Five years into an adoption and the issues keep getting more complicated for my 9 year old son

volunteerchild

New Member
My son was born in India. Allegedly, he went to an orphanage due to parents death with siblings at six months. One brother adopted out at the one year mark. One brother remained post adoption. Allegedly, parents death was murder/suicide but I have no proof. An Indian American couple adopted my son and his sister and took them to Texas. My son and I are American citizens. Sister was 5 and my son was three. It didn't work out and they said there was a trauma bond between the sister and my son and they placed both up for adoption and split them up. I am in contact with the new mother of the sister and they live in Minnesota. Sister has a diagnosis of depression and ptsd as well as slow processing speed. She had a history of hitting and has horrific memories. My son and his sister do not speak although they are aware of each other. Her doctor does not advise contact with my son until they are grown. I adopted my son at age 5.

Except for daycare, my son did not have any significant issues. He threw a chair at daycare. He did have some issues with eating, walking and speaking correctly. Like the sister, he did say inappropriate things about killing and pretending to shoot a gun (allegedly the sister witnessed the murder/suicide). He also told everyone about what his sister had said about the death of his birth parents. So, I held him back a year to catch up. He did well in Kindergarten. He did very well in First Grade. In the first grade, it became obvious my son had some attention issues though and was messy and rude to the teachers etc. Also, I travel for my job (no I can't get one in the USA but I have a home in Texas). My son was in kindergarten and first grade overseas. Three days before his 8th birthday in March, the country we were in locked the country down for covid for 12 weeks and they could not even go outside to play. School shifted to online and my son grew to hate school and hate reading (which is now a trigger for bad behavior). He can read well but won't. He has learned Arabic. He can even write in cursive as well as Arabic but won't.

When the kids could go to the park, I took my son to the psychiatrist and the TOVAR test indicated ADHD (no question) and depression which they blamed on being in lockdown for covid. My son is also very immature and prefers the under 5 age set who avoid him now that he is big. My son was given risperdahl and straterra. Second grade started and my son was able to go in person. Then the government locked the schools down again and shifted online. In December 2020, he lost it while online and started hitting me and kicking me while the class watched in horror because I told him to watch the teacher. His Nanny pulled him off of me and we took him to the doctor who put him on abilify with the straterra. He was removed from the school due to what he did to me and the whole class watching. I shifted him to powerhomeschool online (which is struggling to finish) since he could take a test still to go to third grade.

I had to move in March to a new country in East Africa. My son tore up furniture, door frames, gave me a concussion, scratched up me and his nanny and squeezed his cat and I finally put him in the local hospital. They put him on two older bipolar medications and took him off of his other medications. They told him he had bipolar and they told me he had ADHD and a conduct disorder. The medicine makes him eat a lot and sleep a lot and developed a bad screen addiction while in the hospital that he now fights over. He refuses to complete his second grade work. And the local schools will not take him due to incidents of violence in the last six months. The therapy they gave him was telling him not to fight with his mom, his nanny or his cat and he of course said okay. he did try to hit once since he came home and he screamed a lot. He maybe slightly better but not sure. He refuses to talk about his adoption or issues.

If I could find a boarding school or resident school that would take him near by I would put him in it since I think that's his only way to finish school or he will get further behind. If I have to take him to the USA I will but I will only be able to see him every three months or so in person and of course daily by skype or facetime. I am told there are few schools for his age or grade. My insurance and job will pay for his school. Does anyone have any recommendations? Any advice will be appreciated.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
I am guessing that due to early trauma and the late age of adoption your son has some level of reactive attachment disorder. The sister sounds like it too. Often that is the big picture with adopted kids, covered up by other diagnoses such as ADHD and bipolar. Now they could have those disorders too, but Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is the worst and least treatable one. I am telling this to you because Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) was not told to me, not mentioned, and our daughter certainly has it. She is in her 30s and unattached and floundering and I wish we had known about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)'s very common existence in adopted kids when she was young. Maybe we could have helped her more if we had known so I am giving you this knowledge. Study Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Learn all you can.

Reactivate Attachment Disorder is caused by early losses and can start in infancy. Every adopted child loses his first parents. In your case your dear son also was pulled away from a sister, another big loss, even if they did not do well together. And, not of your fault at all, he must travel to different countries which can cause losses. Only you know if this is good for him.

My post is not meant to hurt or scare you but to hope you can learn about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and help your son so that he is not ever in his 30s and like my daughter. I think it would be good if he is in constant counseling. We so regret thinking she would just get over it as she matured. We did not counseling. I see do many mistakes we made.....

Adopted kids, in general, have more psychological and learning problems, percentage wise, than biological kids. There is much proof of this. They need in my opinion special understanding. My daughter is from a south American country so we adopted abroad too. She told me she never felt a part of our family although she says she knows we loved her....it was not enough ..she said that too. And she left us to be homeless with her horrible husband. They live in an old motorhome far away and she won't work.

My two bio kids have no big problems and we raised them the same. They are very successful. Kay had the same advantages of not more as we tried so hard to help her launch.

I send you all my love and prayers and hope this helped. Please be very proactive now while he is still young. Been at this for a long time. Hugs.
 
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Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I am torn what to tell you. I think if you put him in a boarding school he would experience it as an abandonment. I fear this. But at the same time I can see how you're backed in a corner. I think taking him from country to country a few months at a time may have destabilized him.

I think what this child may need is an intensive residential treatment setting for severely traumatized children. Long-term. Where he can heal. With no more moving around and repeated needs to develop new relationships and routines and then losing them. He may require this setting until he becomes an adult.

I fear for him if he is moved around more from here to there. He needs intensive treatment, security, safety, and continuity. He sounds like he just can't bear one more thing.

Furthermore I would find a new home for the cat or other animals. He can't be allowed to keep hurting people and animals.

For the time being if it was me I would find the very best child psychoanalyst you can find, if you are near a metropolitan area.

This is what I did for my son and I. Now 21 years later he died last week. He was such a great support for many years.

A child psychoanalyst is a child psychiatrist who has many years more training to deal with children who have suffered as have our children. But then on the other hand if your son would have to lose this relationship this would be worrisome too. But you could first go speak to this doctor and explain the situation and get help and counsel.

I am writing on a cell phone so can't go on at length. I will try to check back soon. I adopted a child who was 22 months. He had suffered greatly too. He is 32 now. I came here when he was 26. We are still dealing with the repercussions of his infancy. We will probably always be. I am sorry this is so hard.
 
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volunteerchild

New Member
Got him to a phd psychologist/counselor/Special Education teacher from the USA who happened to be here. Insurance told me to stay out of the USA with high costs or face a very high deductible and little money for treatment. The counselor has started counseling and calling the places in other nearby countries for hospital admission that has a high rating from the list the insurance provided. No, we don't change countries every few months. We lived in the last one for two years and was set for this one for five years. The counselor said it could be so many things or a combination of many things but for sure long term observation and medication adjustment etc along with long term therapy is in our lives for the future. She also said until I can find the cat another home and for myself to have a safety plan for now and in the future. Thank you for everyone's advice. I am reading the books suggested.
 

susiestar

Roll With It
I think that Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is highly likely. He could also be very high functioning autistic. I have some ideas and some concrete things that may help. This is probably going to be a long reply. Bear with me.

First, I think you need to read"The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. Then you need to read "Parenting With Love and Logic". I sort of combined these 2 things with my oldest.

You also need to have him evaluated for sensory integration disorder (also called sensory processing disorder). This is when your brain does not process input from your senses appropriately. It can truly feel like the entire world is attacking you. I know. I have this and so do all of my kids. The lovely thing? There are therapies that are proven to help the brain rewire how it processes sensory information. And it doesn't involve any medications. You need an occupational therapist to diagnose this and show you how to treat it. Brushing therapy is crucial. It involves taking a very soft brush (often an unsoaped surgical scrub brush) and brushing the body in a certain order followed by joint compressions. The difference in my kids with this therapy was astounding. The difference that I felt was astounding. You must be taught this by an occupational therapist because if you brush certain parts of the body it causes real problems like digestive problems. It is easy to learn though.

The other thing you do for sensory integration disorder is to provide a sensory diet. This means providing the kinds of sensations that meet his needs for sensory input. There are different types of sensory input, so you do different things depending on his challenges. As a parent, I loved providing the sensory diet for my kids. They are drawn to the types of sensory input that they need. So they think they are playing but you know that it is also therapy for them. This is the only kind of therapy that my oldest did not fight tooth and nail to avoid. The occupational therapist will help you figure out what types of sensations are needed. My kids all had sensory breaks at school. If they got overwhelmed by something, they could take a break to calm down with the sensory stimulation that they needed. They also were allowed to have things like fidget items in class. My oldest had a hard time paying attention unless his hands were busy. I got all kinds of fidget items for cheap at a party supply store. It contained a lot of things that were 3 or 4 times more expensive from occupational therapy supply stores.

To learn more about this disorder, read "The Out of Sync Child" by Kranowitz. Then get a copy of "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" by the same author. The first book is very scientific and detailed. The second book is packed with ideas to provide sensory input for whatever sensations your child needs. I think every parent should have this book. It is soooooooo much fun! If I got ready to do an outside activity, I had every kid in the neighborhood in my yard along with half of the parents. I didn't notify any of the neighbors, but they still showed up just the same. We actually wore out several copies of this book over the years. Because it is just that much fun. Therapy that the kids really like is such a nice change, or at least it was for me.

He may also have auditory processing disorder. Kids with auditory processing don't learn as well online because it is so dependent on what you are hearing. His brain may not be able to connect what he hears to the meaning of what he hears. There are other ways for him to learn, but you have to work to figure them out.

I suggest you look closely at what he eats. I found that my kids were far less able to cope with the world if they didn't have enough protein. I kept protein bars everywhere. If my kids had a sugary snack on an empty stomach, existing near them was difficult. If they had enough protein, they coped much better with the world. They also felt better and felt better about themselves. After a while, they noticed the difference. They are all adults now and they still notice the difference. My kids noticed it so much that if we went into a store to buy a snack, they wanted protein bars rather than candy bars. Win win for me! If I did not give my youngest child a snack with a decent amount of protein in it right after school, we couldn't take him anywhere. He would get overwhelmed and go into an almost catatonic state where he did not react to anything in the world outside his head. He just shut down. My oldest son just got rude and cranky if he was low on protein. But it was really rude and really cranky and NOT socially acceptable behavior. We found that snacks/meals that had 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat worked really well.

Your son will need logical consequences from his actions. With my kids, if they lied, cheated or stole to get something, they couldn't have it (or if they wanted to get out of it, they had to do it). Throw a fit over a video game? No more video games for a week. Over what is on television? No television for a few weeks. The more fits they threw, the longer they went without. You need real consistency no matter how pointless it seems at the time. My oldest said that by always following through with consequences, he knew he could trust us to keep him from really hurting anyone with his fits/bad behavior/whatevers. It made for some awful times, but as an adult he truly is appreciative that we followed through when we told him to stop or start doing something. He knew if I said it, I would get up and make it happen. Mostly because I would pretend not to know or see things if I didn't want to drop everything and go deal with it. I did have to teach my oldest son to stop tattling on himself because I just didn't want to deal with everything he thought to do. It took him waaaaaaay longer than it should have to learn to do this. Which always cracked his father and I up (in private, not around him). Because who has to give a kid lessons on not ratting himself out??? Apparently I did.

"Parenting with Love and Logic" teaches you to provide natural consequences for your child's actions. It isn't easy but it works.

With all the different doctors and therapists, you need to keep detailed and organized records. The link in my signature will take you to a thread about a Parent Report. It is also in the top thread or two of the General Forum. A Parent Report is a document you create about your child. You keep everything (and I mean everything!!!) in the report and you take it with you to all meetings about your child, no matter who the meetings are with. The thread about the report has an outline created by parents on this forum. I found this report to be the most powerful tool in my arsenal when it came to my kids. I could tell if a medication was tried already and what happened when we tried it. I could convey info to the doctors easily, which meant that each doctor was not trying to reinvent the wheel just because we were a new patient to them. I could show them what other doctors and therapists had done and were doing. It helped us make real progress. My middle child has other health issues and I used a Parent Report to keep her medical information all in one place. I strongly recommend that you write a Parent Report (as if you didn't have enough on your plate! But it really is worth it).

You also might want to read "Reality Therapy" by William Glasser. This is a therapy used in prisons all over the world. My Stepmother In Law travelled the world teaching this therapy to maximum security inmates with very long or life sentences. It helps you really see that your actions always have consequences. And it helps you decide if those consequences are worth doing whatever it is - BEFORE you do it. StepMIL would go in and teach a group of inmates this therapy. They used long term inmates for a reason. After the initial group learns to use the therapy, those inmates are taught to teach other inmates the therapy. It sets up a long term chain of figuring out that actions have consequences.

I know that sounds odd. How can people not know that actions have consequences? On some level people know this, but many of them are unable to connect the consequences to the actions. If I take a bite of chocolate cake, the consequences are getting that lovely taste in my mouth and all those calories that I need to burn off. If I hit myself in the hand with a hammer, my hand is going to hurt and may need medical care. You would be shocked at how many adults have not learned this lesson. Reality Therapy can help people make those connections in their brains. And it works faster than you would think.

I hope this isn't too overwhelming. If you have questions, feel free to reach out. I really hope things get better for you and your family. I do think that sending him away from you would be a very bad thing, especially if he has Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). But it could be some type of autism or some other problem. I think my oldest had every possible diagnosis under the sun at one time or other. It was a real alphabet soup that I needed to keep straight.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Do read on what Susie said although autism and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and ADHD are often hard to dissect and it is usually Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) that causes the most hurtful behaviors even though mist of our kids have many disorders... Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is the hardest. Read all your can on that in the most current books. The news about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) keeps upgrading as more is understood about it. What I know is probably outdated. You may have to stagger several disorders. Was the dear boy exposed to alcohol or other drugs during pregnancy? If so, this can cause various degrees of brain differences that can cause difficult behavior. It's so hard for them and us.

Please remember you are a good, loving Mom ad to be very good to yourself. Do not blame yourself ever. Maybe get into therapy yourself. We all needed to learn how to deal kindly with ourselves while watching a loved one fall apart. It can be done. Don't wait 3O years. Please. Be good to yourself....learn the tools to do so đź’—
 

volunteerchild

New Member
I think that Reactive Attachment Disorder (Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)) is highly likely. He could also be very high functioning autistic. I have some ideas and some concrete things that may help. This is probably going to be a long reply. Bear with me.

First, I think you need to read"The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. Then you need to read "Parenting With Love and Logic". I sort of combined these 2 things with my oldest.

You also need to have him evaluated for sensory integration disorder (also called sensory processing disorder). This is when your brain does not process input from your senses appropriately. It can truly feel like the entire world is attacking you. I know. I have this and so do all of my kids. The lovely thing? There are therapies that are proven to help the brain rewire how it processes sensory information. And it doesn't involve any medications. You need an occupational therapist to diagnose this and show you how to treat it. Brushing therapy is crucial. It involves taking a very soft brush (often an unsoaped surgical scrub brush) and brushing the body in a certain order followed by joint compressions. The difference in my kids with this therapy was astounding. The difference that I felt was astounding. You must be taught this by an occupational therapist because if you brush certain parts of the body it causes real problems like digestive problems. It is easy to learn though.

The other thing you do for sensory integration disorder is to provide a sensory diet. This means providing the kinds of sensations that meet his needs for sensory input. There are different types of sensory input, so you do different things depending on his challenges. As a parent, I loved providing the sensory diet for my kids. They are drawn to the types of sensory input that they need. So they think they are playing but you know that it is also therapy for them. This is the only kind of therapy that my oldest did not fight tooth and nail to avoid. The occupational therapist will help you figure out what types of sensations are needed. My kids all had sensory breaks at school. If they got overwhelmed by something, they could take a break to calm down with the sensory stimulation that they needed. They also were allowed to have things like fidget items in class. My oldest had a hard time paying attention unless his hands were busy. I got all kinds of fidget items for cheap at a party supply store. It contained a lot of things that were 3 or 4 times more expensive from occupational therapy supply stores.

To learn more about this disorder, read "The Out of Sync Child" by Kranowitz. Then get a copy of "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" by the same author. The first book is very scientific and detailed. The second book is packed with ideas to provide sensory input for whatever sensations your child needs. I think every parent should have this book. It is soooooooo much fun! If I got ready to do an outside activity, I had every kid in the neighborhood in my yard along with half of the parents. I didn't notify any of the neighbors, but they still showed up just the same. We actually wore out several copies of this book over the years. Because it is just that much fun. Therapy that the kids really like is such a nice change, or at least it was for me.

He may also have auditory processing disorder. Kids with auditory processing don't learn as well online because it is so dependent on what you are hearing. His brain may not be able to connect what he hears to the meaning of what he hears. There are other ways for him to learn, but you have to work to figure them out.

I suggest you look closely at what he eats. I found that my kids were far less able to cope with the world if they didn't have enough protein. I kept protein bars everywhere. If my kids had a sugary snack on an empty stomach, existing near them was difficult. If they had enough protein, they coped much better with the world. They also felt better and felt better about themselves. After a while, they noticed the difference. They are all adults now and they still notice the difference. My kids noticed it so much that if we went into a store to buy a snack, they wanted protein bars rather than candy bars. Win win for me! If I did not give my youngest child a snack with a decent amount of protein in it right after school, we couldn't take him anywhere. He would get overwhelmed and go into an almost catatonic state where he did not react to anything in the world outside his head. He just shut down. My oldest son just got rude and cranky if he was low on protein. But it was really rude and really cranky and NOT socially acceptable behavior. We found that snacks/meals that had 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat worked really well.

Your son will need logical consequences from his actions. With my kids, if they lied, cheated or stole to get something, they couldn't have it (or if they wanted to get out of it, they had to do it). Throw a fit over a video game? No more video games for a week. Over what is on television? No television for a few weeks. The more fits they threw, the longer they went without. You need real consistency no matter how pointless it seems at the time. My oldest said that by always following through with consequences, he knew he could trust us to keep him from really hurting anyone with his fits/bad behavior/whatevers. It made for some awful times, but as an adult he truly is appreciative that we followed through when we told him to stop or start doing something. He knew if I said it, I would get up and make it happen. Mostly because I would pretend not to know or see things if I didn't want to drop everything and go deal with it. I did have to teach my oldest son to stop tattling on himself because I just didn't want to deal with everything he thought to do. It took him waaaaaaay longer than it should have to learn to do this. Which always cracked his father and I up (in private, not around him). Because who has to give a kid lessons on not ratting himself out??? Apparently I did.

"Parenting with Love and Logic" teaches you to provide natural consequences for your child's actions. It isn't easy but it works.

With all the different doctors and therapists, you need to keep detailed and organized records. The link in my signature will take you to a thread about a Parent Report. It is also in the top thread or two of the General Forum. A Parent Report is a document you create about your child. You keep everything (and I mean everything!!!) in the report and you take it with you to all meetings about your child, no matter who the meetings are with. The thread about the report has an outline created by parents on this forum. I found this report to be the most powerful tool in my arsenal when it came to my kids. I could tell if a medication was tried already and what happened when we tried it. I could convey info to the doctors easily, which meant that each doctor was not trying to reinvent the wheel just because we were a new patient to them. I could show them what other doctors and therapists had done and were doing. It helped us make real progress. My middle child has other health issues and I used a Parent Report to keep her medical information all in one place. I strongly recommend that you write a Parent Report (as if you didn't have enough on your plate! But it really is worth it).

You also might want to read "Reality Therapy" by William Glasser. This is a therapy used in prisons all over the world. My Stepmother In Law travelled the world teaching this therapy to maximum security inmates with very long or life sentences. It helps you really see that your actions always have consequences. And it helps you decide if those consequences are worth doing whatever it is - BEFORE you do it. StepMIL would go in and teach a group of inmates this therapy. They used long term inmates for a reason. After the initial group learns to use the therapy, those inmates are taught to teach other inmates the therapy. It sets up a long term chain of figuring out that actions have consequences.

I know that sounds odd. How can people not know that actions have consequences? On some level people know this, but many of them are unable to connect the consequences to the actions. If I take a bite of chocolate cake, the consequences are getting that lovely taste in my mouth and all those calories that I need to burn off. If I hit myself in the hand with a hammer, my hand is going to hurt and may need medical care. You would be shocked at how many adults have not learned this lesson. Reality Therapy can help people make those connections in their brains. And it works faster than you would think.

I hope this isn't too overwhelming. If you have questions, feel free to reach out. I really hope things get better for you and your family. I do think that sending him away from you would be a very bad thing, especially if he has Reactive Attachment Disorder (Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)). But it could be some type of autism or some other problem. I think my oldest had every possible diagnosis under the sun at one time or other. It was a real alphabet soup that I needed to keep straight.
thank you.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Reality Therapy" by William Glasser.
Dear Susie and volunteerchild

I just bought this book online for $3.43 used. I can't believe I am only now paying attention. It seems to me that all of us need a book like this, to be called upon to rise above hurt and all manner of smallness.
No, we don't change countries every few months.
Volunteerchild. I was the parent who moved around too much. In different countries and throughout my state for work. I was called on it, and I didn't stop. I have rationalized the moving around in that my son had many experiences, and is trilingual., which gives him a lot of self-esteem. I apologize for projecting this onto you.

I think it's easy to look at what we do (don't do) as a way to make sense of what's happened. It is usually just self-flagellation. After all of these years I still do it. I am sorry.
 
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