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  #1  
Old 09-18-2011, 10:39 AM
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momof3kiddos momof3kiddos is offline
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Trouble bonding with adoptive child

I came to this forum to see if I could find someone who was having trouble bonding with their adoptive child. I adopted 3 children 4 years ago. I have had a lot of trouble bonding with the oldest child, my dd. I don't feel like there is anyone that I can really talk to where I live. I'm not completely sure if the problem is her or me. After reading the threads, I realized that a lot of the reasons I am having a hard time bonding with her are related to RAD. I never connected the manipulating, acting like a 2 year old, lying, stealing, attention seeking behaviors to RAD. I guess I never looked into it much because she has ADD and most of our focus is with getting her to survive school and homework. I have felt like a terrible parent since day 1. Much like a lot of you, I don't let her act like a baby or hang all over people. When she does it, I will embarrass her right in front of her audience. She is 10 and acts like a 2 year old to get attention. I am pretty sure she hates me. My other dd and ds told me that she said she is tired of me. She wrote in her school journal that she wanted to go back to her birthplace and bring her bio mom, dad, grandparents, toys, pets, etc. to our town to live here. (She has no contact with them, they lost all rights) I don't know how to balance being firm with her to keep these behaviors under control and giving her the right amount of attention. I just need to know if someone else is having a hard time really bonding. I feel like I am the one that is at fault.
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  #2  
Old 09-18-2011, 11:35 AM
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LoveMyMaggie LoveMyMaggie is offline
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I don't have an adopted child so I don't have any advice about bonding with one but I'm sure you're doing the best you can while trying to deal with her behaviors. I would say, though, not to embarass her in front of her audience- that will only lower her self esteem. I had that happen to me and it was terrible.
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  #3  
Old 09-18-2011, 11:40 AM
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Lorraine123 Lorraine123 is offline
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An attachment therapist can be a huge help for you. The therapist has the goal of building some wort of bond between the parent and child. As a result, a large amount of their time is spent helping the parent develop skills to live with a difficult child. Be sure its a true attachment therapist, otherwise they will make things worse.
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:25 PM
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chloroxsis chloroxsis is offline
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You are right. My DD has ADHD and RAD. And really...you won't like it, but you sort of need to go to her real emotional age, which is probably two. Let her hang on you. Let her feel your love. Look up Christine DeMoers on You Tube and watch some of her videos. If you are like me, you will see a mirror of your child. She has great videos. My new line about RAD is that RAD is contagious. If your child has it, then you will have it. For that reason, you don't feel a bond with her. But it's not too late. It does take a lot of work. Do find her a good therapist. One that specializes in attachment will be great. And school may have to take a slight backseat to attachment for a year or two. It's not you. It's the horrific disease!
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2011, 06:41 AM
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I totally understand

Hello,
U don't need to feel like a bad parent- it's not ur fault! Ur children came that way and it does seem no matter what u do, it's always wrong. Right now 3 of our 4 adopted children do not talk to us- the 4th one still lives at home and does not like how the other ones are acting. Have ur children been aggressive towards u or abusive in any way? Just keep trying and letting them know u love them- also u and ur children should go to counseling and to someone who knows about RAD! Hooe to hear from u! Bless u!
Quote:
Originally Posted by momof3kiddos
I came to this forum to see if I could find someone who was having trouble bonding with their adoptive child. I adopted 3 children 4 years ago. I have had a lot of trouble bonding with the oldest child, my dd. I don't feel like there is anyone that I can really talk to where I live. I'm not completely sure if the problem is her or me. After reading the threads, I realized that a lot of the reasons I am having a hard time bonding with her are related to RAD. I never connected the manipulating, acting like a 2 year old, lying, stealing, attention seeking behaviors to RAD. I guess I never looked into it much because she has ADD and most of our focus is with getting her to survive school and homework. I have felt like a terrible parent since day 1. Much like a lot of you, I don't let her act like a baby or hang all over people. When she does it, I will embarrass her right in front of her audience. She is 10 and acts like a 2 year old to get attention. I am pretty sure she hates me. My other dd and ds told me that she said she is tired of me. She wrote in her school journal that she wanted to go back to her birthplace and bring her bio mom, dad, grandparents, toys, pets, etc. to our town to live here. (She has no contact with them, they lost all rights) I don't know how to balance being firm with her to keep these behaviors under control and giving her the right amount of attention. I just need to know if someone else is having a hard time really bonding. I feel like I am the one that is at fault.
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2011, 09:28 AM
TherapeuticFamilies TherapeuticFamilies is offline
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You're received some good advice about being patient, faking it until you make it, and considering an attachment therapist. I'll re-enforce the suggestion about an attachment therapist. Her behaviors sound very much like a child who is unable to trust and attach. You might read up some on attachment problems and see if you think your daughter fits the description. Let me add that about 85% of the 100s of children I've worked with who have attachment issues have been first diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. There isn't enough awareness about attachment so many mental health professionals just assume that the behaviors are ADHD. What is often the case is that the ADHD-like behaviors are a manifestation of feeling insecure, unsafe, and unable to trust. Once the attachment/trust issues are fully addressed, the over-active behaviors calm down.

Also, as you're researching RAD and/or finding an attachment therapist, continue what you're doing which is to try and balance the structure with the nurturing. She needs the structure and boundaries to feel safe (even if she complains!) and the nurturing to learn a new way to positively interact with parents. Try to sneak in lots of hugs, rubbing her back, ticking her toes, drawing letters on her back, rocking her in a rocking chair, singing with her, playing board games, etc.

Thanks for sharing and let us know how things go.

Susan Ward
Older Child Adoption Support
Older Child Adoption Support - Main Page
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2011, 10:29 AM
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I think it gets more awkward to do attachment activities as children get older, I wish I was better at that. When my daughter was in the 7 to 9 yr range I did a lot of holding her and bottle feeding her and various attachment activities (activities with laughter, eye contact, movement, etc, I forget exactly all the pieces, I think there were 6 things involved?) like batting a balloon back and forth. Sometimes things got too hilarious and she'd accidentally pee in her pants!
But it was worth all the effort, she is a very loving kid now in spite of the attachment therapist saying she has RAD and the early years of knives/stabbing pillows/setting a fire/threatening suicide daily (she still has suicidal thoughts a lot unfortunately).
Books that helped me were "Attaching in Adoption" and "Theraplay". The latter book is not written at an easy level and put me to sleep every night for weeks, but worth reading anyway.
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  #8  
Old 09-22-2011, 09:22 PM
myForeverkids3 myForeverkids3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howdy
The latter book is not written at an easy level and put me to sleep every night for weeks, but worth reading anyway.


Laughing my butt off! Isn't it funny the lengths we will go to when we are trying to help our kids?

What's NOT funny is having so little support that we have to go and read books designed to train mental health professionals just to have a clue what to do..and not do.

When my kids are raised, I am going to get my psych degree and spend the rest of my life helping adoptive parents. Seriously, if we had help in the beginning, we would not be at the place we are right now with our kids. It is hard for me to even be in the same room with my dd. When she turned 8 I thought to myself "Yippee, only 10 years to go!" That's sad.

To the OP:
Take it one day at a time. The only behavior you can realy control is your own. I would say, maybe work on catching her acting her age and smother her in affection and attention.
One mistake I have made is focusing so much on changing my dd's infantile behaviors, then totally ignoring when she actually does act her age!
I really can relate. I have to force myself to say I love you and I have to reassure her constantly that I am really working on being close to her and that we will be ok.
Don't let her birth family fantasy discourage you. It is 100% normal for an adopted child her age to do that. (even children adopted at birth)
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  #9  
Old 09-24-2011, 09:12 PM
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I too have a older child that has RAD, ADHD, PTSD. We are in the process of adopting him and he has trouble bonding with us. He only call us mom and dad when he wants something. Other then that he address us by MR and Mrs using our first names. Its okay, but we hope that he will eventually bond and call us ma and dad. He says its hard because he have never used those names before. He has been in foster care since he was 2 and do not remember his biological parents. Try to use positive words with your child and embrassing her in front of an audience is only broken her down. It is not helping. Its hard to deal with the children mood swings but we have to keep in mind that it is not their fault they act this way. Being patient and gentle will help. Have cuddle time with the child. My son loves to cuddle with me on the couch watching television and I tickle his feet and he loves it. Another person mention the same thing. It is not your fault. Do not blame yourself. Keep being the good parent you are and it may take longer for her to bond then the other children.Thats okay too. Be patient with her and give her time. Spending time just you and her helps too.

Last edited by mothertwo : 09-24-2011 at 09:15 PM.
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  #10  
Old 09-27-2011, 05:57 AM
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Read up on attachment disorders and therapeutic parenting. Tell yourself they call older child adotion "special needs" adoption for a reason. She has special needs and needs to be parented as such. If she's acting like a two year old, parent her as she was a two year old. Meet her at her emotional age. Find support. Lots of us who post here have links to our blogs in our signatures. Click around. You aren't alone. Watch Christine Moers videos on You Tube. You can do this!
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  #11  
Old 09-27-2011, 07:52 AM
DIMITZ DIMITZ is offline
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I completely feel your pain. We brought in a 13-year-old boy into our home who is not 15 and adoption was finalized 07/01/2011. Attachment seems to be out of the question. We went through a very well known attachment study with the offer of training for us the parents but the training requires was several hours a week, time we just did not have. Although this child is big with lying, stealling, manipulating, decieving, negative attention seeking, etc., he has not been diagnosed with RAD or any kind of attachment disorder. He was only removed from his birth family at the age of 10 and has very vivid memories of them. He is also very intelligent, IQ of 153. So we have this child who we know we can provide for his physical needs without problem, but even in the attachment study it mentioned this child may not be able to attach to any parenting figures because that is his choice, not to attach. We find ourselves biting our lip a lot to make sure we do not say things that we will regret. Spend a lot of time reiterating the rules as he likes to break them, giving him opportunities to be rewarded although still preferring trying very hard to get negative attention by trying to push buttons. I do believe, regardless of what professionals say because each person is an individual who has suffered pain and hurts unique to them, that some children are very hard to reach. Sometimes the only thing I can do is remind him I am his mother who is taking care of him even though are relationship is strained and conflicted and hope that one day he will be able to understand that despite the many problems, there was a mother and father who chose to not give up on him. I also feel like I fail at being his parent every day, but sometimes I have to just to what I believe is best for a child who will be an adult in 3 years and needs me to not only show him what a secure home feels like, but teach him how to live in a very big world.
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  #12  
Old 10-02-2011, 01:39 PM
TherapeuticFamilies TherapeuticFamilies is offline
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Sounds like your son had a very difficult start to life, which certainly makes attachment difficult. However, I did want to share that I've worked with many older teenagers over the years who have been able to bond, attach, become loving and respectful, and learn to trust. It, of course takes a strong commitment on everyone's part--therapist, child, and parents, but it can happen.

Susan Ward
Older Child Adoption Support - Main Page
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  #13  
Old 10-05-2011, 09:23 AM
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SheldeMuse SheldeMuse is offline
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Lightbulb About the "choice" to attach

I needed to see this thread today, and am vicariously soothed by the cheering on of the parent. My dd and her little brother joined us when she was 11. Six years later, with 9 months to go until she's 18, she is leaving. It was her choice not to attach. We had 4 different therapists at a highly recommended attachment therapy practice. That wasn't her fault, each of them changed jobs or moved. I've worked part time for these 6 years, entirely at home. When she could not get anything done in public school I enrolled her in an online-charter. We've spent all day together during the week for the last 4 years. Things were pleasant a lot of the time but to a great extent she was just becoming a more polished liar. She has a light at the end of the tunnel... the parents she really should have had years ago, non-relatives she lived with when she was small, before she came into foster care, will take her. They're good people, and her bio family lied to the social workers to hide that she'd ever lived with them. She's antsy to go and picking at us. We've got another week, I'm hoping we all make it. I try not to feel guilty that I will celebrate, because for the first time in 6 years I'll be able to really relax. I try not to feel guilty that I knew going into this that the more my adopted kids had problems, the more I would be told it wasn't my fault. That wasn't what I wanted for her but consciously or not, it is her choice for her.
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