adoption and behaviors

Rachelle - posted on 01/24/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My children are adopted, one at 4 one at 16 months. My eldest now 8 has many behavioral problems that are causing quite a strain on our family. Part of this is due to the trauma he faced prior to adoption and him still remembering BM but not being able to be in contact with her. What is coming to pass however is that he is teaching his brother behaviors and also saying that we do not love them because they are not our real kids. This is obviously a problem because then the youngest who is 5 gets confused, he only knows us as mom and Dad, and starts acting up. It is even more complicated by the fact that it is a family adoption so my oldest knows I am more than just adopted Mom but also his half sister. The oldest has been stealing a lot too! Recently he stole $100 bill from my purse. I am not sure what is appropriate consequence in the situation, we have done many things for many behaviors with the eldest. But I would like some guidance on building more trust with him because that is obviously part of the problem. I have known both their whole lives and been part of it but it still it is a struggle...help! Also need help with ideas on how to build my "poker face"!

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Anna - posted on 02/20/2009

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I haven't had this experience as a mom, but I have worked with a lot of kids who have been separated from their birth families and put into the state system. My advice to you would be to be constant and stable factor in his life and to offer him unconditional love. This doesn't mean that he won't have consequences for his actions, but it does mean that you will love him no matter what and that doesn't have anything to do with his behavior. I imagine that he is dealing with anger and confusion as to his birth mom disappearing. He doesn't have verbal skills sufficient to express his feelings, and so he acts out. With time and constant love, he will learn to trust you.

Lacey - posted on 02/11/2009

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Have you read on reactive attachment disorder or attachment disorder? Definitely make sure that your counseling is done by someone that has a lot of experience with foster/adoptive children. They do not do well with standard discipline and couseling.



We are foster/adoptive parents getting ready to adopt a teenager. We are taking behavioral classes through our foster agency. You may see if there is anything offered in your area.

Rachelle - posted on 01/27/2009

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Thanks guys I will look for those titles! I have read a lot but you can never have too much info or try too many things!

Amanda - posted on 01/27/2009

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I did see a book in the library called something like "Attachment Parenting" or "Attachment after Adoption", I can't remember the exact title. You might want to try a book like that, in order to get ideas for how to build trust on both sides.

Amanda

Kristan - posted on 01/27/2009

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If you go to family therap, please make sure you are seeing someone with experience in adoption!



Also, do you practice any kind of attachment parenting? There is a wonderful book called Adoption Parenting. It might give you some good advice.



It definitely sounds like he does not trust you and needs work in that area.



I have never read it, but tons of people in the adoption community recommend the book Beyond Consequences. I know there are some others but they are escaping me right now.



So happy you are plugging along and not giving up when things get difficult!

Rachelle - posted on 01/26/2009

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Thank You! We will just keep trying! We actually just recently stopped family therapy but are intending to go back, work in progress we are!

Amanda - posted on 01/26/2009

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Rachelle-

I am afraid that I don't have any ideas personally. But our adoption agency has support groups for different types of families, for example we go to the ones for domestically adopted children of all races. It sounds like you would benefit from attending a support group for foster-to-adopted children. Even though that might not be exactly the situation your son was in, foster care, the other parents may have some excellent ideas and/or sources of help for children who have been through traumatic experiences before coming to their adoptive families.

Unfortunately, you might need to get the entire family enrolled in therapy, I just don't know. But other mothers who have raised children with previous childhood trauma might be able to direct you better.

Good luck, I hope you are able to build an excellent and loving relationship with your son,
Amanda

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