Self inflected injury


New Member
My ten year old (whom we plan to adopt) scratched herself (or cut, I don't know) again. The wounds look like cat scratches to anyone without a basic knowledge of cats. I brought her to the doctor and I can't tell you how surprised I saw when I walked into the room and this very trusted doctor proudly announced, "They are cat scratches!" She decided this after talking to the child without me present for about 30 minutes. I then explained that they are absolutely not cat scratches and explained that the child had no access to the cat on the date the event was determined to have happened, and the cat is front declawed. This child who asks for a Band-Aid for wounds so tiny I can not even see them had a wound six inches long an never even asked for a Band-Aid. Still, the doctors report will state the wounds were absolutely not self inflected. That will do wonders for me when trying to get her help later :( But, it does prevent CPS from being called right now.

So, what now? The child will not admit what she did and refuses any help. She will see her counselor on Friday. Family based services will soon start to deal with her PTSD. If she decides not to help herself I guess that is her choice. I do not know of anyway to prevent this, but I will be buying her new PJ's (all short shelved) and packing up of the long ones. She very likely did this with her fingernails. That is what she used the first time. She is only ten, that just seems so young for this.


Well-Known Member
Since she is in from foster care, and likely abused, I'm not really surprised. I've seen a lot in foster care. These kids have been through so much, often not even remembering the worst of it, that they start early with self-abuse or abuse of others. Self-injury is a red flag for sexual abuse. We had a social worker visit us for a few days from another state with a child we unfortunately ended up adopting and we (social worker and I) talked in a friendly way for a long time and got a lot of stuff out of her that you normally don't hear from social workers. She told us that, although this is rarely told to parents, that probably 99.9% of the foster kids have been sexually abused either at home or in abusive foster homes.

I don't know why, but that surprised me.

And this was the social worker of the boy who sexually abused my two younger children and had to leave our family. Lots of foreshadowing there, but I honestly don't think she knew it...even his shrink didn't know.

At any rate, I would caution anyone adopting out of foster care especially older kids that you are going to have a lot of problems and they do start early and some don't resolve.

I would cut her nails so she can't hurt herself too badly and hide anything she could use to cut herself, such as forks and knives and razors, etc. Lock them up. Nothing else you can do but get her professional help pronto. The doctor you took her to obviously is rather clueless about kids from the foster care system. Unfortunately, many doctors don't know. I found that out first hand.

I give you kudos. After what happened with the child who abused our youngest two, we never again had the desire or the stones to consider foster care or older child adoption. You are very brave.


Well-Known Member
Responding a few days into your post, wondering if perhaps the counselor was able to make any progress with her? Sounds like some therapy is a definite immediate need.

I am always surprised when docs refuse to take the opinions of the parent into consideration. We know them better than anyone and are a great resource!!!



New Member
My little one is refusing all help for this. She would not tell the therapist the truth, but at least the therapist didn't believe her story like the doctor did. I decided to, "believe" my daughter as well. As a result of this terrible injury from, "the cat," she is no longer allowed to be around any of the foster cats and she isn't allowed to touch our cat unsupervised. Also since she managed this wound (which was pretty severe, one scratch was six inches long, and they all bleed), all by herself and with not one Band-Aid, she no longer needs Band-aids and I took all of them out of the house. Mind you, this child LOVES Band-aids and used them constantly before for the smallest of wounds.

She is not at all happy with this result. I am though. We are now able to move past this and on to dealing her terrible pain after each and every darn call to her birthmom...ugh!


Well-Known Member
Way to go, Warrior Mom. Creative problem solving. SHE created the problem... by not telling the truth. Is she supposed to expect you to believe one thing and therapist something else? So... at least there is a consequence to her choice to not tell the truth.