New to this site. Need help and advice

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by dantheman2, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. dantheman2

    dantheman2 New Member


    This is my first post after searching and finding this forum. I don't know where to begin. I will give a little background.

    My wife and I have two daughters. One birth daughter and one adopted daughter.

    J is our adopted daughter. She is about to turn 15 in a couple of weeks. We adopted her at 7 yrs.

    She has ADHD, ODD, possibly personality disorder, possibly Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) (has symptoms of).

    She was neglected by her birth parents Probably from birth to about 4 years old. She was fostered and rejected by a few families who wouldn't adopt her. We knew it would be hard, but we never had any idea.

    She has always been defiant and has had many problems, but in the last 6-8 months, it has gotten a lot worse.

    Constant stealing, lying, sneaking, yelling and fighting (verbally) with Mom and Dad and sister.

    Her grades are failing. Her only interest is to "have fun with her friends". She's pretty much in a constant state of being "grounded" due to her behavior. No, friends, TV, movies, makeup, most items removed from her room. We have an alarm on her door so we know if she leaves her room at night. She regularly breaks the alarm or steals the batteries to try to sneak out.

    Over the summer, she sneaked out every night for about 4 or 5 days in a row to go to a boy's house. She hangs out with the worst behaved people in the school. Those are her friends, the ones who have been arrested, take drugs, skip school. She slept with one boy over the summer. She's a cutter. She fights back (physically) if we try to take something away from her like a book. She refuses to do her homework. She is failing 4 or 5 classes. Every once in a while she has a good day or two. Then the next day without warning, she skips school.

    She goes to a therapist, she's been to a mental hospital for a week, after she came back, two times now she ran away, went to a friends house. When my wife tried to give her her medications about a week ago and get her to go to bed, she picked up a knife and pointed it at her telling her to stay away. We called the cops. They took her to juvi. As soon as she got to juvi., they called us to pick her up? (Really????)

    She's had encounters with the police 4 times in the past week for running away and the knife incident.

    She knows that we are getting ready to put her in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) (residential treatment center). The Residential Treatment Center (RTC) has no open beds and she's actually too unstable to take her there!! They won't accept her is what they said unless she gets stable. Really???

    Life at home is pure hell for us and her. No wonder she wants to run away and go to a friend's. The people she hangs out with at school constantly ask her to cut class, they go somewhere and does who knows what. She has been drug tested 2 or 3 times and it has been negative.

    I expect her to run away again probably after school today. We can't be with her 24/7.

    A lot of this has been years in the making. No amount of treament, therapy, medicine is doing any good. I am just about at the breaking point. (And by that I mean, I want to give her up to the state if that's possible or I need to move out and separate from my family.) Any help? Nobody seems to understand.

  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome. Glad you found us, sorry you needed to.

    I don't have any advice, because I'm not in the same situation, but others will be along.
  3. Why didn't they keep her at juvi? Did they give you a reason?

    I'm sorry for your predicament. My situation is different but I know how frustrating it is when authorities and doctors won't cooperate for the good of everyone.
  4. dantheman2

    dantheman2 New Member

    It was her first time to go to juvi. So, the local cops took her to the county juvi center as they are supposed to, but because it was her first time, they immediately released her. She was there just long enough to fill out paperwork. Then we had to go pick her up. She is on probation because of it and she's already ran away and violated probation in multiple ways since Saturday. And she has a court hearing on the 17th. Anything she did to violate the probation since then will go into her judgement. She actually said she "had fun" riding in the police car and going to juvi.
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  5. hhi

    hhi New Member

    Hello and welcome. Sounds like your daughter is in a downward spiral. It's completely reasonable that you feel like you're at a breaking point. been there done that

    Some of our kids are the way they are due to genetics, some due brain injury or early trauma, some for no obvious reason at all. There are people here with loads of experience and no-one has yet been able to come up with a single cause or a simple way to deal with kids like this.

    But there is no way parenting and home life causes all of the problems your daughter is having. Perhaps some of those problems may imitate ADHD - e.g. it is common among fostered and adopted children but could either be because they carry a lot of baggage from early experiences, a lot of bad memories, or it could be genetic and the reason they are adopted/fostered is because undx-ed and untreated parents can't look after them.

    I could go on - but I won't just rest assured it is not your fault, it is not her current home life. You are a good parent. She has recognized brain disorders that can be treated either by diet in some cases, or in others by medication - but only to an extent. Behavior modification is often needed too, but there's no guarantee that will get her on track either - good books to start with are The Explosive Child by Greene and The Defiant Child by Riley.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We did adopt children and the ones that were older adoptees (not babies) were all disasterous experiences. One was frankly dangerous and we gave him back. Sounds awful, but he strangled two dogs and abused sexually our two youngest kids.He scared our little ones to the point that they didn't tell us and he acted so charming to all adults, including us, that we had no clue that HE had killed our first dog. The second one was obvious and that's what outted him about all the things he'd been doing without our knowing, incluing his love of fire play, holding a knife to kids to make them do the unthinkable to each other, and peeing and pooping in the closets (we thought it was our dog). His entire time staying with us was a lie. We got him at age eleven. That is just too old to expect a bonding. Seven is old too. Her brain developed the fastest when she was with abusers and she learned to mistrust all is not just your family. I hope she is not dangerous to any of you. That is common in Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

    I have no hope to offer, just empathy because Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is awful and rarely seems to improve. I'm in a group of moms who are all adoptive parents. The young infant adoptions tend to go pretty well, but not the ones who adopt older kids. The stories are much like yours. Attachment therapy is supposed to help. I don't know that much about it. It is controversial. But once my husband I found out that this kid was sexually abusing his six year old sister and seven year old brother (also adopted, so I'm not against adoptive kids), we called CPS and told them to get him or we couldn't be responsible for what we'd do. They were very supportive to us and this kid ended up being prospecuted by the county for sexual abuse of a minor. He was six years older and that's the age difference when they can prosecute. WE had nothing to do with the prosecution, but we did not go to the hearing and have not seen this child since nor do we want to.

    I am sorry you have to go through this. So much for love and a caring family and stability curing all :/ This is most definitely not your fault. It happened before you even knew this child was alive.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    What I'm about to suggest may seem radical, and it may already be too late.

    First, even if she drug-tested negative, assume she is abusing drugs, alcohol and having unprotected sex. If she is looking for the emotional bond, sex can sometimes seem a way to get it for a teenager, and promiscuity comes as a result. It's a coping strategy, but an unhealthy one. Ditto drugs and alcohol - misplaced and inappropriate self-medicating.

    If she is in with a bad group at school, and failing school anyway, pull her out. At her current rate she won't graduate and you'll all be miserable if you try to force the issue. If you can get her into a work placement program or even some voluntary work placement (ie emptying chamber pots at an old folks home) it gets her away from at least some of the bad influences and could change her direction. Could. Might. Things are bad, she is also just as likely to run to her 'friends'.

    The thing is, trying to get her to graduation now, is beating all your heads against a brick wall. She can always go back and try to graduate in a few years' time, when (if) she gets her act together.

    Graduation will only get you places if you want to go there and are prepared to put in the work. Otherwise - get a head start in the work force, at least with experience and learning life skills. An accountancy course? Bookkeeping? Data entry?

    And maybe some time away from the bad influences will help her stabilise enough for the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to take her, although I'd be shopping around for one that will take her as she is now.
  8. I don't know about where the OP lives, but in my home state you can't just pull a kid out of school. You'd be charged with truancy, which is a misdemeanor here. The only way to remove a kid from school before age 18 where I live is if the school district approves you to homeschool.

    In some states, homeschooling is as easy as simply notifying the district that you're going to do it, and others expect all sorts of reports and "proof of progress." I don't know much about homeschooling in other countries.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You can't graduate early either unless you have all your credits. That's in any state. A few really, really smart kids can finish their credits a year early, but it's not easy to do. And I think this girl is only a freshman (first year of high school out of four years).

    Marg is from Australia :)
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Although kids are strongly encouraged now to stay in high school until they graduate, I think it is still possible for a kid here (in Australia) to leave school just before they turn 15, especially if there is an apprenticeship for them to go into. Hairdressing? Plumbing?

  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Where we are, kids are required by law to stay in school until they turn 16. After that, neither parents nor the school system can force them to attend.
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just adding in my welcome. I can only imagine how difficult things must be. I know kids in the U.S. are suppose to be in school til graduation but kids do drop out. I hope at some point she is able to get herself together with the help of professionals.
  13. dantheman2

    dantheman2 New Member

    Thanks for the advice, prayers, and info. I listened to most of the audio version of The Explosive Child by Greene. This gives me a little more hope that there could be a way things can change in our daughter if we change our parenting. It seems like everything we've done hasn't worked, but for anyone who read or heard that book, we are mainly using "plan A" all of the time with a side order of rewards/consequences and sometimes "plan C" when we give up for her. That isn't working, Maybe plan B and C done right can be a help. If you didn't read it or listen to it, check it out if you want to know what I mean. :)

  14. It almost seemed like you were describing my daughter. But mine isn't adopted. Mine was born this way, and is almost 18. She's in an alternative HS now, and I'm praying she graduates. She's a year behind, because she doesn't and has never cared about school, and even though we begged, they wouldn't hold her back. She has no control over her mouth, and doesn't and has never cared about consequences. Just this morning she was attempting to leave the house in ripped (showing parts of her body she shouldn't be) jeans. Of course I got nothing but back talk and argument about it. BUT, she changed her clothes. Why? Because the thing she loves most was on the line, it's ALWAYS on the line. But as you know, this is NOTHING. Her whole life, has been a battle. She gets what she wants, or EVERYONE pays- so we have paid a LOT. I am a fighter, and no teenager is going to bully me. What I wrote to tell you, is that it has dramatically improved from when she was 15. So there is hope. Now she has a job. (Which she hates because she has to WORK) She has to if she wants to drive her car. (Which she had to buy). She is required to pay for her ins. And any gas she needs. She is quite possibly the laziest person I have ever met. Find out what your daughter wants, and what she loves, and use that. Mine wanted to drive. And she wanted her cell phone (which I monitor) Well she has had her phone and car taken many times, but she has to work to get them back. Oh and she has to pay for her phone too. We live in a very small town, so jobs are hard to come by.. Which is why she is just NOW able to drive and she's almost 18. She knows 18 is coming and the car is in MY name. So if she wants to keep it, she has to obey. I pick my battles. She's mouthy and far from perfect. But she's not doing drugs, she's still going to school, and she isn't pregant. For her, these are all huge wins. I am working on responsibility with her. She thinks turning 18 is gonna be awesome, but when she finds herself living in that car... She's gonna think my rules were not too bad.
    She is my middle child, so she isn't my first rodeo either.

    My advice? Make her work. Give her a job, (purpose, drive) that pays. Keep the money in sight but not in reach. (Like a bank account she can view.) Her 16th is coming! A car= freedom. Be there, always. Around every corner. Let her know that you are ALWAYS watching, but letting her make her mistakes to learn from. Teensafe allows you to monitor her phone without her knowing. Know where she is, and pick your battles. Good luck!
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ignoring the Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) possibility for a moment...
    She's turning 15 and things have gotten worse in the last 6-8 months.
    Let's see... teen girl, raging hormones, started high-school... and fell off the cliff.

    I'm guessing you're dealing with a double whammy - the "normal" insanity, plus more due to her past. You might have some chance at impact on the first half. Maybe. But it won't be as simple as the Plan because approach... it's just one thing that sometimes helps.
  16. dantheman2

    dantheman2 New Member

    Yes, the adoption thing makes it worse. Every chance she gets, when we have a conflict, she will bring up that we are not her parents. I say something like, we are your parents and we are responsible for you until you are at least 18. Then she's like, "you are not my parents and you never will be". (when she's angry).

  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    my son used to do that.
    I expected it, from counseling (and the adoption service) but when he yelled it, it still hurt.
    I usually said, "I am your mother by law. If you want to go back to R, here is her phone number. See what you can work out." And I'd walk away. He never called her. :)
    It's one of the tools that these kids pull out and use. Don't let her manipulate you with it.
  18. dantheman2

    dantheman2 New Member

    Yeah, when she's not angry and she wants money or something at store, all of a sudden, we become mom and dad again....
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    That's typical of our kids, even if they don't have attachment disorder. They only like us when they want something. I do think you are dealing with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) though. It is almost impossible to adopt a child that old and not be dealing with serious attachment issues, especially if their early years were chaotic. And love is not enough.
  20. I gave birth to my daughter, but my husband adopted her. I have been on both sides. It makes it more difficult.