New to this group - will it just get worse?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mom22, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. mom22

    mom22 New Member

    Hi - I am Mom to an 8 (almost 9 year old) who was placed with me almost 5 years ago through foster care. I am also Mom to his biological sister age 7. I don't know where to start. He has been challenging since the first weekend he was here. I am a single parent. My son is diagnosed with autism (high functioning), ADHD, Mood Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety. Friday we went from his psychiatric appointment straight to psychiatric hospital for admittance based on his Dr. recommendations. My son has always been oppositional and as he has gotten older this has transitioned into verbal and physical aggression. He is super quick to anger if his demands are not met, he is given any consequences, or he is asked to a do a non-preferred task. He yells, throws things, threatens to kill me. He has these behaviors in school as well. He also lies and steals.
    He is currently taking Abilify 15 mg, Concerta 36 mg, and Risperdal .5 mg. We have fleeting windows of great behavior and then he is a smart, loving, helpful child. When things seem to stop working his psychiatrist changes his medication and we get another short window of enjoying time in our home. This Friday when I was explaining to his Dr. that things have gotten worse and I am to the point where I feel like I may have to relinquish rights down the road if we keep going down this path, the Dr, recommended immediate intake. I did this reluctantly as I don't want to add to our problems by worsening attachment issues. The plan is to supposedly stop all medicines and start again with a clean slate. I cried all the way home.
    Yesterday I went to visit him. He was very "flat". After about 20 minutes of my being there he said very calmly "well this is a long talk". I explained that it wasn't a "talk" that I was there to see him and be with him. I cried all the way home again.
    I guess I'm wondering what to expect. I read some of the threads and there are a lot of older children. Will things just get worse? Is there any hope? I keep thinking (because I've been part of a lot of trauma type parent training) that if I just could parent him better, be more nurturing and forgiving even when he may have spit on me or called me nasty names, that I could heal him. I am worried what will happen when he comes back since he now seems so detached. I feel guilty that I wanted him out of the house to have an easier life for his sister and me. I wonder if he had different parents if he would be better. I wonder if maybe I don't understand the autism well enough and I am too hard on him....
  2. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    And how is his sister doing in your care? No problem?

    Then keep in mind you are raising her too, so the problems with your son are not due to "parenting"! I've seen other cases like this. The boy will be a monster but his sister raised by the same parents will be an angel. Some things are genetic/biological.
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    You brought up attachment issues. He came to you older and probably needs attachment therapy to get better. I adopted two older kids. One was well behaved but detached and didnt need us as he got older because he is brilliant and has his own company. He often said growing up he didnt need parents. He walked away ten years ago. He had lots and lots of love, but he still was able to articulate that he wanted to feel attached to us but could not. After he married, that was it. We adopted him at age six.

    The second child was 11 and strangled two of our dogs snd sexually molested our younger two (also adopted, but at very young ages. Yes, that makes a huge difference). We told CPS to take him...we could not deal with somethings like killing animals (he acted as if he loved our pets in front of us) and the molestation....we were in over our heads and had to protect our younger children. Our family is strong and tight and ten years later, we are good, but he had to go for the safety of all of us. Again, we treated him with uber love but I learned that love is not enough if the damage before we get them is too great. Obviously he was molested somewhere but doesnt remember. Also he was abused/neglected from birth plus birthmother used drugs during her pregnancy. That is not kind to a developing brain. This child finally got diagnosed with Severe Reactive Attachment Disorder. Before the dog killings and molestation happened, nobody ever diagnosed him with anything except cognitive delays and that he was a great kid. We would not have adopted s child we felt would get violent but he was a master at acting sweet to adults and fooled even psychiatrists. No cognitive drlays. He was smart!!

    Boys tend to act out worse but girls can too.

    The three children I adopted young are normal and do not act out and we are very close. One has a form of autism but does not act out...he is very sweet and at 23 he us financially independent and doing well. He always had lots of autism intervenrions. Your sons autism doesnt help. He needs interventions for that too.

    How will this end for you? Not one of us here can tell you. Have ypu read books on attachment parenting? Nancy Thompson? I would. I would also find a therapist specific to adoption/attachment.

    This is not sbout your parenting or his sister. Different kids process lack of early attachment differently plus drug/alcohol use in utero can change and damage the brain. So love, consistency, etc DOES NOT NECESSARILY DO the trick. Many foster kids have been bounced around so much with such neglectful early years that love scares them and the more you love them the more they pull away.

    I hope you do your homework and find an adoption oriented therapist (others tend to not understand adoption issues) and that you make good choices for you. Test your gut. Does it feel right? Are you able to handle whatever? He could get worse, yes. He is very sick and if he had been exposed to drugs/alcohol in the womb some may be brain damage.

    Nobody can tell you the outcome. I just shared my own stories. If asked, based on my experiences and those of other adoptive parents in a large group I belonged to, I tell prospective adoptive parents to adopt as young as possible and to screen often if the child was exposed to drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. I wish I had never adopted the 11 year old, but we wanted to love a child who might never get a home and we loved him. It backfired, at least for us. He expressed no remorse in tje lock down reside tial home he was taken to.

    The county (not us, we didnt even have a say in it) charged him with sexual abuse of a minor because our daughter was six years younger than him. Six years is the magic number. He was 13 at the time, found guiltu, taken to a sort of child residential juvy center...and he tried to molest other kids even there! We rescinded the adoption.

    Take care. Read. Learn. Join an adoptive parent group so you can real time speak to others in your situation. There are many. Adopting an older child possibly with brain damage from substances is not like parenting a typical child and is not for the faint of heart.

    Some unattached kids actually do better in a residential setting where they are not under pressure to show or receive love. It is a big stress to unattached kids. And then with help some do attach but threatening to kill you is not good. Lock up everything sharp, fire arms and matches.

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  4. mom22

    mom22 New Member

    Yes, his sister is doing well! She has some issues that are typical with kids from early trauma - she will frustrate easily or get overwhelmed when a task is hard, has some sensory processing issues, and can be distant when meeting new people but otherwise happy, joyful, social with friends, and does well in school. I do see differences in their personalities and their windows of tolerance that suggest that he is just wired differently despite them experiencing similar early trauma and abuse. The other catch is that they both do amazingly better when the other is not around.
  5. mom22

    mom22 New Member

    Thank you for sharing your story. We have worked with some attachment specialists but where the parenting strategies and support work for his sister, it just never sticks with hm. He is doing great today in the hospital and actually seems happy. I am thinking long and hard about your last comments saying that for kids who can't attach, it may be easier in residential. I don't know if that is him or not but it would be hard to believe based on his behavior in the hospital over the last two days that he is the same child who charges me, has broken doors, and makes such horrific threats. I'll check out the book you recommended.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Here is s story similar to yours with the boy/girl factor.

    Friends adopted a 1 and 2 year old, girl and boy sibling group. Mother was a drug abuser with schizophrenia and so they were exposed in utero and predisposed to mental illness. Both were awful for a long time.Boy would get violent and become psychotic. Police there often.

    The parents tried everything. Along the way both kids were sent to a day treatment school. It was a Godsend for the girl. She turned it around and has been great and normal ever since. She is my FB friend and doing so well.

    The boy got worse and started getting more violent with psychotic episodes. The police kept coming. Finally one day he tried to touch his eight year old younger sister. To a psychologist he admitted that he, a twelve year old, was attracted to young children and wanted to have sex with them including but not limited to his younger sister.

    He never lived at home again. Too risky to his younger sister and other neighborhood kids. He did visit home with intense supervision but grew very ill and never got better.

    Just another weird example of two kids, both given the same help, with the girl doing well and the boy not. They feel besides attachment problems that tje boy may develop schizophrenia, like his birthmother.

    I dont know for sure if boys do worse than girls in adoption situations, just my example, this and one more boy who burned the family house down. While his family watched the house being destroyed he showed no emotion and finally asked,"can we gat McDonalds?" The mother had to be held back. She was going for his throat.

    I hear he never got better either. He was removed from the family at their request and they had to live in a hotel for a few months while the house was rebuilt. He had threatened to hurt them, but the parents didnt believe he would really try to do it. But he did.

    You are not alone, trust me.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  7. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Mom. None of us has a crystal ball, so we don't know how anything will turn out in the future. Just do your best and keep hoping for personal growth. Please don't feel like his behavior is a reflection on your parenting; it isn't. Some children are simply more difficult. It's about the two of you learning to work better as a team.