My wife and I have recently adopted a 15 year old girl a little less than 3 months ago. During this time, we have not been able to create an attachment with her. She has been suspended from school for fighting, exhibited sexually explicit behavior, is defiant to us, pukes on herself when she doesn't get her way, grabs steak knives out of the drawer after getting in trouble, and the list goes on. Recently we had to take her Ipod from her. She ended up flooding the upstairs bathroom, tore up her bedroom, cut up half her clothes and jewely, tore up our living room and puked on the floor and cut up some of the carpeting. She also left a large steak knife on the ground in the living room promptly displayed for us to see when we got home. When we did get home, we were locked out of the house by her and luckily had an extra set of keys to get inside. Once inside, she became verbally abusive and vile and punched my wife in the face. We had to call the police and restrain her until they came and arrested her. She then fought with them as they took her to the police car. We are emotionally and physically drained and do not know where to turn. We are scared to leave her with our 13 year old boy and sleep with our bedroom door locked. Our other kids now refuse to bring over the grandkids. We have tried everything we know to help her and give her a loving home but she does not want to be with us. If you have any suggestions for us, please help. We are in crisis and looking to see how the process for adoption dissolution in Ohio works or who we should call?
What do you know of her history? If she had multiple placements, there's a lot of trauma going on. Is she in any type of therapy?
As to where to turn: Try either the agency that you used or the court. Also, an adoption attorney may be able to help you.
: : I can only imagine what you are going through. A family therapist once told me that sometimes when working with families and social services, treatment faciliaties (not for addiction but for addressing and treating unsafe/harming behaviors) can actually be seen as the most healthy and loving decision for that child and the family. Needless to say, it isn't the most ideal scenario of course - some may want to try other alternatives first, but when behaviors are threatening the safety of the teen and other family members, then sometimes keeping the whole family all together in that home environment wouldn't ever help. That said, it's possible with the help of kind and very experienced professionals to demonstrate to the teen that you haven't given up on them and are not abandoning them but rather want to be sure they are safe while addressing some of the underlying issues triggering the behaviors. What is important in a situation like this would be (emphasising) the "compassionate, but not emotionally charged, expreienced professionals" who can really help the teen get to the heart of the issues behind the behavior and help heal and grow from such severe trauma. Also a trained professional psychopharmacologist might help properly identify and prescribe medicine that could help alleviate some of the intensity behind the extreme behaviors. I'm personally not pro medicine to "numb" or "avoid" but rather to help alleviate some of the intensity so as to begin the deep therapy work that might need to occur. And then, being consistant about staying connected to the teen during that process to reassure to the teen that you haven't abondoned them, just want to help them in the best way possible, and still love them ... that would be such a powerful message to that teen I would think. Just a thought. I can only imagine how tough this must be to navigate. Best of luck. : :
Sadly, this girl is probably long gone from your house by now, judging on your post. But I could be wrong. I hope I am. I hope you spoke with other parents who may have taken in a traumatized child and could have helped guide you through this.
First, thank you for taking in an 'older' child. That said, there must have been some kind of connection between you guys at some point in the process to want to make her part of your family. What was it? Did you connect with her on some level on a shared interest? This did not go away. It is just hidden for now. Try to remember the things that drew you to her.
Secondly, neither you nor anyone in your home should have to live in fear. This is unacceptable behavior. She needs to learn this as well.
Third, perhaps most importantly--you are dealing with someone with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. And, yes, just for fun, she may have some kind of diagnosed and untreated mental disorder going on. What did her case file say? To you, this girl is psycho and ungrateful. To her, she is in a strange, unfamiliar environment and is acting in the only way she knows how to protect herself--by acting crazy to keep you away.
To say "we've done everything we can for her and she doesn't want to be with us" shows how unprepared you are for a traumatized person. Think of it as if it is childbirth. You waited for your baby. It was wonderful. She was your little angel. It is painful beyond reason to birth this child. She will cry. She will do crazy things. She will not be thankful. What happened to the sweet girl we just adopted/birthed three months ago? She may be 15 years old, but depending on the level of trauma she had before coming to you she is very much a baby. She has NO reason to think that you are not going to suddenly wake up one day and treat her just like every other adult has so far. Yes, I am sure you are nice people. But anyone can do that for a while. Shame on the state of Ohio for leaving you hanging like this and not having post-adoption support services for you and this girl.
Often, what happens with traumatized children is that, they know how to act (or are expected to act) for a certain period of time. Three months sounds just about right for someone to break down. It is sinking in that you "want" her, and she is testing you, and she doesn't even know this. But your worker and other support systems should have made you aware of this. AND, more important than that, have a "hotline" of sorts for you to call someone when things started to get weird. Other foster or adoptive parents of older children. Social workers who are available 24/7. Someone who would be there when you phoned or texted, no matter when.
If one of your biological children started acting crazy would you "get rid of them", or get them the help they needed? Up to and including being committed to a safe place where they could get intensive therapy? Why is it different when someone is "adopted"? Adoption is 'supposed' to be as binding as if the person was born to you. Clearly people do not view it this way. They always see an "escape hatch" because they are not biologically related, or they "didn't know what they were in for."
Sorry, you don't get a pass from me. You said it right there: one kid won't bring the grand kids over if this girl is in the house. Boom. You told me your decision right there. She's gone. You gave her a "loving home", and this is how she repays you? Out.
Sadly, this is what will happen--she will be rotated back into the system. The thought that she is never going to be good enough to belong to anyone's family will be underscored with each failed placement. The time period between her 'acting out' and getting thrown out will get shorter and shorter. When she is 18 she will 'age out' with no resources to fall back on. No one to go "back home" to like most young adults that age would need to be successful.
Sorry if this sounds harsh. But it's true.
If you got rid of her already, then I guess that's that.
On the off chance you did keep her, you have EVERY right to say to her, sorry, this is not how we act in our family. You are acting in such as way that we think you may harm us or someone else in the house. I know you had it rough and it is not your fault, but this just can't go on. We will not live in fear. And we don't want you to hurt yourself. But you need to work things out. We are sending you somewhere where you will get help and we will visit with you all the time to see you through this. Just like we would our other kids. Because you are our daughter now, and families stick together.
It sounds like the placement agency you are with did not prepare you, or her, very well for what comes after the "honeymoon" period. And that is tragic all around.
If you did get rid of her already--and that is what it is , not "find another placement", or "find a more appropriate environment", it is getting rid of her, you can do at least one thing that may seem small but could mean a lot to her later on (and you). Write her a letter. Tell her you are sorry. Tell her you were unprepared. Most of all TELL HER IT WAS NOT HER FAULT and you are sorry you just simply weren't equipped to meet her needs. that her behavior frightened you, and the rest of your family, and to keep everyone safe, including her, you felt you had to make this heartbreaking decision. Tell her you wish her good things. Keep the lines of communication open--invite her to write, or call, or text, let you know how she's doing. Maybe one day you may even see each other again. But please, if at all possible--let her know that you know she is hurting, you are sorry you were unable to provide for her, and that you can be there for her as a friend.