Four years ago my wife and I adopted a sibling group of five children. Life was rich and people called my wife and I saintsӔ, a title we were much too modest to accept. Our lives had changed in an instant. My wife and I woke up one morning as proud parents of five little ones.
Starting out we had our struggles, mostly with the youngest boy. There was no honeymoon with this child. The gloves were off from day two and its been a ball of constant sorrow ever since. Following the kidsҒ placement with us my wife and I voiced concerns about our youngest sons behaviors. The social workers involved encouraged us to ғlove and ԓnurture him and heԒd come around. We were nave and followed along, but all the while kept bringing our concerns to the SW attention. When the time came for finalization we discussed not finalizing the youngest boy because of the problems wed had with him. We were told the state wouldnt allow us to separate the siblings and it was all or none. Now how were we supposed to send the other kids away (wed bonded with them and they to us)?
The other kids have done quite well throughout this ongoing ordeal despite the youngest son destroying their belongings, physically assaulting them, urinating all over the house (primarily his bedroom), telling anyone at school whoҒll listen how he hates his siblings and his parents, flashing his genitals at the younger girls, trying (literally) to burn down the school, frequently (loudly) threatening to kill himself, and more recently, hes been cutting on himself. HeҒs been diagnosed with PTSD, mood disorder, major depressive disorder, and atypical (whatever that is) RAD.
Today the youngest boy is in in-patient psych treatment and is on a regiment of medications that would sedate a horse. Were faced with the idea of refusing to pick him up because my other children, my wife and I are afraid to bring him home. He needs constant supervision. My wife and I (the other kids too) are so stressed out by his presence that weҒve exceeded our breaking point.
Our home is not a group home and were not equipped to provide for this childҒs needs. Weve talked with attorneys trying to find someone to represent us. Only one was luke warm and nearly all talked down to my wife and I like were are horrible parents. WeҒre devastated. This was not what we signed up for when he brought these kids into our home. I feel like the system lied to us in effort to clear these kids off their caseload.
The other kids are doing very well in our home and weve seen amazing progress with them and their lives, so we know weҒre making a difference. My wife and I need help. Were afraid to go down this road, but we both feel we have to protect the other kids and allow the boy to go back to the system where the system can better provide for his needs. However, my wife is afraid CPS will try and take our other kids away (the kids are also afraid of this). One attorney told us this will not happen, but are there ever any guarantees?
ItҒs been helpful to read some of your posts and I dont feel so alone. If anyone knows of any resources in the Dallas-Fort Worth area please let me know.
Love the way the state lies to parents-so helpful for the kids. And the threats are really fun-pick up your dangerous kid, or get charged with abandonment, pick him up, and if something happens to the other kids, get charged with child endangerment, nice-huh?
Will adoption subsidy pick up residential treatment? Will the Psych placement recommend his need for this or is your son convincing them it's all you? (amazing how well they can do this, sometimes)
Are there any adoption support groups in your area? Great place to find info about what really can and can't be done.
There is an online support group at [url=]Welcome to Attachment & Trauma Network - ATN[/url] where there are many parents-some I know from Tx-that may have ideas about how you can get what you need. I'm not from Tx, but have dealt with the behaviors you describe and was told the same lies.
I found that while I couldn't disolve my adoption, I could get long term residential care for my son.
aMarylandfamily: Thanks for your support. We're bracing for the worst case scenario here. We spoke with one attorney who informed us about CPS filing on us for abandonment. I'm not terribly worried about that knowing that they'll not put us in jail. My greatest concern is finding an attorney who will not only treat us right, but will fight for our interests in the matter.
One concern we have with involving CPS to get services for our son is that we'll enter into a 'shared custody' type arrangement with CPS until the boy turns 18. While I see how this can be a good thing I'm concerned CPS will say, "great, now that we have shared custody of the boy we're placing him in your home". That is not an acceptable option to me. My other concern is that they'll place him somewhere for a year or so and the placement staff will try to cause reunification with our son. We've been there and done that. It didn't work before and we're looking at the long term. No way, no how are we willing to look at reunification any time soon (if ever)!
We love our son, but have come to the conclusion that we have a responsibility to protect the other children. The boy is in therapy, taking medications, and so on, but our trust of him is gone and our children, my wife and I fear our safety.
Lovejoy: Thanks for the information on the ATN. I'll check it out. I've been more than reluctant to seek a support group, but you pose a good point in that it might be a good opportunity to network and find out what's what. Yes, our son if subsidy eligible and even receives services from a post adoptive service agency, but they've threatened to cut us off if we're not interested in reunification. I see no reason to tip my hand yet and I don't feel guilty about it either. The system has no problem lying to us, so I'll gladly return the favor. A long-term placement would work wonders for our family.
We are good parents and I don't feel responsible for our son's problems, as they were his long before we met. My only regret is that we couldn't cause change in his life. I believe we all have choices that affect our lives. I'm grateful my other kids have chosen a better life for themselves. I know they had to feel comfortable in their environment in order to feel comfortable making those changes. The fact that they have come so far has convinced me that it is not us, but our son who's chosen to pursue this path of self-destruction. He's nine years old and has the emotional age of a 3 year old (his age at removal from his biological family).
You asked about a placement recommendation from the hospital. They quadrupled his medicine, told us to continue with therapy and are requiring us to set him an appointment with an art therapist, but no recommendation for out of home placement at this time. Our son is a master of manipulation and has been a perfect angel while he’s been the hospital. Thank God you understand my frustration here. I resent that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has these people eating out of his hand. It doesn’t help his cause as far as helping us get him the help he needs and our getting a recommendation for placement, which we need to help our family feel safe. I’m a cop. I deal with bad guys for a living and yet I’m afraid of my nine-year-old son. Doesn’t that count for something?
This is something that they will require you to keep as the ultimate goal no matter what services you are attempting to get ... if not, they cannot administer you any services so it is often written as such - if he is placed in a residential program at some point the treatment plan will identify discharge notes - if at that time it is appropriate they will state that reunification is not in the best interest of the child which will then change long-term servicing to independent living which they often have to be 16 to be eligible for ... in many states the parents will hold "legal custody" of the child whereas the state/county will hold "care and custody" which identifies they will be the "home" parent (whether residential, group home or therapeutic foster care) - that is most likely what they mean by "shared custody" ... thus the "chiild support" requirement - and no state that I know of will allow dissolution of an adoption these days - in our case they eventually processed a termination of rights after the child requested same to proceed with a possible adoption by a family member (after 24 months in state care) who was not a resource until that time ... which never did materialize once they were actually given permission to do so but that is another story.
Are any of these behaviors being exhibited at school? If so, and you are not eligible for CINS, the school system can request intervention including the need for mental health care - again - they don't like to but can and will if forced ...
My heart and prayers stay with you!
Art therapy? Not for this type of issue. Attachment therapy, maybe.
I was afraid of my son at 9 as well so I know how you feel.
Here's how this works where I live-you can't dissolve an adoption. You can rehome a child. We went the RTC route.
Now, as for the reunification, in order to get funding, that has to be the goal. Does it mean anyone thinks the child will ever live at home? Not always. We did have to do the whole family therapy thing but we were able to do it by phone. My son couldn't live at home and we all knew it. So, even if that is the stated goal, I wouldn't stress over it.
Not sure you can avoid bringing him home, though, if the psych hospital isn't recommending longer term placement. You need a paper trail. Were there other hospital stays? Does he have a therapist he's seen that might back you up? Those things tend to help in securing an out of home placement. If he's home any amount of time, I'd recommend alarms on all kids rooms for safety.
Since he knows how to play the game to charm the hospital staff, wondered if you had any relatives that think he's fine and would take him short term while you figure out your options to avoid the abandonment issue?(hey, your kids would be safe, right?). Will CPS offer you respite? Sometimes support groups know about private respite providers that KNOW about kids with issues like your sons where the child can appear fine and be dangerous-worth asking about.
Good luck. I know to well how painful all this is, especially having to try to prove how sick your kids is to someone who is clueless.
Yes, Art therapy! My wife spoke with the shrink at the hospital. What a jerk. He told her we need to read the book on 'love language'. He went on to 'inform' us our son's 'love language is simply his presence' (and all this time I never knew that) ;). Okay doc, read the book, got the t-shirt. Have you any other condscending suggestions while we're still on the phone? Come on! Read the Real Love series too and I'm a believer, but it ain't working here!
No, we can't dissolve our adoption. I hear what you're saying about playing the game and not panicking about the reunification thing. I can play along with that. We're scheduled to see a RAD therapist next week. She's a no bolony woman and will likely help us with whatever documentation we need to get him the help he requires. Respite? Yup it's available on a limited basis. We have a wonderful, supportive family, but he's such a handful my wife and I have felt guilty about asking the family to help out. We are taking a vacation alone though next weekend. Thank God!
Ahhh, like the others here, we've been through this. Only, we've been through this TWICE....
In the end, one son was put in RTC at the age of almost 11yrs...and has lived in RTC...through state grants that WE wrote for in order to pay for his stays. He's over 18yrs old now, and all agree he'll be institutionalized in some degree for the rest of his life. (Suffers from severe RAD, and a host of other things too.)
For another, we DID reverse the adoption due to the danger he presented to the other younger children. It took $$ and a lot of months, and living in fear for several months, but it was done. In part, by the Grace of God, I believe. In another part, due to an excellent attorney.
My posts about our family and what happened are in this forum already. I'll take the liberty of pm-ing you about this well as suggest an agency that does re-adoptions.
This IS a scarey time. The foster care systems are well-versed in lying to 'green' hopeful adoptive parents as you---and we were too. While we also kept telling our caseworker (at that time) about the behaviors the first one was doing/having.....each and every time, the caseworker would say something to make us feel guilty or some other type of fluff.
In the end, we acquired vital info (MANY pages) of info the state was supposed to give us prior to his adoption....which they left out. Had we only known........
At any rate, I'll send the pm. My best to you. We know exactly how you feel...and there IS life aftter this %&*@. Believe me. We've even gone on to adopt again......never older children again---believe me. But we've gone on to adopt infants again.
It's reassuring to know we're not alone. I certainly felt that way until I reached out here. This thread had opened me eyes to a bunch of resources. Bless you and thank you all. I'll look forward to your PM.
Blazingsaddles - My heart was breaking when I read your posts. You are not to blame and shouldn't feel bad about things that are not your fault.
I'm still trying to come to terms with our decision to disrupt our foster/adopt placement last fall. We still really want to adopt but have really cold feet after what we went thru. When they were placed we were told that the court dates for TPR were five/six months in the furture...the weekend they were placed in our home, we got notice in the mail that the children were due in court in two weeks!!! That and all the other things we were lied to about made us think that the state was hoping we'd finalize before the kids were done honeymooning. Turns out we had no honeymoon at all and the frightening behaviors began almost immediately.
Newmommy....thanks for your comments. One thing I find very frightening, is when parents of older adopted children think they're able to finalize quite quickly, saying, 'My child/ren have no issues and everything we thought would/might be a problem isn't coming to pass at all!!!!'
Following these comments, is often the phrase, "We've had them only' 1month, or three months or even six months....and the facts are, SO often, many of the behaviors some of these children exhibit, aren't seen until they start to feel a sense that they're loved and accepted. SO often, THAT'S when everything breaks loose, KWIM? (I'm sure you do. :) )
You shouldn't feel badly. When systems decide to lie to hopeful adoptive parents, they not only do an injustice to the parents....they do more harmful damage to the child by putting them in a home that very well may be un-prepared for their issues. This was the case with us.
Looking back, we'd have served each other (the child and us) so much more if we'd said, "Something's very wrong here'......and started investigating what was truth, what was lies....MUCH earlier on. :(
Linny, you stated you got grants to fund RTC. How and Where? Im fighting of course adoption sub to keep funding sons RTC they stated only three months and too bad if he needs more.
Yes, this is true. I"ve taken the liberty of pm-ing you. I hope it all helps in some way. Please pm me if I can be of any further help with info.
My tears have run dry and my own stress and depression has set in. So many of the previous posts have hit home. We adopted a boy when he was 11, he will be 13 this year. He has been with us for two years and his behavior has only gotten worse over time. He steals items from family, siblings, anyone! lying, manipulates situations. He was caught stealing money that we were raising for charity, broke into my husbands gun safe and then was caught sexually assaulting my 5 yr old adoptive daughter ( I caught him before any "serious" trauma could occur) all in the same month. He was admit to ped psych hospital for 11 days and has been home for 24 days and it is right back to the stealing, lying and disobeying. He wasn't even home 24 hours when he slapped by bio son in the face. We feel frustrated with him as he painted this great behavior picture for the hospital but once home he was back in his element and old behavior set back in. We have been encouraged to love and stick by him but my poor family is suffering. The sad part is that when he was gone for 11 days the house was calmer. We feel like terrible parents that we are even thinking of dissolving the adoption b/c of the safety issue with the other children. He is having outpatient counseling which humbles him for 2 hours after then he acts like nothing has happened. Lord, help us we don't know what to do. He doesn't seem to even want to change or improve. What will happen to him if we dissolve the adoption?
What will happen to your daughter if you don't dissolve the adoption. You caught him THIS time, what about next time or any times you may not know about?
Will your state allow you to place him out of home and continue to parent him? That was an option for my son and it was better for him and for us.
If I were in your postion and dissolving were an option, I'd take it. No, it's not an easy thing to do but it isn't good for your other children to be raised in this environment. Everyone's needs need to be considered.
Absolutely!!! Lucyjoy is correct. I have sent a pm to you and like many of us here, will be glad to help in any way we can. As she said, it's not easy at all....and states vary in what they can/cannot do.
BUT, as Lucy pointed out, what if you're NOT there the next time something happens. There is no way I'd live with another person in my home (adult or child) who was hurting my other children.