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foster parents in need of help with four year old foster child - Page 2

post #21 of 34

I know in our state they encourage you to go to DCF and read the kids file, that could give you a little more info if you haven't done that. Also if you tell the case manager you think it would be helpful to know more maybe he could give you more info. 


At our DCF training they said that the majority of children in foster care have experience some degree of sexual abuse. One case manager said that she could only think of a few kids she had worked with who had not been sexually abused to some extent. Also keep in mind that it might be that he could have had adults around them that were not appropriate with their sexual behavior with each other, or he could have been exposed to porn, or to inappropriate sexual comments, things like that that you might not think of. It is so sad to think of but the sad reality is that there is a high likely-hood of sexual abuse, just statistically. You probably do this all ready but make sure that he is not alone with other kids even for a second, it is normal to be curious but make sure the other kid is safe and not feeling like her privacy is being invaded, actually I think I would keep him in another room when she is going potty/getting changed, just to be safe for her.


It sounds like you do have a good relationship with his case manager and again, a good case manager should really be able to help you with how to talk to him about these things, they should know how to bring up topics of sexual abuse as they are trained for it and have dealt with it many times before.  


Originally Posted by LovingMyKids4 View Post

I don't know much about the kinds of trauma he has endured. The caseworker hasn't given much information. He did tell me that there was alot of physical violence. And that his biomom was given a week to clean what I consider normal daily stuff: Dishes, vacuuming, picking up toys, laundry, moping, sweeping, etc. And she couldn't do it. So from what I gathered the home was disgusting. He has opened up about his moms ex pushing on the back of his head really hard and smashing his face off of the wall repeatedly. That's about all he has said about it, not that what he did to this four year old boy isn't bad enough, but I would like to eventually help him open up more I feel that talking about things will help his behavior tremendously. There is a little girl I babysit who is three years old. Her parents just started potty training, (they waited until she could tell them when she has to go) but when she is sitting on her little potty, or getting a diaper change on days that she doesn't want the potty, his nose is literally right between her legs. The expression on his face and just the way that he stares at her makes me wonder about the possibility of sexual abuse. But I don't know how to approach the topic with him.

post #22 of 34
Thread Starter 

Things have been going smoothly so far. Few minor issues here and there but that is what is expected. My husband and I have had my 3 year old niece for a week now. (No abandonment and this isn't permanent) My sister is sick and in hospital right now. My niece is terrified of the dark, so I have been leaving my bedroom door open at night for her, and for foster son in case they need anything. Last week things started heating up with the hubby and this awkward feeling like someone was staring at me hit me. So I looked up, and what do you know I have an audience, my foster son is standing in my doorway... didn't say a word, just went downstairs to use the bathroom. Of course my reaction was OMG! My hubby jumped up and ran downstairs, to see what he needed and I think get rid of his embarassment. Both of the children were sound asleep before all this just to clarify. I checked. Last night same thing happens to me again except foster son opened my bedroom door. I don't know what to make of this. We are human obviously not having sex until the end of time isn't an option I just don't know what else to do. There is only two nights a week that it is possible for us to have some alone time, because of his work schedule. I guess what I'm trying to ask is.. Well a few things more like it. Has this ever happened to anyone? How did you deal with it/bring up the issue? And how do I set the limits with him? I don't want him to feel like he can't let us/me know if he needs anything at any point in the night or day.

post #23 of 34

Get a bolt for your bedroom door, and lock it only when you need privacy with your husband. If there's a pattern of knocks at the door during "couple time," then you'll know it's being done on purpose and you'll have to figure out how to deal with that. If this was just a random  incident of bad timing, then you'll probably get your door knocked on infrequently or never. 


No sex with the bedroom door open, Mama. That's a bad idea for any family. 

post #24 of 34

I picked up on something you said about the three-year-old you babysit...please, please keep a very close eye on your foster son with this girl. Asking questions and showing age-appropriate interest in others' anatomy is one thing. You describe it as "having his nose" in her crotch during toileting and diaper changes.


Please do not subject other children in your family or in your care to trauma in order to "save" this one boy. He may need to be in an only-child scenario - and judging only by what you said, he needs near 24-7 intensive monitoring to prevent self-harm, food hoarding, potential elopement behaviors (hiding from you), and potential sexual predation. If you cannot absolutely, completely, 100% say that you have the resources to not only help this boy but ALSO keep your other charges safe, you need to go back to the agency who placed him and ask for an in home aide, or, to have the boy placed elsewhere.


It's not a question of failing the boy, or giving up, or "turning away" (your words) a child. You simply may not be the environment he needs. Difficult to accept, I know, but you may need to face that reality in order to protect your other children. Otherwise, the whole situation is going to turn into a snowballing problem of epic proportions in which nobody is healthy or safe - yourself included.

post #25 of 34
That's not ok for him to see, with his history. Use a lock immediately when you are intimate, and unlock when you're finished. Yes, may kill the spontaneity, but sex with kids in the house is always tricky, with a kid with signs of sexual knowledge/abuse, it's non-negotiable. You could lose your ability to foster if he said he saw you having sex.
post #26 of 34

Another vote for locking your bedroom door while you and hubby are intimate! That should be common sense, really. Kids shouldn't see that. Especially not foster children.

You can teach the kids how to knock on the door when it's locked. They learn pretty fast.


You can also put an alarm on the children's bedroom door so if they open it in the middle of the night then a chime sounds and you know they're up and about. Don't ever punish them for making the alarm go off (set it to chime instead of alarm so it's less disturbing to others sleeping). It's just a notice for you that the kiddo is walking around at night, it's not meant for any other purpose. We use it in our home to alert us if our toddler leaves his room at night. That way we can get up and meet his needs without him getting into trouble (I can just imagine him climbing over the babygate at the top of the stairs and trying to go down to get himself a snack in the middle of the night! Not on my watch! If he's hungry then I will get the snack and there will be no climbing over babygates or falling downstairs.)

post #27 of 34

I know you said you want to try to help him open up and talk more about things.  You said talking about things might help with the behavior.


As someone who has trauma in my background, I would not have wanted someone to bring something up and ask questions or try to talk about my past.  Of course if he initiates that is different.  But I strongly disagree that talking about past trauma will change behavior for the better.  If anything it usually makes it worse.  Again if this is done therapeutically it is a different story.  I don't mean to sound harsh.  I can tell how much you love him. 


He is more than what happened to him in his past.  He is more than his current behaviors.  Just focus on loving him and building a new relationship with him, that's what would have made me feel safe anyway.

post #28 of 34

Sometimes kids want to play about stuff instead of talking, especially at this age. It can be a bit like a pressure cooker letting off its steam. As kathteach alludes, he might not have words for his experiences at this age, even if he wanted to talk. It also depends on whether he had a single traumatic experience as opposed to an endless string of them.

post #29 of 34

My current foster son is 8, and does not want to answer questions about his past. I think that's a very normal adaptive response. 


Every kid is different, but this has worked well with all three foster sons so far: I say something that I know to be true, that I know is on their weighing on them, and then I hear it back again in a few days later with added details/questions. This isn't a sit-down chat, usually it's in response to another child's question while I'm driving or something. My biokds give me a lot of good openings, but if they weren't here I think I'd fine myself addressing neutral-sounding remarks to the wall, or the dog, or something similarly insane, because it seems to help so much. 

post #30 of 34

I hope you find some good support soon too. I know how hard it can be to admit that something is more than you can handle, but this little boy does sound severely damaged. You are right to be alarmed at his behaviors. It will take time. Blessings to you.

post #31 of 34

My daughter is 10, has lived with me for more than two years, and still refuses to say anything bad/negative about her past. She might offer something good up, like a vacation she went on, or some other fun thing...but she has never volunteered anything about trauma, ever. Bringing it up puts her in a stress mode, which is nearly guaranteed to be followed by negative behaviors. We are working on it in therapy, very slowly. Today we had therapy and the therapist simply asked her to write down five traumatic things that have happened to her, could be anything from something in a foster home, birth home, whatever....she wasnt asked to talk about it but simply write down briefly some things that happened. She bacame visibly agitated and uncomfortable. She just sat there, then drew a couple of pics, the therapist said no, i said write it down. She didnt know what to write. I suggested something like the time she said she was hit with an extension cord in a foster home. So she wrote that down. Then she wrote down she saw scary movies. Thats it. She couldnt come up with anything else and didnt want to proceed. She will not allow herself to do to a dark place and prefers to keep a superficially happy persona. She says she "doesnt like to think about bad things." (well, who does really?)

post #32 of 34

Oh, and a book that may help you understand his responses better is calle "Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control" by Heather Forbes. My daughter's new therapist basis a lot of her therapy around the principles and had me read the book. It has changed EVERYTHING for us. Almost like some freakish miracle cure. Its all about the brain chemistry of a child who has been traumatized, and what may look like manipulation, or control, or lying, or whatever else to us is really a response to stress on a subconscious brain level. I didnt think it would "work" and it did. My daughter has not had one tantrum in WEEKS, and i have not felt one overly negative thought about her in weeks (whereas before i felt angry and irritated all.the.time.)

post #33 of 34
Thread Starter 

Foster son now has a play therapist that will come to our home twice a week for an hour at a time, along with his regular child psychologist three days a week. We had a court date on Monday and were given Primary Physical Custody. The only issue now is the grandparents rights in PA. He did live with his grandparents for 12 consecutive months so they are entitled to visitation, but would they still be entitled to it if the grandparents were involved in why CPS took the measures to remove the children from thier home? We are just worried about the grandparents getting unsupervised visits and having foster son, soon to be adopted son, being in an abusive situation again. I have googled the grandparents rights for Pennsylvania, but it didn't say anything about if there is proved abuse, or unsafe circumstances.

post #34 of 34

Katherine: that's great news about the new therapist!


LovingMyKids, also great news! This much professional help, this early in your boy's life, is the best possible chance you can give him for long-term healing. 


I wouldn't worry too much about the grandparents in another state. If you ignore or deny their attempts at contact, they would have to get a lawyer in your jurisdiction, go to trial etc. to enforce their putative right to visitation. I doubt that you will have trouble with them if this case goes to adoption. 

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