Friday, January 31, 2014


The battle continues. Given the opportunity Emma will sneak off to other rooms and try to find anything edible, this includes John's prunes!

She snuck off when Sarah was watching the kids and got into Sarah's bedroom.  Another night when I was out grocery shopping and John was in charge she snuck into the master bedroom and found a stash there.

I found evidence of her thievery in her room.

A pattern has surfaced, if mom isn't watching she can sneak off. She is good.  She is very quiet.  She uses excuses; going to the bathroom or getting a drink of water to leave the room.  She might even just wait for a distraction to sneak out.  The thing is I notice.  I watch her go get water and make sure she does only that. 

Talking with Emma I realize that she has always taken from everyone.  She admits that she has done it since she came.  This isn't something new.  She takes from my mom, Easter candy, Halloween candy, Christmas candy, John's office, Sarah's stash, my private stash.  We have been working hard at clearing up our stashes but we seem to have too many.

I noticed that when the stashes started disappearing she started destroying other stuff.  She was taking feminine products from the bathroom and tearing them apart in her room.  Now she gets searched before she goes into her room.  When she can't find candy in Sarah's room she takes other items and throw them away.  She admitted this.  There is no consequence that will prevent this behavior.  The feeling of power she gets from doing it is just too strong.

Since I am the only one in the house who is able to keep her in my line of sight she is only allowed out of her alarmed room when I am able to watch her.  My computer is in the family room so she does come out often.  But when I need to cook dinner and can't watch her she goes to her room until I am finished.  At one point she was tossing all her books and lost them for a day.  She hasn't tossed them since and is currently reading the Junie B. Jones series.

When I say alarmed room I do not mean locked room.  I buy my alarms at Walmart.  These alarms have two options, one beep or a long continuous siren when the door is opened.  The alarm is set to one beep.  If she really needs to come out she can, however we will all be aware of it.

When I explained the new rules to her she was fine with it.  She seems content with having to be in my line of sight at all times. I wonder how long we will have to maintain this level of vigilance.  Looking at her old paperwork I realize that she came with this issue.  She has perfected her sneakiness over many years.  I don't think that it will be an issue that will go away any time soon.

One benefit is she is finally eating!  She now has seconds and eats appropriate amounts of food.  She continues to eat the lunch that I provide for her.  I believe that we will do that until the end of the school year.

I am planning on doing some of the play therapy with her that I did when she first came.  I hope that since we are being very vigilant on preventing her stealing that we can move forward in other areas.  We also have started doing weekly family meetings to talk about our week.  Honestly, we are doing about the same things that the kids have done in therapy.  I have contemplated therapy but have been so frustrated with finding someone who actually understands the issues.  At this time I am rereading my attachment/ODD/trauma books and plugging away.  If anyone has a good book to suggest please let me know.


  1. The only book I got much info from is The Connected Child. So many of them seem to just want parents to excuse the behaviors or only reward the positive ones and ignore the negative ones and that goes against everything I believe. We can understand why the behaviors happen, but to just excuse them and not have a consequence doesn't seem fair to the others.

  2. I can only offer lots of hugs. We had years of this behavior from my oldest adoptee (he is now in 6th grade and it seems to be dropping off. I don't know if it is an age thing or if it is a security thing. For perspective, he came home to us at 6 months!!!) I would find wrappers under his bed, in his closet, in his book bag in other people's closets... I finally ended up installing a lock in the pantry but what a pain that is. Now we seem to repeating it with my 7 year old. I tried lots of things and I don't think anything I did helped. And I was mad a lot. That definitely didn't help but hey, I'm human too, and in learning to deal with his insecurities and feel like I've made peace with my own emotional reactions. And that actually helps me be less emotional and more logical now with the 7 year old. And I empathize with wanting a therapist but not being able to find one who has any clue about adopted or fostered kids dealing with attachment issues. Oh - one thing I do think that helped. At some point I realized I was always on the look out for him being sneaky and I started making myself compliment him once in the morning before our day got started and also asking him for a hug when he first got up. Now he comes and finds me and gets a hug in the morning and before bed. But to be honest there were days when I really had to make myself because I felt like I was always in battle mode with him for a while.

  3. I use a rug with mine that they take with them. They are stuck on the rug. If I an cooking they bring the rug to the kitchen, with a book, drawing paper or one or two toys. Could you move her from room to room with you as you cook, clean etc with her rug? If she chooses to not stay on the rug then she can go stay in her room. It will give you more mobility and still have her sorta contained. It will also allow her to visit with you more as you do life.

  4. Could you elaborate on what you use for play therapy? As for books, I also like the Connected Child, but I do think having a kid with RAD requires you to supplement with other things. I've heard good things about Parenting the Difficult Child, a new book about parenting a kid with RAD from a Christian perspective, but I've only just ordered it so I can't give you my opinion yet. We do line of sight here, too, but I really like the rug idea!

  5. I like that rug idea! I have 2 with RAD. I was given the book, Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children by Daniel A. Hughes, by our therapist to read to try to better understand how to live with, love on and attach with my boys. It was fantastic!