I havent been on this board in a while. Things turned upside-down for my husband and I almost a year ago. As a bit of background, I am the stepmom to a 12-year-old boy, 13 in a few days. His mom had custody when he was very small, and unbeknownst to my husband, she was on drugs. difficult child was living in deplorable conditions, not being fed properly, and in constant danger from the meth lab in the trailer next door. He was taken away from his mom when he was three, and went to live with his grandpa (my husband was in college, and later, grad school), and came to live full-time with us in 2007, because his grandpa has health issues. Unfortunately, difficult child has an unhealthy relationship with his mother. He idealizes her, and although she has been on/off drugs for ten years and constantly lies to him, he always believes what she says above anything else. She got clean for about a year and told him he would be coming to live with her of course, this was after my husband filed for child support. She started taking issue with everything we did in our house difficult child should not have to do extra reading if he missed his reading homework, difficult child should be able to drink as much juice as he likes, how dare we feed difficult child rice with dinner and difficult child ate it all up. difficult child had always been a difficult child, but his behavior escalated to an unbearable level. He ran away three times, one time not returning until 10:20PM. He stopped doing all homework and classwork, refusing to do anything the teachers told him to do. And very painfully for me, he began rejecting my love and care calling me names, throwing things at me, and leaving nasty voicemail messages on my work phone. Because of his mothers absence, I had been taking care of him. He became violent and irrational, and even pulled a knife on my husband. At one time, he became so aggressive that my husband was forced to restrain him and we called the police who came over and talked to him. difficult child accused my husband and I of abuse twice. CPS became involved both times, and labeled the accusations as unfounded (indeed one of the social workers labeled difficult child as entitled and ill-tempered, and recommended we have an evaluation done). The last time, a couple weeks after we took him on a lavish vacation to Mexico, he called his mother, and they got the police involved. My husband was arrested on false accusations. Now, nearly a year later, we have settled the charges at great expense to us, our savings thus far. We are only just now recovering financially, although we are now both facing pay cuts at our jobs. difficult child is still in foster care, though he has been moved twice once to be closer to his school, another time because he got aggressive with the foster mother and the younger children in the home. He ran away in that home, and accused the foster mother of abuse. His mother has relapsed and has been arrested, and as of now, difficult child is refusing to be returned to us since he still wants to live with his mother. He has been evaluated has ADHD, disruptive behavior disorder, avoidant style of attachment, schizoid something or other and I know his mother was on meth while pregnant with him. Right now he is failing nearly all his classes. Hes also been getting a lot of unexcused tardies. In contrast, before his mother was coming around again, he was getting As and Bs and had maybe 1-2 tardies a year. I know the social worker is going to recommend he be returned to our home, and I think at some point, difficult child will acquiesce to this. I love difficult child very much, but Ill admit that Im scared. He asked me to arm wrestle with him recently, and hes about as strong as I am now. I used to lock our door at night, because I was genuinely frightened that difficult child would try to hurt us. Well be installing security cameras in our common areas in an attempt to avoid any more abuse allegations, but does anyone have any more ideas of what we can do to protect ourselves? And I dont even know what to say about his grades his school and grades were the impetus for most of our disagreements with difficult child. The social worker is working with the foster family right now to hold him accountable for his grades, but I know that it wont work. The methods they are trying are ones we tried waaaay back when with absolutely no success. This all probably makes difficult child sound horrible, but beneath all this, hes a smart kid with a generous spirit. He has a great sense of humor and is a very talented writer. He was in honors English when he was living with us. I just dont know what to do to help him anymore.