• Blog Stats

    • 39,333 hits
  • Abraham Lincoln on Criticism

    "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
  • Consider the Cost

    "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." ~Winston Churchill
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 578 other followers

  • Charles Spurgeon

    "Our blessed Lord reveals himself to his people more in the valleys, in the shades, in the deeps, than he does anywhere else. He has a way and an art of showing himself to his children at midnight, making the darkness light by his presence."
  • Progress through Perseverance

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; And who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. It is far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight of life, knowing neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  • Psalm 7:10-17

    God will uncase the hypocrites ere long, and make them know, to their sorrow, what is was to trifle with Him." - Richard Baxter
  • Prayer Requests

    Andrew, Jillian - in college
    Andrew, Nathaniel - Marine sons
    Jacob - Navy son

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
  • Pages

  • Meta

Fish oil may have positive effects on mood, alcohol craving, new study shows

Fish oil may have positive effects on mood, alcohol craving, new study shows.

This Woman’s Story Sounds So Familiar…

Monday, December 13, 2010, 5:59 PM – a story from a fellow adoptive mom…

The local caseworker told us early on (when they were threatening to charge us with neglect for not picking up our RAD daughter from the teen shelter after her two weeks were up) that DCFS “does not want your other kids. We don’t want Rob [either]”.

Yet we were repeatedly and relentlessly threatened with the loss of our other children and they actually filed a petition asking the judge to make them wards of the state (although not to take custody of them), then tortured us for over a year and a half by making sure the judge never ruled on that petition. I have heard horror stories about familys who were destroyed when DCFS pulled their other children as punishment for refusing to take back their very troubled RAD child/ren or in response to wild tales of abuse cooked up by the “problem child”. In those cses, the other children were severely traumatized and never the same by the abuses they suffered in foster care (often from the child/ren who the parents had been trying to protect them from in the first place) and by “the system” in general.

It totally destroys a child’s sense of safety to be pulled form a family where there is *not* a problem, especially when they have just gotten free of a troubled sibling and are now dumped back into a home with him or her – most often one where the [foster] parents are clueless and thus unable to stop the abuses.

I found myself searching for a source for cyanide and wondering how many peach pits it would take to cook up a fatal batch myself so I could take brownies with poisoned frosting to my first “visit” if they pulled my other kids – so all of us could die together and be safely in the hands of God instead of in hands of DCFS (state child protective services) — that’s when I began looking for a safe house for my children to go to during every court hearing and pulled the last one of them out of the public schools.

DCFS in IL is notorious for being cowardly and pulling children out of the schools instead of visiting their homes. I’ve heard terrible tales of how parents panicked when their kids didn’t show up after school and didn’t find out they were in DCFS custody until the next day. Most of those cases I’ve heard of were those where the kids were pulled in retaliation, not for actual abuses. And we have fostered 3 dozen DCFS wards, so I’ve heard those parents’ stories too. I have a friend whose 9 year old son broke his arm at a Little League game. The next day, a (particularly nasty) neighbor called CPS, telling them that his father had hit him with a baseball bat in the backyard. They pulled the child from his classroom in the middle of the school day without even talking with his teacher, his Little League coach or either of his parents. It took them almost a week to get him returned to their home. The poor child began wetting the bed and has severe separation anxiety and all of her children had trouble sleeping for months afterward.

At the very least, you should talk with your other children’s schools – principles, teachers, guidance counselors, maybe also bus drivers – and let them know what’s going on and what the dangers to your other kids are. Ideally, most of those people already know because you’ve had to explain to them why your children have been a little odd in school during your troubled child’s latest bad spell. I’d include any after school caregivers, coaches, scout leaders, etc. It helped us greatly that our school principal knew what we’d been going through so he was able to sit in on the CPS investigator’s interview of my 6 year old (they just couldn’t do it in our home?) and served as a buffer for her if the questions got scary and kept a leash on the CPS guy so he didn’t intimidate her.

This was early-on in my RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) daughter’s ever-escalating accusation history, so they had not yet threatened to take the other children away. You cannot assume that DCFS/CPS will behave in a reasonable fashion. It seems there is no limit to what kind of stunts they will pull just to prove their power over everyone and immunity to the consequences of their actions.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome series: Living with FASD

Here is an article that does a pretty good job of explaining some of the difficulties that those with FASD encounter: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome series: Living with FASD.

Eva and Rick’s Incredible Journey

Wow. Check out this story about a single mom and her adopted son with FASD. It will give you a good look at some of the things our family has lived through  – a journey not many can identify with or even try to understand.

“He wore out his welcome in a few months wherever he went and had survived at least 13 homes by the time he came to live with me. One of his “homes” was the psychiatric ward of a county hospital where he stayed for three months when he was two. Immediately preceding this, he visited his birth mom and returned in a catatonic state. He wouldn’t stop rocking and staring into space. His foster parents couldn’t break his trance and after a few hours took him to the emergency room. When he was discharged, they refused to take him back.

All of the placements ended because of alleged abuse in the foster home or because Rick was no longer wanted. Because of this I expected him to have an attachment disorder but when he was 5 a pediatric neurologist diagnosed him as having possible Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and prescribed Ritalin. My medical dictionary and other research didn’t tell me much; just that it was a cause of mental retardation. Rick didn’t look like the photos and had none of the physical characteristics. I dismissed it. I was in denial. I figured a secure, stable, loving home would work wonders for my Ricky.”

To read the rest of this article go to: http://ninezeroproject.blogspot.com/2010/05/eva-and-ricks-incredible-journey.html

Stress Test

Stressed Out?

STRESS I am not sure exactly how this works, but this is amazingly accurate. The picture below has 2 identical dolphins in it. It was used in a case study on stress levels at the Mayo Clinic and later at Fletcher Medical Center in Burlington.

Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water. The dolphins are identical. A closely monitored, scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact that the dolphins are identical, a person under stress will find many differences between the two dolphins. The more differences a person finds, the more stress that person is experiencing.

Look at the photograph and if you find more than one or two differences you may need to take a vacation.

Scroll down…

Chicago Tribune – FASD Misunderstood by Courts

Click here to read an article in the Chicago Tribune about a young man diagnosed with FASD that is presently in the court system. It will give you an idea of what deficits those with FASD struggle with – these issues are life long because of brain damage in utero caused by the birth mother drinking alcohol during her pregnancy.

World wide interest has been sparked by the story of the little boy who was sent back to Russia by his adoptive parents. His special needs that were too much for the family to handle.  Many FASD children are sent here from Russia to American adoptive families, often without the families being aware of the extent of their special needs.

A Plea for Help From an Adoptive Parent

I have a friend on my adoptive parents Yahoo email group who is in dire need of a solution to her family problem. She’s in the place we were months ago with no solution in sight. She has one week. I am asking prayer for her and her family as well as any input you all might has as to a solution. Below is part of her story from her blog, Adoption Drama…The System. She lives in Michigan. The comment in red with brackets is mine.

Michigan’s Post-Adoption Support Fails Youth, Families, and the Community.

I am an adoptive mom and a professional in the foster care system. I cannot sit back and watch the post adopt system fail our children. The children that are in adoptive homes today and those awaiting adoption. At the time of adoption, some children qualify for Michigan’s Adoption Subsidy support – medical and/or financial support. The concept of this support is to provide adopted children and their families with the support they need to meet the needs of the adopted child that were present prior to adoption. These needs are considered prior to signing of the adoption document. A family has to option of submitting documentation after the adoption is finalized to add other conditions that were present before adoption but not diagnosed until after adoption. No where in any of the support, does it say there is a limit to how much they will cover for the qualified condition.

My son is 16. He came into foster care when he was 4 and adopted when he was 5. The conditions he lived in prior to adoption have had a lasting impact on who he is and how he operates in society. Its like he is miss-wired because of the abuse he suffered (prenatal drug exposure, severe physical abuse and neglect). His behaviors started around age 6 and became out of control at age 12. Things continued to escalate and he went for residential treatment at 14 1/2 years of age. Well in the first facility, things got worse and he acted out more, placing more people in danger. He was moved to another residential program and spent the last 1 1/2 years there. He’s completed their program but not without incident. Their program has not addressed all of his behaviors or needs, but has touched the tip of the iceberg.

FUNDING HAS STOPPED. Despite the fact that he has not addressed the initial needs that placed him at risk or a danger to himself or others, FUNDING HAS STOPPED. It doesn’t seem to matter that the need hasn’t stopped – the qualifying need that got him adoption subsidy. But all they can say is, “FUNDING HAS STOPPED.”

The reality is that if he makes any of the same choices he made prior to going to residential treatment, he will go to prison. The reality is that he has lived in a very structured program of 2 years and they are just open the door and send him on his way. No transition back into the community, even though programs exist to help him transition back and be successful. All this because FUNDING HAS STOPPED.

Where is the adoption subsidy support that is suppose to help him get the care to address the needs without a limit? Without a limit doesn’t align with “Funding has stopped.” Helping him be as successful as he can be given the past he was dealt, isn’t a part of their plan. Where are my son’s rights to care and treatment from adoption subsidy?

The transitional program costs money. If I had the money, I’d pay for it myself. I don’t have the kind of money the program costs. I want nothing more than for my son and the other adopted children in the same situation and the foster children with the same struggles that are waiting to be adopted to have a chance for a successful future. To be given the opportunity to use the “support” from adoption subsidy they were promised. As adoptive parents, if we don’t pick them up when funding ends even though the need has not, the state threatens to file CPS neglect charges on the parent. Yet, Adoption Subsidy it the one who is neglecting their need and the agreement to support the treatment of that need. [If we bring them home and a child is hurt, we will be charged with “failure to protect. This is a lose/lose situation for the adoptive families.]

Please help me help my son and others in the same situation. Our funding is scheduled to end on 3/19/2010. Coming home places me and the other children in the home at risk due to his violent and sexual behaviors. He has threatened to kill me and tried once before. I love my son dearly and want for him to have a chance of being successful. Home and back in the community is not where he belongs right now.

Consuming Alcohol During Pregnancy

November 23, 2009

A new study from Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research has found evidence that the amount and timing of alcohol consumption in pregnancy affects child behaviour in different ways. 
 
The study has just been published online in the international journal Addiction. Lead author Colleen O’Leary said the analysis was drawn from a random sample of more than 2000 mothers who completed a questionnaire three months after the baby’s delivery, and were then followed up when the child was 2, 5 and 8 years of age. 
 
“Mothers who reported what we would classify as heavy drinking in the first trimester of were nearly three times as likely to report that their child suffered with anxiety and/or depression or somatic complaints,” Ms O’Leary said. “Those who drank moderately during that first trimester were twice as likely to report those types of behavioural issues for their child. 
 
“Exposure to moderate or heavy levels of alcohol in late pregnancy increased the risk of aggressive types of behaviours in the child. “This research suggests that both the timing and the intensity of alcohol exposure in the womb affect the type of behaviour problems expressed.” 
 
In this study low levels of alcohol did not increase the risk of harm to the baby. However, the evidence clearly shows that the risk to the baby increases with increasing amounts consumed. “It should also be noted that in this study moderate exposure is classified as drinking 3-4 standard drinks per occasion- that’s about two normal glasses of wine-and no more than a bottle of wine drunk over a week.” Heavy drinking included women who were drinking the equivalent of more than a bottle of wine per week.
 
Note: I just received a letter from an adoption agency that placed one of my kids in our home for adoption, saying that their birth mother consumed 40+ ounces of alcohol a day and was addicted to cocaine during her pregnancies. She had been referred to rehabs many times but didn’t go. Why do mothers do this to their children?  This is one disability, FASD, that can be prevented. Not only can the child’s future behavior be affected by the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy, but there can be physical and mental damage as well.

Sociopaths, Psychopaths, Borderline Personalities, Etc.

OH MY, OH MY! I just ran across this today – very interesting reading for those of us who have experienced difficult children through adoption. Click here. Here and here are other sites that speak of these disorders.

This is an excerpt from an article on Answers.com:

  • The key characteristics of a sociopath include: (1) having no conscience, (2) inability to treat others as human beings, with feelings and rights and (3) inability to learn from experience, from life. One result of this last is gross immaturity, though it may be hidden unless one knows the person well. A sociopath behaves as if he/she were the only person in the whole world and as if everyone else just existed for their benefit and had no existence in their own right. (4) Sociopaths treat other people as toys and hanker after the power to control and hurt their ‘nearest and dearest’. (5) Many are monumentally self-important: they may pretend to be millionaires when in reality they are sliding towards financial disaster. (6) Habitual dishonesty.
  • He will charm his way into your life and heart, then take complete advantage of you – your emotions, your finances, your intellect. He will make you think you are the crazy one. Your friends will see right through him. He will isolate you from your friends and possibly your family. He cannot hold a job and will probably commit crimes – theft, fraud, forgery, and spend time in jail or prison. He will abuse drugs or alcohol. He may abuse you.

Power Point by Adoptive Parent

He's my sonClick here for a Power Point that shows the story of one adoptive family’s struggle to get help for their emotionally disabled child.

Those of us with similar stories find that Michigan does not want to fund residential treatment centers though often they are the only solution for families with these types of kids. They cannot risk keeping them in the home due to safety issues.

It appears we will be losing our funding for our son’s residential treatment center at the end of November. The state would be willing to continue funding if we’d rescind our adoption and place him back in the custody of the state welfare system. Unfortunately, saving money (versus serving the best interests of a child) is their goal.

Inmate Gets Not-Guilty Ruling Due to FASD

 By Steven Elbow, The Capital Times, posted Nov. 1, 2009

 Tyler Mills finally got what he wanted: a mental defect that carries some weight in court.

The 30-year-old state prison inmate last week was found not guilty of a crime because of defects caused by his exposure to alcohol when still in the womb. Experts who track court cases involving fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) say it’s the first time in Wisconsin a defendant has won a not-guilty verdict because of the array of physical and mental defects caused by alcohol use by pregnant women.

And some think it could open the door to a more enlightened approach to dealing with criminal defendants suffering the effects of the disorder. Todd Winstrom, formerly an attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin, the state-appointed advocacy group for disabled individuals, says the case sets an important precedent.

“Fetal alcohol has actually finally achieved some legal recognition in Wisconsin as a condition that could lead someone to be found not guilty by reason of insanity,” says Winstrom, who for years tried to get jails to provide Mills with the psychological and medical treatment he needed. “The hope that this gives me is that the system now will respond to Tyler and hopefully to others like him with a n approach that’s grounded more in an understanding of the disorder and some attempt to provide treatment and intervention rather than corrections and punishment.”

For Mills, its a hard-won personal victory that comes after years of disappointment.

“I think it was my stubbornness that paid off,” he says.

In early 2008, Mills was being passed from jail to jail in counties where he had committed a string of petty financial crimes, mostly stealing credit cards. He says a man he met in a federal corrections halfway house led him on the crime spree. But the charge that landed him his current seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence was child enticement. The charge stemmed from Mills’ attempt to meet up with a 14-year-old girl he met on the Internet, whom he later discovered was a police officer conducting an Internet sting operation.

An Eau Claire County jury in that case found that while his fetal alcohol defects constituted a mental disease, they didn’t cause him to commit the crime. Last week Mills appeared in Pierce County court to answer to two charges of identity theft, both for stealing ID cards. In a deal struck between his attorney and prosecutors he agreed to plead guilty to both charges. But the district attorney agreed to stipulate that on one charge he was not guilty by reason of mental defect. The judge ordered three years of commitment by the state Department of Health Services to be carried out concurrently with his current sentence, which will likely mean he will go to a mental hospital.

He’s currently appealing his Eau Claire County conviction, but if he fails he will have to spend another two years in prison to finish off his sentence in that case in addition to his mental commitment. In itself, Tyler Mill’s plea hearing was an insignificant court event, one of thousands of plea deals reached every year in Wisconsin courts. But for defendants with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which some estimate make up thousands of Wisconsin prison inmates, and their advocates, it’s a ray of hope.

The resolution would have had more impact as a precedent if it had been decided by a judge or a jury, rather than being the result of an agreement between attorneys. “It would have been better had it been on record in terms of a ruling,” says Natalie Novick Brown, a clinical psychologist at the University of Washington’s Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit. But she says that because a judge endorsed the defense argument that Mills was not guilty because of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, “We still regard it as a foot in the door.”

Brown says recent years have seen an increased volume of case law dealing with fetal alcohol issues, mostly death row cases such as a recent Nevada case where the perpetrator was spared the death penalty. One case involving a Louisiana death row inmate was even considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court eventually denied review.

“The fact that there is growing awareness in the legal system is positive,” says Novick Brown, who spends much of her time supporting the cases of criminal defendants with FASD and who has testified on behalf of Mills during his trial. The resolution of Mills’ case, she says, “is just another indication that people are paying attention to FASD as a legal argument.”

But the attorney who struck the deal on Mills’ behalf, Liesl Nelson of Hudson, questions the value of the case as a precedent. “I don’t know that it necessarily throws the door open for the next guy that comes along,” she says. But Nelson praised Pierce County District Attorney John O’Boyle, who didn’t return a phone call seeking comment, for going along with the agreement.

“I really respect a prosecutor who finally looks at this and goes, ‘Let’s do the smart thing here,'” she says. “I really give him a lot of points for that because nobody else has been able to do that yet, to say, ‘Let’s try smarter, not harder.'”

Capital Times story in May 2008 chronicled Mills’ odyssey through the criminal justice system at a time when his appalling behavior in jails usually got him thrown into solitary confinement, which typically inspired even worse behavior. He infuriated prison officials by creating scenes, attempting suicide, spreading food and feces on the wall of his cell. He has a compulsion for eating objects like tooth brushes, razor blades and pencils, and on at least one occasion jail officials refused to provide medical treatment for complications from objects lodged in his stomach.

Mills had been facing more than 100 years in possible prison time mostly for petty financial crimes. Most of those cases have been resolved, many of them dismissed because of the time and expense it would have taken to prosecute them. Only the Pierce County case remained.

“It was the last chance he had to persuade someone that his fetal alcohol was an important factor,” says Nelson, his attorney. “That was a huge moment for him, to have somebody acknowledge that.”

It is still unclear when Mills’ mental commitment would start. He was taken from Pierce County to the Wisconsin Resource Center, the Department of Corrections program facility where he spent the last year. The center gave Mills a job, put him in classes and kept him busy every minute of the day, providing a rigid daily structure that is the only way many with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can function. Most experts consider solitary confinement to be one of the worst possible punishments, but one Mills is all too familiar with.

As his Pierce County case wound down, the Department of Corrections was on the verge of sending Mills back to the general prison population, where if his past is any guide he would undoubtedly act out, and once again find himself alone, staring at the wall of a cell.

Nelson says after the Department of Corrections and th e Department of Health Services hashes out the details, they’ll likely send Mills to a mental treatment facility. The Corrections Department would be crazy to want him, she says. Placing him back in prison where there are no resources to deal with his behavior problems would be punishment not only to Mills, but to corrections personnel as well.

“They just don’t have the resources to deal with him.”

Things never got any better for him…

Here is a brief description of the son of one of my Yahoo friends. I put these stories on my blog to hopefully open the eyes of those around me to some of the issues surrounding special needs adoption. Realize that just because you don’t see some of these behaviors doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Parents don’t usually share such things with family or friends because they feel a need to protect their children from the hurt of rejection. As well, we as the  parents of these kids wish to be accepted and supported, but fear that if we share too much, our children and even our entire family, will be avoided and judged. So we choose to isolate ourselves rather than risk it. It’s kind of like a self-fulfilled prophecy. 

Read about Mrs. Brown’s son:

RAD [attachment issues] is certainly possible in toddler age children, as is early onset bipolar. Doctors don’t like to medicate that early, as they like more time to see what is going on. My son who was adopted at age 2 1/2 was diagnosed at age 4 with severe ADHD [attention deficit hyperactive disorder] and ODD [oppositional defiant disorder], to the point of mania.

It was SO hard to get through those first months before they would medicate him at age 4. But he was a danger to himself – he was so bad off.  He would run around the yard to fast he would smack right into a tree.  He started out on Cylert and Clonidine to help him calm down and help him sleep (which he didn’t do much of).  As he grew so did his Dx’s, to Bipolar, attachment disorders, Conduct Disorder, and something about rages; I can’t remember what they called it. To put it mildly, he was violent.

He was born alcohol and drug exposed and was premature. He had frontal lobe damage, which is the part of the brain that controls emotions. His emotions were out of control. He had to leave our home when he was 9 due to his violence, attacking my (older) daughters. He would spend his nights chewing thru his (metal) screens, ripping up floor boards, and destroying furniture.

People around here didn’t know how bad it was at home; he tried to hold it together out in public and at school for whatever reason. Then he came home and blew apart. So of course the lovely folks in this town assumed it was my fault. Even when he couldn’t hold it together at school any more and started doing more and more outrageous stuff there, they still blamed me. [They thought] I must be abusive to have a child like this. They knew his birth history, but still blamed it on me. Says alot for their intelligence, huh ?

During one of his rages, I managed to get him to the ER, where they recommended a stay in a pediatric psych unit. He never came home again. From there he went to more permanent psych hospital stays and RTCs [residential treatment centers]. Things never got any better for him. He is 19 now.

This is a typical story of an adoptive child who was adopted with serious issues. When an adoptive parent puts themself out there to bring these kids into their family and try to provide a normal, caring home, please do not blame them for the children’s behaviors or judge their parenting techniques. You have no idea what it is like to live with these kids until you have done it yourself. If you ever dared to step out and do as they have, you will undoubetedly become very sympathetic to their family. Support them, love them, and do what you can to help them. They ought to be admired, not judged. And, when they say, “My child came to us with issues that are very hard to deal with,” – believe them! 

Things never got any better for him…

Here is a brief description of the son of one of my Yahoo friends. I put these stories on my blog to hopefully open the eyes of those around me to some of the issues surrounding special needs adoption. Realize that just because you don’t see some of these behaviors doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Parents don’t usually share such things with family or friends because they feel a need to protect their children from the hurt of rejection. As well, we as the  parents of these kids wish to be accepted and supported, but fear that if we share too much, our children and even our entire family, will be avoided and judged. So we choose to isolate ourselves rather than risk it. It’s kind of like a self-fulfilled prophecy. 

Read about Mrs. Brown’s son:

RAD [attachment issues] is certainly possible in toddler age children, as is early onset bipolar. Doctors don’t like to medicate that early, as they like more time to see what is going on. My son who was adopted at age 2 1/2 was diagnosed at age 4 with severe ADHD [attention deficit hyperactive disorder] and ODD [oppositional defiant disorder], to the point of mania.

It was SO hard to get through those first months before they would medicate him at age 4. But he was a danger to himself – he was so bad off.  He would run around the yard to fast he would smack right into a tree.  He started out on Cylert and Clonidine to help him calm down and help him sleep (which he didn’t do much of).  As he grew so did his Dx’s, to Bipolar, attachment disorders, Conduct Disorder, and something about rages; I can’t remember what they called it. To put it mildly, he was violent.

He was born alcohol and drug exposed and was premature. He had frontal lobe damage, which is the part of the brain that controls emotions. His emotions were out of control. He had to leave our home when he was 9 due to his violence, attacking my (older) daughters. He would spend his nights chewing thru his (metal) screens, ripping up floor boards, and destroying furniture.

People around here didn’t know how bad it was at home; he tried to hold it together out in public and at school for whatever reason. Then he came home and blew apart. So of course the lovely folks in this town assumed it was my fault. Even when he couldn’t hold it together at school any more and started doing more and more outrageous stuff there, they still blamed me. [They thought] I must be abusive to have a child like this. They knew his birth history, but still blamed it on me. Says alot for their intelligence, huh ?

During one of his rages, I managed to get him to the ER, where they recommended a stay in a pediatric psych unit. He never came home again. From there he went to more permanent psych hospital stays and RTCs [residential treatment centers]. Things never got any better for him. He is 19 now.

This is a typical story of an adoptive child who was adopted with serious issues. When an adoptive parent puts themself out there to bring these kids into their family and try to provide a normal, caring home, please do not blame them for the children’s behaviors or judge their parenting techniques. You have no idea what it is like to live with these kids until you have done it yourself. If you ever dared to step out and do as they have, you will undoubetedly become very sympathetic to their family. Support them, love them, and do what you can to help them. They ought to be admired, not judged. And, when they say, “My child came to us with issues that are very hard to deal with,” – believe them! 

Another Adoption Story

Watching the Waters blog has a post about adoption and disruption (Disruption is when a family decides they can’t properly parent a difficult child, so they find another adoptive family for their child).  Here is part of the article:

“This is a hard post to write, because I don’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to open us up to attack, and partly because I just don’t want this to be my life. 

We need to find a new home for our son,  AngryBoy.

I know there are many people out there who do not understand disruption, and to them I say, I am so happy for you.  I am relieved that you have never known the agony that the last two years has been for our family, and I pray that you never will.  There was a time when I, too, may have been judgmental of disruption.  Now I know that it is possible to go to that decision kicking and screaming, but with no other options.

Five years ago, I saw a picture of this little boy…”

To read more, click here here.

Behavior Management for Child with FASD

BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR CHILD with FASD

Overview of Behavioral Issues Associated with Fetal Alcohol [Spectrum Disorder]

Specific Behavior Plan for child

I. Create rules that target specific behaviors.

II. Provide constant positive feedback when rules are not being broken.

III. Provide immediate, unemotional time-outs when a rule is broken.

IV. Adjust the environment to make it easy to follow rules.

V. Assess effectiveness of plan on a regular basis and make adjustments.

Overview of Behavioral Issues Associated with Fetal Alcohol Effects In working with and managing his behavior, it will be helpful to understand a few things about fetal alcohol affected brains:

• For most of us, the part of the brain that has impulses and the part that knows the rules are in constant easy communication. So we have an impulse to do something, we check it against what we know to be acceptable rules of behavior, and we make a conscious choice whether or not to break a rule. But in fetal alcohol affected brains, the connection between those two areas is faulty or missing. So the child has an impulse to do something, and by the time the part of the brain that knows the rules is even aware of the impulse, the action has already taken place, and most likely somebody is already yelling at the child about it. So you can have a kid who knows the rules, wants to follow the rules, is upset about breaking the rules, yet still breaks them. At the moment of action, he’s working purely on impulse.

• And since impulsive behavior is almost by definition without reason, asking a fetal alcohol affected child why he did something and not taking “I don’t know” for an answer is pretty much insisting that he lie. They don’t know why they do it. They may not even know what they did. So you’ll either get gobs of denial and defensiveness, or you’ll get a spontaneous excuse that defies credulity. Imagination and creativity are some of the positive attributes of people with FAE [FASD], but when they’re used in service of getting out of trouble, they usually result in a tall tale that makes matters worse.

• Social and emotional development lags way, way, way behind in people with FAE. Teens and young adults with FAE often have an emotional developmental age of about 6. So with an elementary-school-aged child, you have to figure they may be working at a toddler stage at best. You have to adjust everything to that level — expectations, supervision, privileges, rules, discipline. People with FAE tend to be verbal well beyond their level of understanding, and it may be tempting to assume that that clever and talkative child is able to understand social rules at a much more sophisticated level. It’s a mistake.

• Stress makes things worse. A confusing thing with FAE [FASD] kids is that sometimes they seem to be able to do things and sometimes they don’t, and it’s natural to assume that that indicates willfulness. But in fact their ability to control their behavior declines in proportion to the amount of stress they are experiencing. This can be obvious stress — a noisy place, difficult schoolwork, disruptions of routine — or less obvious, particularly in kids with sensory integration problems who react to things in the environment the rest of us wouldn’t even notice. Sometimes the loss of control happens well after a stressful event — if a child uses up a lot of resources getting through something hard early in the day, he may run out of control late in the day. Because of these relatively unchangeable facts of an FAE [FASD] child’s life, strategies that rely on self-control and presume willfulness; that require an advanced level of maturity and responsibility; or that increase the level of stress will be ineffective at best and may in fact escalate bad behavior.

These may include:

• Negative consequences.

• Big positive consequences.

• Escalating consequences.

• Nagging to stop behavior.

• Pressure not to break rules.

• Abstract rules like “Be respectful.”

• A choice offered between compliance and negative consequence.

• Behavior modification On the other hand, strategies that do not presume control; that don’t put undue weight on behavioral slip-ups; that are suited to the child’s level of emotional maturity; and that decrease the level of stress will be more effective, and at the least will not escalate bad behavior.

These may include:

• Positive consequences, on a modest scale, delivered immediately.

• Distraction from misbehavior.

• Brief time-outs, delivered consistently and matter-of-factly.

• Changing of environment to make success more likely.

• Behavior analysis to assist in changing of environment.

• Constant positive feedback and encouragement.

• Specific rules like “No hitting.”

• Choices in which both options are acceptable to adult.

• Behavior management

To read more of this article click here.  Thanks, Jill for the info.

A Three Day Snapshot – Day 3

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

with temper tantrums orToday he pulled the same thing at the CMH appointment.  I knew there would be toys to play with and told him ahead of time that if there were little cars or legos he’d have to play with something else, as he’d been grounded from those for behavior, and that if you are grounded from something at home, you are grounded from it everywhere you go. They had both, but there was a whole cabinet full of other things to play with.  He zero’d right in on the little cars, grabbed the bag they were in and when I said, “No,” and took them, he got ahold of one.  I had to forcibly take it. I told him if he didn’t stop arguing and fighting he had to just sit on the couch in time out, and he began punching and kicking me.  In some ways, as bad as it sounds, I’m kind of glad it happened right in front of the clinician doing the intake.

At dinner time, he was NOT going to eat his dinner (chicken breast stuffed with broccoli and cheese) because he thinks broccoli with cheese is “nasty”.  He loves broccoli. We finally said if he didn’t eat it, it would be wrapped and reheated for every snack and meal until it was gone, and that he’d not be allowed to play outside before and after service tonight at church with the other kids. He must have been using his selective hearing for that part, right along with Manny, who had decided since Matt didn’t like dinner, neither did he, so his got wrapped up too.  After dinner, I was headed upstairs to change for church and saw Matt putting his play shirt on under his church shirt and asked what he was doing.  He told me it was so he could play after church, and I reminded him he was not going out after, only Allen and Ike would, as they had eaten their dinner. When I came back downstairs, both boys were in the kitchen with their dad finishing their dinner. So at least that worked out.  They were fairly good the rest of the night.

Tonight during prayer time, my husband thanked the church for the men who have been helping me with Matt on Sundays when he can’t be there, and asked for prayer for Matt and for our family.  Our pastor added that he would like whatever men are sitting anywhere near us on Sunday to do the same, just get up and take him out when he becomes so difficult and reminded everyone that Matt needs a lot of prayer, and a lot of love, not judgment, that he’d been badly abused and it would take time.  He also said he’s already seeing some progress with him.  I so appreciate this church, it’s the first church we’ve belonged to since moving here that I feel my kids are safe from criticism and where I had no one minute of hesitation about calling the pastor and his wife after the Sam’s incident to ask for prayer, knowing I wasn’t going to be judged as a bad parent. Unfortunately, we have had that happen in other churches, when Allen was younger.

Linda

A Three Day Snapshot – Day 2

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Unfortunately, that repentant subdued attitude did not last into Tuesday. Matt was angry that he was still grounded from his legos, sports cards, and little cars. By the time Marc left for work at around noon, he was ready to gear up into a rage, which he’d held off until then. I ended up putting him into time out on the couch and sending all the other boys out to play, which made him madder, but I’m tired of them hearing all of this and mimicking the attitudes and sometimes the language. He escalated to the point that he was attempting to bruise himself so he could say I did it, at which time I ended up holding him restrained. I’m not strong enough to just get him in my lap and restrain him that way like my husband can. The only way I can keep him from hurting himself or me is to get him on the floor in front of me, facing away from me, my feet holding his legs apart so he can’t kick me, with my hands holding his arms up so he can’t hit me or pinch me. Unfortunately, he got hold of my hand with his teeth, and held on until he drew blood. I told him he’d not be outside at all that day, which as you can imagine went over just great.

Finally, I had to get dinner, so I just did quick and easy spaghetti, after warning him he better not leave the couch. He insisted he would not eat supper, because I said he had to sit in his dad’s place at the table by me, not next to any of his brothers, because he’d also both threatened them and tried to hurt them earlier in the day. He also informed me that he would not take his bath, because he knew he had an appointment in the morning and also church the same evening. Matt wanted people to think he didn’t get bathed. By then my husband had called on his lunch break, and said he’d watch for an offer of signing out early, they didn’t end up offering it early enough to help me that night. He said to tell Matt if he refused to get his bath, that his dad would wake him when he got home from work and give it to him and that he (Matt) would NOT like it a bit. He finally agreed he might eat a LITTLE (he ate 2 helpings), and he’d have his bath if he could play after. I told him if his bath was quick he might have 15 minutes before it was time for all toys to be put away for the night (8:30 in our house). He wasn’t happy, but I did point out that he COULD have been playing all day, including outside.

He did get his bath, and sat quietly on his bed while Manny got his, because I wouldn’t let him downstairs with just Allen & Ike; I didn’t trust him not to go off on them again. He got his 15 minutes to play, got his night time medications, then the nightly routine of TV time to relax enough for the meds to work, and in bed by 10:00. They are up that late because their dad works late, an hour away, so he and I rarely get to bed before 2:00 a.m., and we really don’t want them up at 5 a.m.

A Three Day Snapshot – Day 1

I have a long time friend who recently found me on Facebook. We reconnected after about ten or so years. We originally met during our old adoption advocacy days when we lived in Flushing. Our adoption support group was instrumental in bringing her and her first son together by adoption. I will call her Linda. This is day one of three days in the life of her newly adopted son, Matt. She currently has four sons.

 Monday, August 24, 2009

Today I had no choice but to take all the kids to Sam’s. I had to pick up a prescription that could not wait. Matt wanted me to let them wait in the car, which I have allowed if I am just running in somewhere for a minute or two. But today I knew it would be longer, so I said “No,” and that they would have to come in with me. First, Matt ran away in the parking lot and Allen ran and got him for me, which set him off against Allen now, too. We went in, and by the time we got back to the meat coolers he was working himself up deliberately. You can actually see him doing it; he clenches his fists and starts breathing harder and faster to work up a good rage. I ended up having to hold him against the cart with one arm while pushing/steering the cart with the other, because he’d started running up and kicking Allen as hard as he could. So he started kicking me, in between pressing his foot on the wheel so I couldn’t move the cart. I ended up having to hold him against the cooler to stop him trying to hurt me, Allen, or himself.

We made it to the pharmacy counter and had to wait a few minutes for it to open back up from lunch break. A lady, who’d been shopping back by the meat dept. and tried to speak with him when he was doing all this, followed us. I saw her come around the corner and duck back when I saw her but didn’t think anything of it at the time. She apparently followed us out and took down my plate number and called 911. Not 10 minutes after we got home a county sheriff’s deputy was at the door with a worker from FOC. To avoid speaking with them, Matt ran to the back of the house and out the back door, but they got him to stop. I told her what happened, and Matt admitted all. She came down squarely on my side, and told him he has to obey me, that I have the right to discipline him, and that she thought he was very lucky to be where he is (she had already asked about his background).


He told her he knew he was lucky, but that being told, “No,” makes him “want to get mad and hit people.” So, I’ve joined the ranks of parents who will need to document, document, document, I guess. She said this was NOT going to CPS; she saw no reason for it. It looked to her like that lady who called 911 was a nosy woman who had no idea of the actual situation or circumstances, and apologized for having to come here especially when it was very clear I’d done nothing wrong. The whole cops at the door for what he had done scared him though, I think. After that, he apologized to me and then to Allen and couldn’t do enough for either of us for several hours. He and Manny have an appointment tomorrow at CMH to get them services. Here’s hoping for at least respite time, huh?

Linda

Do you know a FASD/RAD child?

Click here for a pdf that explains RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) and suggests how to deal with a child that may have attachment issues.

Click here for a pdf with some suggestions on how to handle a teen with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder).

Note to family & friends: Read these to better understand some aspects of our family!

Gertz’s Pile of Ideas

On another adoptive mom blog, I found an article about a magnetic sleep technology that got a special needs little girl off sleeping pills. Some FAS kids have difficulties with sleep and need medication in order to fall asleep and achieve and sustain REM sleep. This is interesting and worth looking into if your child has this difficulty.

“On January 1, 2009 I made a commitment to find an alternative to sleeping pills for Ellie. She has needed to take a sleeping pill every night for 3 years to get her to sleep. The guilt I felt about this ritual was inconceivable. Ellie is 6, so for half of her life, I have watched her struggle in a drugged haze to get her teeth brushed before she conked out in a drug induced state. That little body would shudder as it passed into a chemically induced state of fake REM and every ounce of natural therapy I would incorporate into our daily routine was lost … to read more click here.