I am not going to go into all of his behavior issues. I will say that having a lot of negative behaviors on top of attachment issues makes it real hard to see what you are dealing with. Neglect is a terrible thing. It can do damage that you don't see. No one talked to him prior to his coming into foster care. His language delays have been hard to overcome.
Because of some of his issues I could not have the girls help with attachment. Even with myself I couldn't do the regular cuddling. What do you do when a child has been taught that a cuddle isn't just a cuddle? How do you work on attachment when he doesn't know appropriate touch?
I did cuddle with him....while doing his hair. It took me a long time to braid all his hair and he loved to sit in my lap while I did it. That type of contact was so important to him.
There were times when we questioned if we were the right placement for him. His behaviors were difficult to deal with at times. However, we knew that he had already been moved once, each move would be even more damaging for him. When foster children are moved a lot they lose grounds with each placement.
We have had one doctor diagnosis him as bipolar. I question that sometimes. I am just not sure. Honestly, I believe that he has some type of neurological damage from the early severe neglect. Each year is just a little better then the last.
He has had to make up for his lost time. We try to guide him along the way
Sometimes we are successful, sometimes we are frustrated. Things don't come easy to him. He understands the world from his place and sometimes it is foreign to us.
His defiance to others just hasn't gone away. Sometimes I feel that he will not relinquish that control unless he feels safe to do so. He knows that John and I are in control and can keep him safe so he has finally relinquished control to us (most of the time). However, with Sarah it is another story. I do think that it is time to try a star chart for him when she is in charge. I know of a particular toy that he wants. I think he is old enough and comprehends enough now to work towards earning it.
Attachment, honestly I am not sure where we stand with him. There is attachment but I don't think that it is as strong as it needs to be. It is so hard to wade through all the issues and behaviors and determine where you need to go. I told John recently that we need to really concentrate on the attachment now. I feel that his other issues are at a manageable level.
There is healing and there is hope for his future. I feel that if we keep going along our path that he can become all that he wants to be (a cowboy at one time). We just need to be patient, work steadily and never give up.
Anthony Lewis, you are loved and cherished.