Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Teens and Adoption

I thought parenting preschool children with past trauma, attachment issues, and FASD was difficult. The tantrums, lying, hitting, swearing, signs of attachment disorder, and dealing with the foster and adoption system just about broke me.  But the love for my children grew. I had hope that we could break through the attachment disorders and my children could learn to love, and live within a family. We had support from an awesome social worker and therapist. It was the hardest time, yet it was the best time.

I learned so much, and my youngest two settled into a pretty peaceful state in elementary school. Life wasn't perfect, but it manageable. I could see great gains in my children. My son stopped hitting me and learned to control his anger. My daughter, though she struggled with school, was showing her awesome ability to nurture both dogs and babies. Yes, there were little adjustments that had to be done, but I became an expert on seeing the beginnings of problems before they became worse. I really thought we would be the exception in the discouraging stats of fetal alcohol. My children were doing so well!

Then came adolescence. Our therapist warned us that we may have to begin therapy again when my kids hit the teenage years, but I half believed her. Our family was strong, we learned so much, and we could handle any teenager. I was so wrong. Last night at a group therapy session, I realized that I had to teach my daughter again to love and learn to be a part of the family. But this time is harder. It is natural for teenagers to spread their wings and become less attached with the family. My daughter is pushing us away from her, yet her wings are broken. How do I help her to grow, yet not be a danger to herself or others?

I really don't know. I guess that's why we are at therapy again.


  1. oohh mama! i am so sorry i have no advice to help...i was gonna actually ask you for some pointers! we are foster parents to a 4 year old, have been since he was 5 months. the thing is, he gets to see bio mom regularly, and there is no end, to his case, in site. he sees a therapist and we're having major tantrums. the system is breaking him, and he's not sure where he can we help him!?

  2. I understand the difficulty of attachment when there are birth parents involved. Our therapist and social workers stressed that it is important to have your foster child attach to you and to the birth family. A child needs to learn to connect to someone, to love and be loved. It's not easy. We've had the birth family try to disrupt the attachment to us, which is pretty natural when you think of it. Who wants their child to call some stranger mama, or their child to go to that same stranger for comfort when they fall down? But when the birth family isn't able to care for their own children, it is up to us to attach to the child, despite the cost or whether our foster child returns the love. When our children reconnected to the birth family, I kept saying, "I have six kids and love each one of them. You can love two moms, just like I can love six children, because you have a lot of love in you." It seemed to help the dilemma of trying to only love one mom at a time, which wasn't working out.

  3. thats very good advice...thank you! on the other side he gets scolded when he calls me mom, so he's very careful with us about what he calls her...i dont ever correct him, but i 'm sad that he even has to worry.
    thank so much for your time!