Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Question from a Parent to Parents and Professionals

my adopted daughter was my foster child for many years. she seemed "normal" in her early years but has developed into a real handful as a teen. diagnosed bipolar, ODD, ADHD and suffers from obesity R/O bipolar. I am even today collecting information on the bipolar disorder. I am seeking a support group that can assist me in giving her the best care and future available while keeping my sanity.


Blogger Paula said...

It's funny that this question should come today as I was just talking to our therapist about Bipolar this morning. A good place to start your research is www.bpkids.org

I hope this gives you lots of good info.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate, an adoptive parent, writes:

My adopted daughter joined our family at 2 days old & never suffered any form of abuse. However, when she was 11 and went through puberty, her personality changed for no apparent reason. She was irritable, had anger control issues, and started failing in school after previously being an A student. She was eventually diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar, which is a bad combination since ADHD meds tend to cause bipolar people to become violent...so you treat the bipolar, and the ADHD continues to interfere with school performance. Now she is 15, and doing better but still a handful. My suggestions to you:
1. Try not to take it personally if she calls you horrible names & accuses you of horrible things. Don't react with tears or anger; stay calm. Five minutes later she'll be hugging you & saying she loves you. Bipolar kids blurt out whatever they're feeling at the time. They can't help it. Their emotions are out of control, & they are ruled by their feelings, which tend to go back and forth even in a well-adjusted teen. As she gets older, her moods should stabilize, even without meds. As adults, most bipolar people are very functional, even brilliant and creative. If you can get through her adolescence, which will probably be rougher on YOU than it is on HER, she will most likely live independently and support herself as an adult.
2. If she seems insistent on doing something outrageous (run off to live her with boyfriend; get a tattoo; drop out of school right this minute) do not say no. Do not say yes. In a calm, supportive manner, put off the decision. No matter how appalling her desire is, tell her it sounds like an interesting idea, or a possibility, and you need to call the school and see if it's legal to drop out...or call the tattoo parlor and see if it's legal...or ask her boyfriend's mother if she agrees...and that you are too busy to call right now but you'll do it tomorrow and then discuss it further. Bipolar kids are VERY impulsive and want to do things NOW, but they often want just the opposite tomorrow. If you can put off her inappropriate requests, she may lose interest, or her mood may be different tomorrow and she will listen calmly when you actually DO call the tattoo parlor and they explain they can't tattoo a minor, even with her parent's consent.
3. Make sure her school is aware of all her mental health diagnoses & past history; insist on an IEP, and take full advantage of any services offered (tutoring, counseling). Someone without an IEP can be expelled for the same behaviors that, if the child is judged disabled, will be accommodated in a school setting. Don't be embarrassed or hesitant to "label" your child within the school system, because it is often the only way to get help. As a last resort, most adopted children qualify for limited placement in a group home (usually six months; it differs by state) at no cost to the adoptive parent, if the child is out of control. If the child is suicidal (and this includes simply threatening suicide even if she doesn't actually DO anything), she can be placed in a psychiatric hospital (usually for a week or less). This accomplishes two things: it makes sure she's actually taking her meds (ODD and Bipolar kids are notoriously non-compliant, and skilled at pretending to take them); and it gives YOU a break.
Good luck! Until you find a support group, I thought I'd offer a little online support. You're not alone!

6:01 AM  

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