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This room is dedicated to those who are facing the challenge of raising children without the support of a spouse. This is a place to share ideas and lend mutual support.

Saint Rita is known to be a patroness for abused wives and mourning women.
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Apr 1st 2013 new
(Quote) Emma-815522 said: Hello, I've recently adopted 2 kids from overseas. Though they are 5 and ~8, they're about 2 and 3 emot...
(Quote) Emma-815522 said:

Hello, I've recently adopted 2 kids from overseas. Though they are 5 and ~8, they're about 2 and 3 emotionally/ experientially (now that they've been here 10 weeks).





I had no idea what I was getting into.





Any advice is appreciated from parents of adopted /special needs kids.





Advice for normal american kids my age really doesn't apply . But God bless us all.

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Hi Emma,

Congratulations on becoming a mother or and/or expanding your family.

There is hope for your children. I am a special ed teacher working with children with developmental delays ages birth to five. My favorite cases are adoption cases because these children improve the quickest. Adopted children are more likely to be delayed due to lack of experience (as you indicated) rather than a learning disability, even though they will probably be classified with learning disability purely bcause of the significant delay.

It is imperative that you have your children evaluated by your department of education as soon as possible and vigorously pursue services for them. I say vigorously because most school systems (here in NY anyway) are strapped for cash and are trying to save money by delaying the evaluation process and under servicing children. Make sure you obtain a copy of your rights as a parent (some type of pamphlet or guide book)from your dept of ed and memorize it from cover to cover. Know and push for your rights. Seek the council of an education lawyer, if necessary.

I am hooping that your school system is different than ours here and you won't have to be on the offensive. I don't mean to scare you; it's just that many parents here have to fight for their chidrens educational rights. Maybe your experiences will be different there and the school system will be very generous with service. Just be prepared to be an educated, over involved and savvy parent who is pushy instead of a push over.

God bless you for giving these children a chance.
Apr 1st 2013 new

Hi Emma, I actually adopted a little boy from OR about 2 years ago. He is 9 now but socially gets along with 4-6 year olds. He has had a very abusive background which was never disclosed until he was with me for about 9 months. The best advice I can tell you is advocate for your kids in every aspect. Don't be afraid to go against the so-called experts opinions. You are with these kids 24/7 and know them better than anyone, follow your gut feelings. I have my son in a private school where he is getting good grades and slowly making friends. I meet with the teacher/principal every day to go over how each day went. Once the kids see you fighting for them every step of the way, they learn to trust you. It's constant reassurance and love. You will be exhausted at the end of every day and not sure if you made any progress but it will come. Give it time, pray alot, teach the kids the power of prayer also. It has gotten us thru some tough times. Good Luck.

Apr 2nd 2013 new

(Quote) Joyce-61410 said: " Hi Emma, I assume because your kids are older and were adopted from ...
(Quote) Joyce-61410 said:

"

Hi Emma,

I assume because your kids are older and were adopted from overseas that they were raised in institutions? I adopted two children with medical and behavioral issues through foster care - my daughter was 16 months old when I adopted her, and my son was 3-1/2 when I adopted him a year later. They both had attachment disorders and our normal was much different than other families' normal. He was developmentally delayed and diagnosed with ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) and spent the first few months slamming his head into the floor every time I talked to/tried to comfort him. My daughter and I saw an attachment counselor for about a year when she was 17 years and while it was extremely helpful, I really believe our family would have benefited by early attachment therapy for both kids. My kids both had "disinhibited behavior" which in my son meant he hugged everyone, in my daughter she attached herself to people she just met. She was/is extremely charming, but in the beginning it was all surface charm with no real connection - and none of that charm was wasted on me. We did bond, it was actually helped by her heart surgery when she was 22 months old - she started to trust me and rely on me, I guess. There were continuing problems with both kids as they grew up - it was better until they hit 12ish, then the problems started to escalate again.

www.mayoclinic.com

"Inhibited behavior. Children with inhibited behavior shun relationships and attachments to virtually everyone. This may happen when a baby never has the chance to develop an attachment to any caregiver."

"Disinhibited behavior. Children with disinhibited behavior seek attention from virtually everyone, including strangers. This may happen when a baby has multiple caregivers or frequent changes in caregivers. Children with this type of reactive attachment disorder may frequently ask for help doing tasks, have inappropriately childish behavior or appear anxious. "

I would be happy to help in any way I can, but I think you'll need to rely on a good behavior therapist and at some point an attachment therapist (if attachment IS one of their issues). Our behavior therapist helped me to retrain my son to stop banging his head (the most concerning of his behaviors).

God bless you all!

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Emma, bless your generous heart!! I am a special ed teacher and some of my students have RAD (as Joyce described it). Read what Joyce wrote and seek out assistance from the adoption agency. They need to support you on your journey as a single mom. Were the kids exposed to drugs in utero? This is another HUGE hurdle with many adoptive children. Seek out resources in your public school system, including early childhood. You are a beautiful lady with two beautiful children. There is also an organization called ASK (adoption of special kids) that will give you additional support, including support groups.

Apr 2nd 2013 new
I admire you so much Emma. I'm sure God blesses you and your children every day. He will sure lead your way.
Apr 2nd 2013 new

(Quote) Marge-938695 said: Are they siblings?
(Quote) Marge-938695 said:

Are they siblings?

--hide--

I'll tell you what I told people when they asked me that question. They are NOW!

Apr 2nd 2013 new

My deceased husband and I adopted 12 children, most with special needs ranging from Schizophrenia, FAS, Seizure Disorder to Autism. Most of them had the worst disorder of all...Attachment Disorder, which makes it difficult, sometimes impossible for them to develop a normal conscience. It is common among most older adopted children, to a lesser or greater degree, if they were neglected, regardless of whether they are from overseas or the US. The disorder comes from a lack of consistant and responsive care from the same one to three people in early infancy, and those are the children that eventually get removed in the US (but our laws make that so difficult that the children are irrovocably damaged before it finally happens). Overseas, it is the neglect that occurs when they are given up as infants that does the damage. Normal Attachment takes place almost completely within the first 18 months. After that the window gets very small. Amazing that most people think a child who was abused would be the most damaged, but in fact it is neglect that harms to the greatest extent. Am I saying its hopeless? No. Some children are able to form a normal Attachment post infancy, but it takes specialists in that area to help parents accomplish this, and a lot, a LOT, of structure, which for me was exhausting.

Layered on top of this, with my kids, was FAS - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - which when I adopted was denied as a disorder. Now, most pediatricians can recognize it, and will diagnose. Then the grab bag of other problems, most commonly PTSD from abuse, and Attention Deficit Disorder and various other genetic mental problems. In many cases it was difficult to disinguish one from the other, because symptoms overlap.

BUT the disorders are not the children. The children are first and most importantly, children, with the same likes, dislikes, needs, joys and talents as other children, who may have a difficult time developing but who's chances are increased a thousand fold if they acquire a caring and devoted parent! The disorders need attention and usually medication, but they do not define the people they grow up to be. I have one child who had FAS and was housed in a barn raised by dogs while being sexually abused, for four years. Today, she is a happy, spirtual, married woman. Unfortunately I had another that is bright, pretty, and endowed with great talents, who is a unrepentant drug addict. They are who they are, and ultimately they make their own choices.

You are in for a bumpy, but potentially incredibly satisfying, ride. Good Luck and all my prayers!

Apr 3rd 2013 new

Hi Emma,

I have an 11 year-old adopted daughter who has been diagnosed with PDD (Pervasive Developmental Delay) and SID (Sensory Integration Disorder). My wife and I discovered early on that our child exhibited some unusual behaviors. We (mostly my wife) did a lot of research and outreach to our faith community for answers and support. My special needs daughter has significant social, learning, and behavioral challenges. Help is out there but, you have to find it and it isn't always consistent. My wife has since been called home to our Lord and, as we approach the teen years, I can say that much of what I have learned has helped me cope with the realities of the situation. That's not to say it's easy. It's not and probably never will be. I pray every day, and often, that the Holy Spirit will guide me in my parenting techniques and give me the patience to raise my daughter in a loving, Catholic home. There is a reason that God permits others to enter our lives. Trust in Him, no matter how difficult it gets. Remember that He loves you just as you love your children. You are in my prayers.

Jim

Apr 3rd 2013 new
(Quote) Jim-912495 said: Hi Emma, I have an 11 year-old adopted daughter who has been diagnosed with PDD (Pervasive Developmental D...
(Quote) Jim-912495 said:

Hi Emma,

I have an 11 year-old adopted daughter who has been diagnosed with PDD (Pervasive Developmental Delay) and SID (Sensory Integration Disorder). My wife and I discovered early on that our child exhibited some unusual behaviors. We (mostly my wife) did a lot of research and outreach to our faith community for answers and support. My special needs daughter has significant social, learning, and behavioral challenges. Help is out there but, you have to find it and it isn't always consistent. My wife has since been called home to our Lord and, as we approach the teen years, I can say that much of what I have learned has helped me cope with the realities of the situation. That's not to say it's easy. It's not and probably never will be. I pray every day, and often, that the Holy Spirit will guide me in my parenting techniques and give me the patience to raise my daughter in a loving, Catholic home. There is a reason that God permits others to enter our lives. Trust in Him, no matter how difficult it gets. Remember that He loves you just as you love your children. You are in my prayers.

Jim

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That is good advice all the way around Jim. Sometimes God is the only one who can guide and console. He holds the answers to the difficult questions but YOU must do the legwork. He puts people there to help but as you said, you must search them out. It is funny that my most recent dilemma was solved with assistance of the women in my church through their connections. I was hitting a brick wall but I started calling, being referred to someone else and so on until I got answers. God's blessings to all and don't worry about the calluses on your dialing finger, they will heal! Eileen
Apr 3rd 2013 new

Thanks for saying that -- it's a great reply.
My reason for asking, though, was...I wondered if sibling would focus on each other rather than on people and things around them and so not adjust as well because they don't need to. (My youngest kids are twins. Even at 16, they are each other's first refuge.)

Apr 4th 2013 new

Hi Emma - Great advice so far from many posters! I am a pediatric physical therapist and agree that the important thing you can do is advocate! Are they hooked into PT/OT/Speech through the school district yet? If not, contact the district to see if they can get evaluated. If you have the ability, and feel that they would benefit, you may also want to look into outpatient services in addition to what you can get through the schools - for your kiddos probably especially Speech and OT to work on the socialization and play skills they will likely need to develop. Your therapists may also be able to get you hooked into play and social groups so they can practice with peers.

I'm happy to try and answer any questions you might have about therapy services :)

God bless you for adopting these little ones - you're in my prayers!

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