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Old 11-03-2009, 04:59 PM
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hkolln hkolln is offline
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Originally Posted by 5starday

How concerned should we be that the bipolar disorder may be passed on to our fd?

She so far has exhibited night terrors or awakening periods in the middle of the night. Sometimes we'll think she's fallen back to sleep and then her eyes will slam open and scare the heck out of us. She doesn't look like she's looking at us, but through us. She can be the happiest girl most of the time but out of nowhere will hit me so hard in the face for no reason. She has head butted me several times, once so severely I thought my nose had broken. She will act agressively towards another person (adult or child) in one instance and then ever so sweetly kiss them and bat her eyes at them the next instance.

Is this normal toddler behavior? Or should we be concerned?

Ok, now to me that sounds like normal behaviour at that age. Our daughter at that age would have terrible night terrors and scream out. She would get violent while asleep and not know what she was doing to the extent of hitting us and lashing out. There is no bipolar in our family. She outgrew it all.

Our other daughter's biomom has bipolar and was diagnosed with it. She is 10 and shows no sign of it. She does show mood swings but not drastic like a bipolar child. They will be happy one moment and depressed the next.

I would take the information you have and watch her. I think 23 months is way too early to diagnose this. It could be something she'll grow out of. If not at least you have that information to move forward later on with therapy and possible medication.
Wife to hubby for 16 years
Mom to 2 girls:
A age 14
J age 20 (biodaughter)
August 2006-Found out niece in FC
Nov 2006-Now licensed FP's but no placement
Feb 2007-CRPT meeting determines placement w/us
March 2007-FP's appealed decision
April 2007-New CRPT-DCF & CASA upholds decision for placement w/us
May 2007-ICPC finally COMPLETED!!
June 2007-niece is home with us
August 2007-voluntary TPR by biomom, Involuntary by biodad
July 2008-adoption by us YAY
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Old 11-26-2009, 07:49 PM
myForeverkids3 myForeverkids3 is offline
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I have some concerns about my DD as well. She just turned 6 and bmom has several dx's one of which is Bipolar and another is OCD. My DD is really a great kid, but I see some traits that put up some red flags to me. She is very controlling and bossy and NEEDS to be in charge all the time. She will get something in her head that she wants to do and she can't let it go. (we were leaving the house the other night and she kept turning off the light before everyone had their shoes on. I told her to stop and she said that she wanted to turn it off and then stood there with her hand on it waiting for everyone to get out the door. I told her that I would turn it off bcuz I would be the last one out. She turned it off anyway and then I flipped it back on to find the diaper bag and she came back in the door and put her hand on the light again! I had to pull her hand off the light and walk her out to the car. She was visibly upset.) We have these kinds of confrontations all the time. She also has times when she is overly emotional about minor things. I don't know if all this is just her personality or what but I feel confident that we can handle whatever comes.
DD 5 yrs old Joined the family 2/2008
DS 10 yrs old Joined the family 1/2009
DD 9 yrs old Joined the family 1/2009
Baby Boy Safe Haven Surprise! 4/2011
6 previous foster children that I miss every day
"I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss The Dance"
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:57 PM
sarahdaisy sarahdaisy is offline
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Now I may be placed with the younger twin sisters of my foster son. Their mom is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Am I crazy to want to foster these 3 kids with the hopes of adoption?
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:03 PM
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elizabeth30 elizabeth30 is offline
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I would still adopt them. There are treatments and you know it runs in the family so if they show signs you will know what to look for it generally hits in late 20's. I'm sure that it is somewhere in most families and I would bet that over half the drug addicts probably have it and are covering it up by doing drugs and a lot of the foster kids have drug addicted parents.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:42 PM
omzig omzig is offline
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Our kids mom is bipolar. There is a hereditary component but it usually never shows up in kids under six and even then it's rarely diagnosed. More often diagnosed in teenagers and young adults.

We have a fantastic child therapist for our kids. She feels that if bipolar shows up it can easily be controlled with medications so she's not too worried about it.

Night terrors are normal for all children at that age. They're just terrifying for the adults - the kids don't remember them at all. I swear they're responsible for at least half of my gray hairs!
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:53 PM
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akg1229 akg1229 is offline
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I am bipolar... and though it is rare I remember feeling "different" as early as nine years old and younger... it was like I could feel it building up inside me. I would get these huge bursts of energy then get sooo angry... i wasnt diagnosed for many years... it was hard on me, but harder on the rest of my family. I terrorized them... and there is no taking that back
March/April 2009 - Mapp classes
June 2009- MHA finished and Filed
Aug 21 2009 - officially licenced
Sept 3 2009 - PPA complete

Took a break after "B" was decided to "not be ready for a family"
Back in the game 05/10

Matched with 'S' 3yrs old
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Old 10-18-2010, 10:29 PM
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lilred64 lilred64 is offline
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My 16yo was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at age 10. He had behavioral problems and was difficult to manage as early as two. His Bio-Mom and two bio-brothers have also been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder also, so in his case there does seem to be a strong genetic component. His two sisters also have mood disorders.

Bipolar disorder is usually present at a very early age, but is often mislabeled in children as ADHD, Sensory Processing disorder or kids are labeled as just being behavioral. The disorder in children also looks quite different in children than it does in an adult and should be evaluated/diagnosed by a Child Psychiatrist. Often couselors and therapists do not have the diagnostic expertise to differentiate Bipolar disorder in children.

Bipolar disorder is a life long disorder and most children will need long term medication to manage the illness. Symptoms can improve as a child matures and is more able to control their emotions and impulses, but medication is needed to manage the chemical imbalance in the brain. As a parent, you really have to educate yourself about the symptoms and management of the disorder.

My son has been stable on medication, but he will have cycles in which we have to adjust his medication. We are now in the process of preparing him for adulthood and teaching him to manage his own medication and medical appointments. One of the greatest risks is that young adults will usually try to stop their medication and then have a full episode requiring hospitalization.

I would suggest seeking some further evaluation for your daughter if you are concerned.
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:55 PM
takingtheplunge takingtheplunge is offline
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True bi-polar disorder can only be determined with CAT scan and/or advanced psych diagnosis. Many drug users may act bi-polar as they withdrawl and use again but might not be. Conversely, some people become drug users because they try to self-medicate their bi-polar disorers.

When DD was presented to us, we were told that biomom was bi-polar and using. Frankly, we thought, 'okay how do they know she is really bi-polar?' Then, we thought, 'hey healthy people can have kids with autism, downs, CP, ADHD, etc. or any other host of concerns, so what's the worst that can happen? She can have it. We can medicate her.'

We took her. Three years later, we have no regrets. She is the apple of our eyes.

Hostely, we have some concerns now (at age 3) about hyper-activity, risk taking, being stubborn, and possible mild-FAS, but doctors don't think she has FAS. They think she could have ADHD and/or just be a hyper toddler who could use me saying "no" with a sterner voice. Doctors claim we won't know about ADHD or other mental concerns until age 5+ as they become school aged. However, doctor said she herself was ADHD. So there!

My older sister is currrently on meds for bi-polar. She is a bit OCDish and depressive, but she hasn't always been that way. She was actually a very obediate, smart kid. She actually has a master's degree now. her bi-polarness got worse, though after she had kids and quit working. I wonder how much her life has contributed to her moods swings and need for bi-polar meds that her doctor claims she needs. I would have to say, she is better to be around once she got medicated.

So, bi-polar disease and ADHD aren't the end of the road.

Last edited by takingtheplunge : 06-02-2011 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 06-02-2011, 02:07 PM
takingtheplunge takingtheplunge is offline
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one last thing. I would not tell anyone but a doc that she has bi-polar parents. I can't express how much I hate it when I hear people joke about someone acting bi-polar in jest.
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:25 PM
hrisme hrisme is offline
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My birth parents both were diagnosed with schizophrenia. Both also used heroin. There's not one person, including the multitude of doctors they both saw, what was the cause of the mental illness, and what was the effect. I've ended up diagnosed with bipolar & OCD, both of which have strong hereditary origins. I've also been diagnosed with generalized anxiety and specific phobias which are probably more environmental. Then there's the insecure attachment patterns, which are glaringly situational.
Nobody gave my parents a money back guarantee. In fact, nobody even bothered to tell my parents there was a family history of mental illness. I am guessing it wouldn't have changed their mind about the placement (I'd say 98% sure!) but I like to think it may have made some difference in my ability to receive treatment early on. As of yet there is no genetic test, CAT scan, or other physical way of telling if an individual has bipolar disorder or the predisposition toward it. There is simply a checklist of behaviors that they change every 20 years or so (DSM-V is coming out soon, and the diagnostic criteria is strikingly different than the DSM-IV).

What it ultimately comes down to is risk. Is the risk of not being a parent greater than the risk of having a child with a mental illness (or some other form of disability)? Because that's basically what it comes down to. The risks are higher with adoption--despite the fact that I will probably get flamed--it's my personal opinion supported heavily by anecdotal observations that many parents who make an adoption plan do so because of life challenges triggered by a mental illness. But risks with giving birth are there as well--two of my (adopted) cousins, both on different sides of the family and thus not at all related biologically, had children with spina bifida. Neither knew there was a family history, though spina bifida also has a genetic link.

You can worry about it, stress about it, hopefully you will educate yourself about it--but when it comes down to it, if it happens you will deal with it, in one way or another.

And to second the comment on joking about it--what's up with that anyway? Most people wouldn't think of joking about a visible handicap and yet even my family members who know I have bipolar disorder joke about it and expect me to think it's funny. Yet another wonderful aspect about having an invisible illness.

I'm on a soap box (actually still in recovery after a manic episode)...excuse the possibility that aspects of this thread make little to no sense.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:05 PM
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greenrobin greenrobin is offline
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hrisme--thank you.

my oldest son has bipolar disorder. aside from some issues of depression for his mom, his parents have no other history of mental illness. his mother's brother has the symptoms of bipolar, but is not diagnosed.

i know this to be absolutely true information because he is our bio-son.

he had the requisite tests to rule out other problems like seizure disorders, tumors, brain bleeds and the like. the best we could get, after thousands of dollars, was a rule-out diagnosis--bipolar was the only thing they could not rule out. he started on his full med protocol when he was 14. it included a mood stabilizer, 2 anti-depressants, 2 ADHD drugs, and an anti-psychotic.

at its worst, it was no fun. at its best? sometimes no fun, but usually better than it had been in a very long time.

by the way, i'm also the parent who openly talks about her son's bipolar illness. i, too, am totally taken aback by the ignorance people have over what it means to be bipolar. my opinion is this: the more secrecy we have about the illness, the longer we will continue to see idiotic behavior. there is no shame in having an illness and i refuse to allow silence and embarrassment to continue.

today he is 23, has a certificate as a diesel mechanic, and makes more money per year than i do with my master's degree. he doesn't take any meds, preferring to be a workaholic to wear himself out. he's holding it together most of the time now.

was there a family predisposition toward bipolar? i doubt it, yet here it is. should he never have kids because of that? no. he just needs to be aware.

hrisme is absolutely right--which hurts worse--what might or might not be at some point or being childless? if we worried all of the time about what could happen, we would become immobilized! my youngest son and daughter have a parent who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. there are quite a bit of drug and alcohol problems. i chose not to worry about it, just love my kids.

i would worry more about the issues the child currently has--like RAD or interesting history. then i'd educate myself. then i'd choose based on what i believed i could handle.

and yeah, i chose to adopt even with the history and the RAD and the potential for things to go kablooey.

or the potential for things to be wonderful.

there are no guarantees in this. there is only hope. and love.

Last edited by greenrobin : 06-14-2011 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:31 AM
SuddenMom SuddenMom is offline
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We finalize this month and are aware our kids have a family history of schizophrenia. Like some others have said, you'll drive yourself crazy if you try to think about every little thing that could happen.
We know the age this could hit & have educated ourselves on what to look out for & we just love our babies the same as we would if we had birthed them.
You just have to decide what your limits are & if you can handle whatever could come up.
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Old 06-08-2013, 09:51 AM
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MountainMommy MountainMommy is offline
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Our girls have a family history of bi-polar disorder and one of the family members hoped to discourage us with this information. The truth is that, raised in a different environment, there is a good chance the girls may never show signs of being bi-polar themselves.

However, we know what to look for and watch out for. We know that there are treatments to help. We know they need us right now. Any child could develop something at a later date.
6/25/12- Initial inquiry into adoption
10/11/12 Officially on the list

12/2012 Got the call for twin girls, age three
8/2013 Got the call for a boy, age 15 months

Currently on the list for a girl, 0-6, any race

1 bio
08/2013-present- Adopted 4/2014

Not in our home, but in our hearts - Twin A and B, age five 12/12-11/13
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Old 06-15-2013, 11:03 PM
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Sheena85 Sheena85 is offline
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The two boys I adopted with NO history known of mental who knows..but they are amazing
Current placements...8 kiddos (sib group of 5 fosters, 3 adopted):

AD 13 yr old
FS 9.5 yr old March 2013-
FD 8.5 yr old March 2013-
FD 6.5 yr old March 2013-
AD 5 yr old
FD 3.5 yr old March 2013-
AS 3.5 yr old
FD 1.5 yr old March 2013-

Past placements:
22 kids...12 10
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:31 AM
Kathyyoung Kathyyoung is offline
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Same as for a baby to whom you give birth. Becoming a parent is a crap shoot. You don't know what you will get, but you love them.
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