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Guest Blog: Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall – 850 Miles Away, Is Dad Still There? Part 2

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By GuestBlogger - Posted on 29 April 2010

Another honest, real life, older child adoption guest blog from John. He is a retired commercial airline pilot who has adopted five boys, over three decades, from domestic foster care as a single parent. John and his family live in southern California.

Continued from Part 1. Every night he had to fill out a self report on his day. What did he do well, what went badly? What was most frustrating, etc. I was given a copy of them each week. Life was unfair; he was being blamed for things that weren’t his fault. The school sucked. The kids were damaged, and he wasn’t, and the staff was mean. There was another boy there that he truly disliked. Many nights his answer to “What did you do today that you were really proud of?” was, ‘I didn’t annihilate Kyle Goodman’. Kyle was two years older, and somewhat more beefy than Tyler, Kyle would not have been annihilated.

With each week there was progress. He was doing less and less deflecting responsibility, and more searching for answers. It was slow but steady. Nice even happened sometimes. We spent Thanksgiving and his birthday apart. We were going to spend Christmas night together, due to the schedule for the procedure that I needed to do with him.

Christmas night, I picked him up at 9PM, and we drove to the motel. On the way, he told me about something that really upset him.

Tyler has PTSD, a trigger will cause him to erupt and lose it. A staff member was apparently trying to eliminate the eruptions by intentionally triggering anger and distress frequently. When Tyler would start to get nervous or agitated, the staff member would say loudly “Freak out Tyler, come on, freak out.” He would keep repeating it; Tyler was not allowed to leave. That is what you do NOT do with PTSD. It produces panic, and that can lead to an extreme reaction, it’s dangerous, clearly emotional abuse. I was going to have to take care of it somehow, a bad sinking feeling. We had Christmas at the hotel, with a small tree, candy and some presents. It was nice. I could almost pretend we were together again.

Bedtime and he took off his shirt. His upper back had a number of angry red marks, finger sized. He explained the same staff member was impatient with him for taking too long with his after dinner chore. He grabbed Tyler by the scruff of the neck very firmly and marched him around in front of the other boys, saying “Come on Tyler this is just in fun, don’t be so serious.” Tyler got loose, and the staffer grabbed him again, but more firmly, by now all of the kids were laughing at him. Finally he lurched away, but the staffer jabbed him in the side with his thumb, a much larger bruise. Child abuse, Tyler has lived through so much of that, but this time it happened on my watch, what an awful feeling. What was I going to do? No plan and no ideas. Actually, I really did know what I was going to do. I got on the computer and without really thinking about it rebooked the flight home (I had taken the airline), but this time it was for two, and adult and a 13 year old. No plan, no ideas, but God surely did not intend for Tyler to live with child abuse. Next… We are a family, and no plan is the right plan.

Photo Credit: Ten Safe Frogs


chromesthesia's picture

Poor cub. I can't understand what is up with institutions that abuse already abused children. That's not logical. There needs to be a better system than that.

alejansmom's picture


It's been awhile and I was SO hoping that this placement was going to be of some help to your son.  After reading "Part I" I was thinking hopeful things, even though I know the likelihood of the system and was can happen.   Plus the fact that I was aghast at the total cost per month that this is costing you...  However, as you and I are aware, IF the treatment is helpful, we continue to hope and pay.  But, after reading "Part II," I am totally livid.  Thankfully, you were able to have some private time with your son - enough to see and find out the additional abuse that he is having to live though, in a facility that is supposed to be helping him AND at your expense.  This crap has to some.  These people must be stopped.  They are banking on the fact that we - the parents - of these children, be them adopted, or our biological "product" - will not have the nerve to prosecute or expose their actions.  They are doing these horrendous things to our children thinking that, if push comes to shove, it is their word over the word of our children, that these actions REALLY occurred because after all - they are the "professionals" and our children are the so-called "mental cases."  And, lastly, we have entrusted our children to them - and would we have done that if we didn't trust them; would we place our children with abusers??? 

The burden of proof is on us - but you have the marks on your son and I hope you took photos - MANY photos and called many people regarding this.  Your son needs help, not reinforcement of his problems and then having these same people giving you lip service by lying and telling you what they are doing to help him with lie after lie and not telling you the truth.  If you had not been there at this particular time when the marks were still evident, it might have been many more weeks before you saw the evidence of this type of "training" ritual .  How many times must these kids have to endure these so-called health care workers abuse before the facility is investigated for child abuse?  If we are not our children's best advocate - then who???



John's picture

Hi Liz. Yes it was wrong that Tyler was abused in a state supervised facility. I was unaware that sort of thing even happened. Here is CA, RTCs are very carefully overseen, leave a mark and you are gone the next day.

I did report the abuse to the state Tyler was in. They investigated. The final report was "No Abuse". The worker agreed that the marks were not good, but she had interviewed another student at that school who had seen the incident, and in his opinion, "It was all in good clean fun". Therefore, there was no abuse. I will not say what state this was, but it is North of Sacramento, and South of Olympia.