reactive attachment disorder child - need help

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by dpicolet, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. dpicolet

    dpicolet New Member

    I am the step-father of a 15 year old boy who has been diagnosed Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), Bipolar, Conduct Disorder, Behavioral Disorder, ADD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Emotional Detachment, Depression, and probably a few more. He is currently taking a mix of Lithium, Prozac, and Serequel.

    Our problem is that we have no idea what to do now. He is currently at the Behavioral Center of a large hospital after having threatened to kill himself when police returned him home from running away this past Thursday. It was the second day in a row he ran away.

    We have been told by numerous professionals over the past 3 years that he is headed to being diagnosed a sociopath.

    He also has a significant learning disability with about a 3rd grade reading level.

    We have continually worked with local DFS agencies to secure any available help for him trying dozens of strategies, disciplines, etc. Nevertheless, his IEP and behaviors from 2003 are identical to today.

    Our specific problem is whether to bring him into the home or relinquish custody. We fear the safety of our family (2 parents, 3 female siblings ages 17, 12, and 9 months) as well as his own safety naturally as he is very spontaneous and can be easily misled or coerced in a negative fashion. His learning disability coupled with his Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) leads him into situations where he is far over his head (lost in the woods, foolishly stealing, etc.). Relinquishing custody may require his mother to take a charge of neglect or abandonement and the state will most likely require child support for his treatment despite not having custody of him any longer.

    Behavioral Treatment
    -He spent 15 months in a Children's Psychiatric Hospital and got out about 18 months ago.
    -He has been in two "family treatment" homes - homes administered by a trained adult whose effort it is to help keep the child with the parents.
    -He has seen counselors/phychiatrists/treatment coordinators/etc. consistently for about 5 years.

    Abuse/Neglect History
    -He was neglected and moderatly abused as a todler.
    -He was raped by an older family member (currently in prison) around the age of 8-9.

    Significant Incidents
    -At age 11 snuck a vial of Pine Sol in his shoe and took it to school where he proceeded to drink it. Was rushed to the hospital but okay as fluid was non-toxic.
    -At age 12 routinely snuck into a younger boy's room at a family treatment home, undressed, climbed into bed with the boy and masturbated on the boy who he knew was on sleeping pills. Was kicked out of this home shortly after another boy there found him naked in the boys room on multiple occcasions. He confessed to the action after 4 months in the Psychiatric Hospital.
    -At age 13 he threatened to rape his sister if he had to stay at home
    -At age 14 he snuck a knife and pills to school in an attempt to be sent to juvinille detention rather than go home
    -At age 15 he dug disposable razor blades out of the bathroom trash, snuck them to school and later cut himself at school
    -At age 15 he ran away from home, broke into a car and stole a cell phone, and stole candy from a store before being caught
    -1 month later is where we are now.
    -As reflected by his diagnosees he continually lies, manipulates, steals/sneeks, etc.

    Any help/insight/advice is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Do NOT bring this boy back into the home with female siblings, esp younger one being so very young!!!!!!!!!!

    I think you need to find a Residential Treatment Center that specialized in children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and attachment disorders. He is already a sexual predator, and whether that was directed to a young boy because there were only boys available, or because he prefers boys you can't really know.

    He NEEDS a HIGH level of care and supervision. Essentially a locked facility that can address his issues while keeping him and others safe from his actions.

    You have a responsibility to the other children to provide a safe home, and if he comes home you can't do that. I hate that they may lay charges if you must abandon custody, but sometimes that is better than having him come home and hurt or kill a family member.

    It isn't talked about much, but one thing that happens with children who are sexual predators or are becoming sexual predators is that they use sexual abuse to control the other children.

    This is a very scary and dangerous situation, and you have 3 other children who's needs must be paramount. It is very hard to give up custody, and it can tear your heart out. But it would be better to know he is somewhere safe where he is getting help than to deal with the aftermath of learning he abused or killed a sibling.

    I also think it is VERY important to work with a therapist for your other children. He may have already abused them in ways you don't know (such as how he abused the boy at the home). He would have convinced the other children that he would further abuse them, hurt them some other way, or hurt or kill one of you or the baby if they told. Eliciting this info is something a specially trained therapist should do. But I would be very surprised if he had not done something to one of your daughters. VERY VERY surprised.

    Sad as it is, it is time to put the safety and sanity of the family above the needs of this boy. Until/unless he is ready and willing to accept help, there is very very little you can do for him. All the tools in the world don't help if you refuse to open the toolbox, Know what I mean??

    Sending prayers for your family.


    PS. Welcome to our site. I am glad you found us. We are a very supportive group, and others will come and post before much longer.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have you ever gone for Attachment Therapy? in my opinion that's a big important step to take. Is there a chance he was exposed to alcohol in utero? Is he adopted? Has ANYONE ever tried to work with you on the bonding process? Even if he wasn't adopted, I'd read "Parenting the Hurt Child" by Gregory Keck. He is an attachment therapist. Since we adopted kids, I"ve read his books a few times.
    Although it sounds like he is a "bad" kid, he has had a horrible life so far. I wouldn't bring him home, but would still try to attach to him from a distance, in another setting.
    Welcome to the board and I'm sure you'll like us ;)
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's sad that as parents we have to relinquish custody to get treatment for our kids. We were faced with the same dicision a few years back but our situation was not as serious as yours. If that is the only alternative for you then I believe you should do it. But please get the advice of an attoney beforehand so abandonment or neglect charges are not filed.

    I agree that this child should not come back home, he is very unstable and threatens not only his life but that of his family.

  5. dpicolet

    dpicolet New Member

    Thanks to all for your advice. My wife set up an appointment for us with an attorney tomorrow. We have no idea how we'll pay for it or if they will be of great help, but at least it will be less of a mystery. My wife also spoke with the social worker at the facility our difficult child is currently at and it didn't go that well. Thanks so much for your prayers and support. I will let you know how it goes tomorrow. I'm currently putting together a case file on our difficult child that includes IEP's, DFS records, court records, emails with Residential staff, etc. Thank goodness we've kept what we've kept.
  6. dpicolet

    dpicolet New Member

    Thanks so much for the replies. We are meeting with an attorney tomorrow morning to review our situation. We spoke with our difficult child this evening and he still claims he will run away or hurt himself if placed back in the home and that he has told the staff there that. Staff at the behavioral center tells us he is doing fine. Sigh...
  7. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    Wanted to say Welcome to the boards. I'm sorry for all the pain and suffering your family is going thru right now. Unfortunately I don't have any advice as I am not in the same situation but I can certainly offer an ear to listen.
  8. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Welcome. I am so sorry. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult this is for you and your family. Heartbreaking. While I don't really have any experience with the horror you are living in, as a mom I would agree with Susiestar. I think keeping him home is a very dangerous risk. Keeping him home probably won't do any good to him anyway. It seems he needs an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that can address his very serious issues.

    Again, I am so sorry. God bless.
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    That poor boy!

    And while he has my sympathy for the terrible things he has experienced in his young life--it sounds as though he is acting in a way that is beyond what you are capable of handling at home.

    He clearly needs help--but you also need to protect your family.

    I have not been in this situation personally--so perhaps I just do not understand how this all works, but is "relinquishment" really the only option? Can he be placed in a treatment center somewhere for treatment that would not result in a charge of "child abandonment"?
  10. dpicolet

    dpicolet New Member

    A brief update:

    We met with an attorney today and the meeting went well. She briefly reviewed our case and seemed confident that my wife would not have to face abandonent charges or the like. She also informed us that any child support efforts would be based on her income, not mine, which is good because I am the sole provider for our family (she is a stay-at-home mom). They requested a retainer fee to begin utilizing their services so we are currently attempting to acquire the funds ($3500) through friends, family, church, and of course our own means.

    The hospital has begun to seek a short term residential facility covered by our insurance for our difficult child to get us about 2-4 weeks to formalize things. They too seem to realize that sending our difficult child home at this time is not a viable option.

    Thanks again for all your replys, support, and prayers.
    It's been nice to walk through this with individuals who "get it".


    p.s. - sorry for the double post - my replies were taking about a day to show up - is that normal at first?
  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Dale, welcome to the board. Glad you found us, but sorry you had to.

    As you've seen already, this is a great group of parents. You have found a soft place to land.
  12. dpicolet

    dpicolet New Member

    Just a quick update...

    difficult child 2 is still at the hospital. We are working with Comtrea (a division of DFS and his main treatment provider for the past 18 months) and the hospital to find a place for him. There are only a few places that exist, even less that have an opening, and even fewer that will accept him regarding his behavior/diagnoses. Yesterday the hospital found one place that would take him for 30 days but Comtrea recommended against that place. They required a $1000 deductable up front anyways. Realizing we still need legal counsel at $3500, throwing another $1000 out there to get us a month at a place his main treatment provider discourages just makes you want to forget it all.

    We are looking at another place that would help him with his most deeply seeded sexual issues but he needs to get in and we need to understand exactly how it works with insurance/SSI. Meanwhile, the hospital is quickly going to grow impatient as they are a short term facility.

    Thanks again for listening and for all your prayers and support.
  13. dpicolet

    dpicolet New Member

    Another quick update...

    Our church has lovingly given us a gift that allows us to begin a relationship with the law firm. So today we painstakingly went through the decision process of where to proceed because the hospital is looking to discharge Tuesday.

    After weighing all the immense options we have decided to seek legal counsel and have our difficult child placed into the custody of the state. This has been, is, and will continue to be the most difficult and painful decision we've ever made regarding his care.

    We simply know this... that our earnest desire is to provide our difficult child with the enviornment that best enables him to get the help he needs. These past 5 years that he has spent off and on with us has continually showed us that despite our most sincere and uptmost efforts our home is not such an enviornment.

    Tomorrow we will be meeting with the law firm to begin the process, learning the ins and outs of this process. I hope it goes as good as can be expected.

    It really stinks that it has to come to this. But there simply is no other safe option for him and us. I do not know how our family will work knowing he is out there... but we do know that he will be helped and that the stumbling block our family somehow creates will be out of his way. Obviously our continual prayer will be for his safety, his health, and the hope of healing, both for him and our family.

    Again I thank anyone who reads this and cares even the slightest. Know that our hearts go out to each of you as well.

  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We care very much here. It really sounds like you have your hands full. I strongly doubt that they will press charges. My prayers are with each member of your family in this difficult time.

  15. dpicolet

    dpicolet New Member

    Thanks again Susie. Your earlier sentiments reflect the majority of what we've heard from nearly all we've shared our story with. Just yesterday we had lunch with a family we've been friends with for some time. They too supported a decision to seek state custody. It's funny, despite a pretty much unanimous voice from those we've sought out, we, as parents, still internally fight tooth and nail to not let go in this way. Thanks so much for your words and your support Susie.

  16. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I know this is so hard on you and your family. It is very difficult to make decisions of this magnitude and not carry any remorse. You are doing the right thing for everyone involved.

    I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep us updated. I wish you the best. :)
  17. dpicolet

    dpicolet New Member

    Today the hospital discharged our difficult child thus beginning the process of handing custody over to the state. We had a 2-3 hour meeting before with all the Systems of Care staff and the only safe option presented for everyone involved is unfortunately this one. All others would either place him in our home or in another family's home. None would seriously seek the treatment he needs.

    So now it is our hope and prayer that he gets placed into a program that addresses the sexual abuse therepy he desperately needs. It is beyond a difficult thing to place the care of your own child completely into the hands of another. May God watch over him.

  18. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I just returned after a week away but wanted to add my welcome and support, Dale. This has to be so difficult for you and your wife - even though you know it's necessary for the wellbeing of the rest of your family. Many thoughts and prayers for you and yours.
  19. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    May God watch over him indeed.

    Keeping you and your family in my prayers.
  20. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Sometimes the best thing we can do for a person is to let go.
    Be gentle with yourselves. Give your hearts time to heal. You have done the best you can do. -RM