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-   -   Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Background (http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1397473)

duck411 05-22-2012 07:48 PM

Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Background
 
Ok - I wanna try to keep this short. Not sure that's possible, I'll probably add gobs as response comes in - call this my vent, I dunno what 2 do, help thread.

So... We have permanent custody of DH's 2 1st cousins once removed. Jon is 7. His half sister, Ashlyn, is 4.

Birth mom - We'll call her A... is a drug addict, prostitute, etc. etc. Jon's bio dad has been out of the picture since he was a newborn. His stepfather, Ashlyn's dad, is a well known local drug dealer, who's late wife died of an OD not long after having a 2nd child with him (Ashlyn does not know about this 1/2 sister, but she does know her older half sister - after the Dad's most recent arrest for drug dealing, both sisters are now in custody of THEIR late mother's aunt). They were previously living with the dad's mother, we'll call her MD and his two nieces she has custody of, because their mom, too, has major issues. The nieces - L is 12, C is 4.

We've had these children for 6 months. As time has went on, more and more information has come to light, like what these kids have been through etc...

Jon came to us just having started kindergarten at age 6, didn't know his ABCs, how to count past 10, had already missed 25 days of school between the start of school thru to thanksgiving. He hated bathing, because it was something they just didn't do very often. He was repeatedly left at random houses with random ppl. Pretty well was beat on by both the stepdad and mom. He can tell you how to use a dollar bill and a credit card to snort stuff. He can point out which houses he went with his stepdad to to sell drugs to ppl. His face is covered in deep scars - 1 he says come from getting hit in the face with a metal firetruck by L, who, based on more stories, routinely abused him, despite being just a kid herself. Fortunately, Jon just finished kindergarten with straight A's , near the top of his class.

Ashlyn is covered in cigarrette burn scars from neck to between her thighs. dozens. She has said repeatedly that A did it. She had head lice so bad you could pick 5 or 6 nits off one strand of hair. When we got custody of her, she didn't know but 2 colors - pink & purple. She couldn't count to 3. But now she knows most of her colors and can write her name and count to 5 - after attending 4 months of pre-k. She also had an obsession w/ snakes/hotdogs - even told MY oldest daughter to suck her penis. Which she says she learned about from her maternal grandmother. For the first 3-4 months - she cried on and off for A & the dad when she was in trouble for whatever reason. The end of february she started calling me Mommy. Not sure I was ready for that. But... I was glad to see the other tantrums go away. She seems to be having flashbacks/hallucinations still... sometimes blaming BAD behavior on A, saying she saw her last night or she told her to do that. Now it has come to light she's also been molested by L & friends. And she's been trying to play 'doctor' & 'horsey' with the other children. It's driving me insane. She tried to get my girls to take her panties off and touch her ? My oldest told. And I walked in on it when it was w/ my 2year old. She tries to ride her brother face up, like a horse or pull him on her. And then he seems to be constantly trying to rub his private area up against ME , like my knee if Im sitting in the chair or whatever. I've pushed him away and said nothing, but it's happened several times. Idk if that's normal for a 7year old boy - I think i need to tell DH to 'talk' to him about things, since I know he's seen more than most 7 year olds before he came here but maybe he doesn't understand it.

There's just so much going on here, idk what to say, do, think. I feel like I'm CONSTANTLY reprimanding Ashlyn & Jon for something, with a warning, a time-out, or a spanking (yes, we believe in spanking - and no, you'll not change my feelings about it, so don't bother). Ashlyn more than Jon. Some ways she's very baby like, some ways she's like a snotty 20 year old. Idk how to parent her. And the therapists & social workers, have been little to no help. I can say - Stay on the porch. 30 seconds later, they're both off the porch and tell me they forgot. They've both been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. We think they've both been exposed to meth making and know mom did drugs when she was pregnant with ashlyn - so - im wondering is their brain damage or what? Jon seems to be improving, drastically, but her BARELY if at all in some areas. Ashlyn RARELY asks for food, I have to sit and make her eat, bite after bite. I give her vitamins every night, but she weighs .5 lb less than she did when we got her (and she looked pee-poor!) and she's like 2+ inches taller!

Any motherly words of advice out there for me? I'm staying soooo frustrated. My husbands work OOT alot, so I feel like I'm doing this alone. We live 20 miles from anywhere, and our budget is much tighter now because of the kids constant dr. appts. etc (both have severe asthma and food allergies, get weekly therapy, needed major dental work - yeah, 11 cavities, etc.) and all the running & extra gas and me not being able to work. It's really starting to get to me and wear me down, all the sacrifices I've had to make for me and my girls by taking these two high need kids on.

duck411 05-22-2012 08:14 PM

Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro
 
to quickly follow up - - when we went to court to obtain custody of Jon, it was just to obtain custody of Jon, after he'd been left for weeks with someone who couldn't provide & care for him. We had NO idea, getting into this, that these kids were in as bad of shape as they were, we had been living away for 4 years and never knew things had gotten this bad until the person who had Jon, called my MIL, and she shared the info with us. But we were the only family members willing and able to care for him. When we were awarded custody of Jon, the judge removed Ashlyn as well, and asked if we'd take her to, - we couldn't refuse - but we were also under the impression she had been taken care of and again, HAD NO IDEA, she'd basically been tortured since the womb. :(

Mama2ManyBoyz 05-22-2012 09:13 PM

Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro
 
First of all, I am SO sorry you are going through this! I think you need to seriously consider if you can realistically keep them long term. If not, it is best for them to find the home that can as soon as possible. It IS ok if you can't. You need to think of your own children. If you lose these precious years with them, you will never get it back. With that said, you may just need a break to collect yourself.

We have five kids. 12 yr old stepson, 8 year old foster daughter, 7 year old bio son, 2 yr old bio son, and 9 month old bio son. I have found when Grandma takes the kids for a day or sometimes we split them between two Grandmas...I feel like a different person when they come back. I'm able to catch up on cleaning, laundry, projects, and get some quiet, restful time to myself, not to mention one on one time with dh. It seriously give me a lot of perspective and I feel recharged and ready to take on the world when they get back! ;) Try it and don't feel guilty about it. We've been trying to do it every other weekend. It helps!

Mama2ManyBoyz 05-22-2012 09:15 PM

Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro
 
Oh and I should mention both my stepson and foster daughter can be extremely hard to manage and draining on the entire household. I also try to find times where I can spend alone time with my kids, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on these precious years. Do whatever you got to do, but don't make yourself feel guilty! You are doing an amazing thing by taking them in.

sunnymommy 05-22-2012 09:51 PM

Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro
 
Wow! I feel so bad for those babies. And I can only imagine how difficult it is for you. I would feel totally inadequate and ignorant of how to best help them.

The thoughts that come to mind are - if it's only been six months that is a very short time compared to the whole of their lives before they came to you. Everything that your kids have learned in their two years or four years about how the world works, what/who is safe, how to behave, what is appropriate, how to love, deal with emotions, people meaning what they say, etc these kids have no clue about. It is going to take a tremendous amount of time teaching all these things concentrated down into as short a time as they can process it. And it's going to be so much harder for them to learn it as it goes against all of their experience. So you really have to try to view them as the age of the things they need to learn rather than their biological age.

Minute example - you tell them to stay on the porch and they last 30 seconds. When your girls were one and were first confronted with the word 'No' from you regarding something they wanted you had to teach them patiently and repeatedly to accept that. After having every need met as infants it was a totally foreign experience to not get to go or do or have what they wanted when they wanted it. You might have to tell a toddler not to pull the cat's tail ten times in one day. You might have to distract. You might have to remove. You have to stop what you are doing and be firm and consistent. But, you don't let them pull the cat's tail. We expect to do that for a one year old. We don't expect to have to do that for a four or seven year old. We expect to tell them something and have them do it. We expect that when they were that age they learned to obey a parent's directives. But, these kids haven't. So it will take the same kind of time consuming teaching that it takes to teach a toddler but even more effort, time, attention because older kids are bigger and can push you harder. But, eventually comes the same reward, the child understands that you mean what you say and there is no getting out of doing it.

And all that to only address one small part of all you wrote, some of the everyday frustration and upheaval that comes from trying to incorporate kids who do not have the same experience as yours into your family. There is so much more. But, that's just what I thought of first off. And maybe it is a little encouraging to think about why they are that way and that there is a lot of hope that they will eventually learn much better behavior! I don't know what I would do in your shoes. Frustration and discouragement would be inevitable at times. But, getting the kids out of that living situation is worth it and you already did that!

juclark77 05-23-2012 12:25 AM

Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro
 
They likely have Reactive Attachment Disorder, maybe PTSD. Also, the sexualized behavior suggests that they may have been sexually abused. You need a great attachment therapist. This may be a place to find one: http://www.attach.org/resources/comm...aimletter.aspx

Other resources that may be helpful are these books:
http://www.amazon.com/When-Love-Not-...7750607&sr=8-4

http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Hurt...7750638&sr=1-1

duck411 05-23-2012 07:59 AM

Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro
 
Thanks ladies. I'll take any kind of help, encouragement, etc. I can get.

It's very hard for me to get a break, but I think if I could routinely, like every other weekend, get a break, I would feel so much better, like I could refresh. Everyones eagerly willing to watch my kids for days on end, but the others.... a couple hours is bout their limit, we've found it best to pair em off, R & A, J & B. You can't put the brother & sister together or their horrible.

We were awarded permanent custody in less than 3 months, we expected it'd take a year, and we'd have to decide by then if we culd handle them truly permanently. And it's never really been a question with the boy, but with the girl, it still lingers in my mind daily - just because she is basically, more damaged. But... the parents have done absolutely nothing to get them back, so the judge I suppose was being realistic in that they never will, and now there's a no contact order attached to our permanent custody order against the mom.

Ya know, Jon complains I'm not fair and my girls get more or w/e...... but I really try, but it's REALLY hard (especially when these two break or tear up anything i get for them, I've had to resort to hand me downs or goodwill because i can't keep buying them the quality clothes i do for my girls and them destroying it first wear or play) and you can't really explain to a 7 year old boy in this situation that well... though you are technically my kid now, you're not my kid!? or you're just not as well behaved? UGH. VERY FRUSTRATING.

I don't have a very good support system here, my pastor & his wife are probably the most encouraging. Everyone else, including these kids family (like my MIL, heck, even my husband,) are all - don't stress yourself out, dump em back on the system..... UGH! There's already been mention that if we can't handle the little girl and her issues, they'll put her in a residential treatment facility for adolescents. Which then... they all are like, well if they do that, it's your fault..... shoulda left em with their birthmom, blah blah blah..... I'm like SERIOUSLY!? PEOPLE REALLY PEEVE ME OFF! shew.. ok... trying to calm down.....

My brain is like an overcrowded subway station right now....... zoom zoom.

pcjs 05-23-2012 11:01 AM

Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro
 
A few things (take it or leave it):

If you have been with the therapist 6-8 months and it is not a good fit (her end, your end, kids end or a combination) I would get a new therapist or two (one for family and one for the kids). Just like you shop for clothing and a car, you need to shop for a therapist who has skill at these type of needs as well as has a similar (can be different but just not sabotage what you are doing) parenting style or willing to work within yours. I would not stick with a bad fit even if that person is known to be the "best" as it is a relative term and may not be best for your family.

If you are homeschooling these kids, it may be a better fit for everyone if they go to school. They may do better with a very strong structure and routine. I know some people are amazing at this with homeschooling but most people I know even if they are doing a great job get very flexible and these kids need a strong routine, structure and knowing what is coming ahead.

Know that it took how many years to get these kids this way and it is going to take at least this many, if not 2-3 times as long to get them into a better place. Its not going to be instant. I would do behavior charts with them (for regular kids I am not a fan) and if possible, lots of positive phrase and some one on one time.

Also, they just don't know how to treat material things, including clothing as they were never taught. This should be one of the many things worked on in therapy and put this as part of the reward chart. I would buy new/clearance vs. goodwill if it is becoming an issue (I buy ahead and new/clearance is cheaper than our thrift/used stores) as they will notice every little thing and they are going through enough that this stuff can really impact them even though I get your intentions and frustration.

If you still are open with social services/have a social worker, get some respite if they offer it. Though the flip side is the kids will know and may look at this as a negative but if you need to recharge it is a good option.

Hang in there. Sounds like you are doing really well and are truly trying. Keep up the amazing job!

duck411 05-23-2012 11:54 AM

Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by pcjs (Post 15138730)
A few things (take it or leave it):

If you have been with the therapist 6-8 months and it is not a good fit (her end, your end, kids end or a combination) I would get a new therapist or two (one for family and one for the kids).

If you are homeschooling these kids, it may be a better fit for everyone if they go to school. They may do better with a very strong structure and routine.

Know that it took how many years to get these kids this way and it is going to take at least this many, if not 2-3 times as long to get them into a better place. Its not going to be instant. I would do behavior charts with them (for regular kids I am not a fan) and if possible, lots of positive phrase and some one on one time.

Also, they just don't know how to treat material things, including clothing as they were never taught. This should be one of the many things worked on in therapy and put this as part of the reward chart. I would buy new/clearance vs. goodwill if it is becoming an issue (I buy ahead and new/clearance is cheaper than our thrift/used stores) as they will notice every little thing and they are going through enough that this stuff can really impact them even though I get your intentions and frustration.

If you still are open with social services/have a social worker, get some respite if they offer it. Though the flip side is the kids will know and may look at this as a negative but if you need to recharge it is a good option.

Hang in there. Sounds like you are doing really well and are truly trying. Keep up the amazing job!

Jon sees a therapist in school, and she just seems like she doesn't think he needs much talk time.... grrrrr...... and they already stay upset with me because Ashlyn was missing a day a week just for therapy. Because therapy would be at 10... and the school is like almost an hour from the therapist office... so by the time we got back it'd be after lunch, and they just nap and play - so they told me not to bring her to school if it was gonna be after 11:30.

Ashlyn's on her 2nd therapist, the 1st felt like she needed more help than she could give, so now we have one I really like, but... it's just like an hour a week is not enough, kwim? But no one is willing to see her more often than once a week. We have very limited resources here, and adolescent therapy is apparently in such high demand, they can't see her more than once a week, sometimes we step out from a session to schedule next weeks and we have to wait 2 weeks.

Both are in school, but they got out May 14th. School starts back August 7th. Bus runs at 6:30. Drops em back off at 3:30. - I'm a very strict parent, the therapist told me to stick to my guns with that, thinking they thrive with structure & routine... but maybe like you said - - - it's gonna take years of it to really get them in sync with it.

We have no involvement with social services anymore. Case is closed. They were typically too busy in thepast to even return my phone call, til 2 weeks later... soo.... bah.

We have a reward jar for each of them and they get tokens when they're good, but it's been no help at all, they both at like - whatever - i don't care.. . shew... seriously... they're like 2 deviant teenagers most of the time. BAH.

But I appreciate your response so much. I just really feel like I need to talk this out with someone. And... my husband isn't really into it, which ticks me off, because he's the one that started all this and swore to step up and help if I got on board with taking this on and now i'm doing it alone. That's a whole nother issue I suppose.

I just don't wanna wear down to a nervous breakdown. I've considered daycare, but none of the decent daycares have openings, not that i could afford it anyways.... We get kinship care on the kids, $600 a month, but it barely covers food, gas to dr.'s/therapy/extra dental charges/ etc. etc.

Can anyone cyber recharge me, please? LOL.

pcjs 05-23-2012 12:59 PM

Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro
 
:) It sounds like you are doing everything right!

I don't consider counseling at school, counseling. Get him a private therapist. Are the kids on your insurance or state? I'd get them on both if you don't pay per person and then call both insurances for a list of providers and find someone who can do twice a week. Better to do more at first to help with the adjustment than less. You know these kids and their needs better than anyone and if you think they need more help, the younger you do it the better. Plus, you need therapists who will work with all of you as a family as a part of their therapy is working with you on parenting strategies (it sounds like you are doing a great job but for all of us, having people to bounce ideas off of helps).

If the reward jar does not help, stop it. For some kids, its necessary but I am so anti-reward beyond positive phrase.

Look at the county rec department programs - some have very low cost programs and if the kids are in kinship care you may be able to get a low cost waiver. Some local community centers have them too. Some day cares have grants and other ways to help, so you may want to look around so you can get a break.

Oh, and ignore the school - therapy for them to be successful in school is important. They are so wrong there. You are right!

The other thing you could do for the boy is look at a therapeutic overnight camp. He's old enough if he's willing and they have camps that specialize in this stuff (I don't know of any specifically).

Sorry your husband isn't much of a help. Its a huge family change and give him time. You are doing the right thing no matter what by taking these kids. They are family and family first. You are setting a great example for your kids too of what family is and means. :) Even if every day is a struggle and battle.


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