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Guest Blog: Tyler, Coming Home

This is the story of my new son, Tyler (a pseudonym), and his journey home. Tyler is 11 years old, lives in foster care, and was available for adoption. He entered the system five years ago due to neglect. He was separated from his brother for appropriate reasons, but feels tremendous loss. He has had many placements, including two group homes, one of which was very inappropriate and poorly supervised. He is very bright, does well in school when he chooses to, and has had an issue with depression. He has Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and has issues with attachment due to the number of moves and disappointments he has lived through.

I am an older parent. We are a single father family with five boys, three are adults, and two live at home, and they are currently 18 and 21. Four of the boys came home through adoption from foster care, all with substantial issues. I had decided to do it one last time, and have a wonderful agency, truly outstanding. I was determined to do straight adoption and not foster-adopt, (that means that the placement is adoption from day one, no foster care.) Since my state, California, does not do straight adoption that meant interstate, which is how all four of my boys came home. We looked at a number of possibilities, and I was actually matched with another 11 year old in another state. Social worker problems (on the other end) made it ultimately undoable. After a considerable amount of searching, the head of my agency asked me if I would do a California child, if it could be straight adoption. He had been a huge help, and I thought that there was nothing to lose since CA never does that kind of adoption anyhow, and I said “Yes.” Three weeks later he called and said “Check your email and call me.”

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Whack a Thief Get Whacked by the Police

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Today's guest blog is from John, a retired commercial airline pilot who has adopted four boys from domestic foster care as a single parent. John and his family live in southern California.

 

I have written about my 18-year-old son Chad, and his medical emergency in Berlin Germany. That blog is titled “RAD DAD AND THINGS GONE BAD – UNSAFETY,” if you would like to read about it. Believe it or not this event happened earlier on the same trip. Kids make life exciting. It was a beautiful day, about 4PM. We were enjoying Frankfurt, and Chad asked to go to the train station (Hbf). We had been to Frankfurt enough that he was very familiar with the area. My son, Thomas and I, knew he was going to use a phone card and call his girl friend.

 

A lot of time passed, and we began to get concerned. Finally, he appeared, very excited. He had seen a “street person” going into the station and three German police officers. He was wearing a ‘hoody’. In the middle of the phone call to his girlfriend, someone reached around from behind him, and jerked the hood part of the hoody over his face, so he couldn’t see anything. The thief quickly took his wallet from his pants pocket, and ran off. Chad did NOT yell “HELP POLICE, THIEF.” You see, he has Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ODD, so instead of ‘I won’t do it, and you can’t make me’, it becomes ‘You will not do that and let me show you why!’

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RAD DAD AND THINGS GONE BAD – UNSAFETY

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Today's guest blog is from John, a retired commercial airline pilot who has adopted four boys from domestic foster care as a single parent. John and his family live in southern California.

 

No, I don’t mean RAD as in Radical (Yes, I know that is dated.) I am referring to Reactive Attachment Disorder. My youngest son, Chad, age 18, has RAD. We have attached, that is a true miracle, but the disorder is not something easily disposed of. I suspect some degree of it lasts for a lifetime. He is very attached to me, fairly attached to his 20-year-old brother, and to one friend. That is the limit of real attachment. Like all RAD kids, he came home with very pronounced hyper-vigilance; he always had to be on guard for his safety. Because he was the only person he could trust. Although this has noticeably abated, it can be triggered. This is about an event that was very difficult for him to handle.  

We were on vacation in Germany. We have been there a number of times before, this time we were in Berlin, an interesting city with neat people, and Starbucks on almost every corner. Everything was going very well until Friday night when Chad developed a severe pain in his stomach. It got worse as time passed. By 9 PM, I asked the hotel to call their Doctor. He was alarmed, the pain was intense, and he wondered if there could be a perforation. We got to ride to the hospital in the ambulance. Surprise, only one Nurse spoke any English, very unlike the Berlin we had seen. After blood tests, and X-rays, the Doc had to try and tell me what was happening. Chad could tell we were having language problems (It turns out the doc was a former East German and spoke German and Russian.) so he was understandably frightened. We got it sorted out, it was something he ate, no surgery needed. The painkillers were working and we took a cab back to the hotel. He was upset, as in very very upset.

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My 10 Year Old Beat Me Up!

Today's guest blog is from John, a former commercial airline pilot who has adopted four boys from domestic foster care as a single parent. John and his family live in southern California.

 

My middle son, Steven, came home as a nine year old with many issues. He was very violent. I had never dealt with a violent child before, and was clueless what to do. He had been home for about two months; we had already done a number of restraints, with me figuring out what to do by trial and error, and being bitten frequently.

One night we went to rent a video. I knew better than to get out of the car without first establishing what we were going to do. He immediately became oppositional, and started to escalate. He did NOT want to get just one movie, and did want one that was way too violent. I kept up with “We can’t go in until we agree on what we are doing.” It got much worse, with kicking the dash, the door, and even the windshield. I knew I had to do a restraint.

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Hitting an Iceberg, not Enough Lifeboats

Today's guest blog is from John, a former commercial airline pilot who has adopted four boys from domestic foster care as a single parent. John and his family live in southern California.

I have blogged about being matched for adoption with a wonderful 10 year old boy in another state. Lane, a pseudonym, was who I was hoping to find; he met every item on my wish list. Yes, he had issues, but ones I felt comfortable with. This would be my fifth child from foster care. It was a good match, my family was the structure that he needed, and he seemed to be right for us

On Tuesday, I had to withdraw as the potential family for Lane. The situation couldn’t be salvaged. I am sad, angry, hurt and very frustrated. The problem? All of the problems were products of the supervisor, WP. Lane’s worker was very nice and had done one whole adoption, in-state, and was very deferential to her supervisor, WP.

WP was remarkably inept in social work. She believed that her agency should not have to contact the family’s agency and brief them. She felt that was the job of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) in her state.