Friday, February 23, 2007

Question from Another Parent

We have 5 daughters we have adopted through foster care and taken
guardianship of another. We are no strangers to the ups and downs and
have (mostly) come to terms with the difficulties. What we just can't
seem to get right is helping our children transition to adulthood.

Our oldest daughter who we got at age 14 and adopted at 18 is married
and doing quite well in another state. A few months after graduating
high school she was skipping her college classes, skipping work and
really not doing much of anything. We gave her some options and set
some guidelines which she completely ignored, no fight, no discussion,
just ignored. We told her she could not stay in our home unless she
was willing to work, go to school, or both. Without a word she moved
out with her boyfriend. After that it was a series of moves until she
found her husband. He is actually a great guy, and we are so grateful,
but he takes total care of her. I wouldn't call our relationship
strained, but it is distant. She seems to surround herself with people
who require little of her and that is not us. Although I'm sure she
feels like we've pulled away, we feel like we've always been here, but
that she just doesn't always need us the way we are. Even phone
conversations are difficult. She is quiet until we get her talking
about what she wants to talk about. She rarely even remembers things
we tell her about the rest of the family. I don't want to give you the
impression that she's mean. She's actually very sweet and all things
considering is living quite a productive life.

We had guardianship of another daughter. She left shortly after high
school graduation in a huff (we're still not sure why). She joined the
army, came home for a strange, unannounced Christmas visit, went AWOL
and we didn't hear from her until we were contacted by a mental
institution a couple of years later. She had had a breakdown and was
not the same girl we knew.

Now our 20 year old daughter is a junior at a university 3 hours away.
She's actually doing really well, but has moved 5 times, still doesn't
have a group of really good friends and seems to sabotage relationships
with boys. Now, we're finding each visit home to be less and less
enjoyable. There's a tension that's hard to explain and very very very
subtle manipulations. She's always loved to be the victim but now
she's a master at this. When there are problems, there is no
discussion, she just shuts down. She leaves mad, we're mad and things
are uncomfortable until I reach out and then we can never address the
problems or we'll just start the process over again. There will come a
time, on her terms where she will address the issues. She has all the
right and seemingly sincere conclusions and answers but seems
completely unable to really work those answers in real life.

Now, my husband and I know that we are far from innocent in all of
this. We are demanding, protective and involved. I'm sure many times
our children feel that nothing is good enough. We are also on constant
alert trying to protect ourselves from manipulation and that's probably
a tough wall for our kids to break through sometimes.

So we're looking for resources to help ease the problems adulthood
brings. We have this feeling that we raise our children only to lose
them. If this is part of their learning curve and their journey, we
can handle that. What I find difficult is that we could very well be a
big part of the reason they cut and run.

Thanks for your time!


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Question from a Parent

My daughter who is now 4 came to live with me when she was 3 weeks old as my foster daughter. Our adoption finalized when she was 2 1/2.

Her biological mom is bi-polar and schizophrenic - she has also abused alcohol and drugs.

she was hospitalized the last 8 months of her pregnancy. So during the first month it is possible she took drugs and drank.

My daughter's biological father has cognitive delays and might be schizophrenic as well - he also abuses alcohol.

I know that schizophrenia has not been proven to be hereditary - yet I know she has about a 50% chance of getting it in her late teens early twenties.

My daughter has been healthy and on target for everything - she's pretty smart and learns quickly.

She has always had a temper and will give you the complete evil eye. When you are talking to her she can completely tune you out and do what she wants anyway.

She would sleep with a bear - since she was little - she finally at one point became attached to it and would freak if she didn't have it to go to sleep - finally I completely took the bear away and would let her sleep with an animal but not the consistent same one in hopes to break the habit - which it did - it helped and a few months down the road I gave her bear back.

for quite awhile she had to have the same bedtime routine in the same order or life was not okay - so then I started changing that up.

I wanted her to have consistency yes - but I didn't want her to become obsessive about things and not be able to deal with change.

As she has gotten older some of the habits she has surpassed - often with forced help...... but some she has over come - only to change to another habit - that I later recognize.

She has always liked "little tiny things or toys" like very small stuffed animals or plastic toys. Ahh yes for awhile she had to go to sleep every night with a dime in her hand. Finally after being woke up in the middle of the night to blood curdling screams a few times - to which I would panic and run in there - only to find that she had dropped her dime and couldn't find it. Then I broke that habit and wouldn't let her sleep with dimes any more.

So back to the tiny things - we have had this problem off and on - where she will put tiny things in her pocket or she has to carry them in her hand. She will not set them down when she is pick up other toys to clean up - in fear that someone might put it away or pick it up ( I think). The other problem we have had off and on (and now it is on again - which is why I am writing) is that she will put other peoples little things in her pockets and "steal" them. She will do it with my things - with her brother's things - she has done it at my friends house with her friend's toys.

I found out this morning she did it again. I have explained to her that is stealing. When she does not ask if she can borrow something it is stealing - she knows this - well she at least knows she should not be doing it. She sneaks things intentionally - once in awhile she will sneak food as well. But she is diffidently a very sneaky child. She might even sneak out of bed and lay on the floor in the hall (in the past this was an issue). When I tell her to leave her toys at home - not to bring them - she might sneak them with her anyway. I have now told her that I cannot trust her so for now she may not put things in her pockets and I will have to check her pockets every time we leave home - school or a friends house (which will be hard for me to get in the habit) and I shouldn't have to do this to my 4 year old - but it is a consistent on going problem and I don’t want it to become a bigger issue down the road. I want to break this habit now.

So my bigger question yet - in your opinion - do you think this stuff is normal childhood issues, or do you think this is a possible pre-determining factor to mental health issues - or possibly affects of drugs or alcohol that first month of pregnancy - or some kind of attachment issue (which she is deff attached to our family and friends and that doesn't seem to be an issue - maybe over attachment to things might be an issue). Should I get her into counseling or am I over-reacting?

Any input you could give would be greatly appreciated

Monday, February 05, 2007

Splitting Sibilngs When One Needs Residential Care

A question from an adoption supervisor:

What is your thought regarding finding an adoptive home for a sibling group if one or two of the siblings are in RTC? Do you think we should just separate and go on, wait for the kids to get out of RTC, or ask a family to adopt the "sure thing" kids [the ones who are ready for adoption] and consider the "unknown" [the ones who aren't ready for adoption now and may or may not ever be] kids?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Should Children be Reunited with Birth Parents Three Years after Termination

Please check out Senate Bill #5452 and, if you wish, one response to the bill.

What would be the ramifications of such a bill on the children waiting to be adopted and those who are attempting to recruit families for them?

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Adopting from China and Health Risks

"My wife and I are considering adopting a girl from China. The main concern we have, which is probably not uncommon, is the health of the child. We are not so much concerned with things that can be controlled or cured with care and time (eg. scabies, parasites…etc). Our main concern is the handful of infectious diseases such as HIV, and Hepatitis B/C.

It appears as though HIV is quite rare in adoptive children from China. Hep C also appears to be somewhat rare. Hep B is obviously more prevalent, but there are vaccinations for that, so that is less of a concern. Given that though, we have not been able to find any statistics or studies any newer than one done in the year 2000 discussing the commonplace of these diseases among adoptive children. With news on the spreading of HIV in China, it would be nice to see some more recent statistics.

Are you aware of any more recent studies on the health of adopted children from China?"

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