. I can tell you that our family is very fragile after 7 years of being together. I can tell you that I have fought to find every intervention I could find for my children & it's still a [email protected] shoot.

    Let us know what you decide. We will support you either way. If I can help you find services or guide you please PM me.

  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Lots of love and support her, no matter what decisions you make. It will be a most unusual journey, far more difficult than most parenting is. You will need very different skills, and need them fast.

    You have had excellent suggestions here. heed Timer Lady's advice well, she knows what she talks about. She is an amazing mom and if ANYONE could "fix" or "heal" a child, she would either be able to or be able to find the one who could. She has moved mountains to give her children what they need. And her heart still breaks at a lot of times. It has also taken a great toll on her health.