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Adoptive Daughter Problems

Dear Mark,

Right now I'm looking for a different kind of help. I've done foster care for years, approx. 17 years and have adopted 4 children and had 2 biological. We've had about 100 children go thru our house over the years and I thought I had dealt with almost everything until my latest challenge.

She is now 13 years old. She has been with us since she is a year old. Approx. 3 years ago she became very defiant, which has gotten worse and has even been physically reactive at times only to immediate family. She is very rude, sarcastic and enjoys annoying people and non-compliant with almost all rules. She does well at school, she's in accelerated classes and very athletic and talented.

I had her see a psychiatrist 2 1/2 years ago and he diagnosed her with ODD, depression, and attachment issues. He prescribed medicine for the depression and she did try 2 - 3 pills and then refused to take it because they made her feel funny. She was in counseling at that time which she totally manipulated. We stopped everything for a while because it was going nowhere.

It has escalated and in March she was admitted to a local behavioral unit for a few days after punching my husband in the back of her head with her fist when he told her not to do something and she went to do it anyway and he tried to stop her by taking away the poster board. That psychiatrist only diagnosed her with ODD and sent her home and wants her to start counseling again. We do have an appt. set up and are looking into wrap around services, but right now our house is like a time bomb and is very stressful to say the least.

I know ideally the best thing for her because of the attachment issues would be to remain at our house, but I'm not sure we will be able to do so. She has no desire to try and get along and comply with anyone in the house. My question is do you have any suggestions on effective treatment facilities should I need to look for one? I'm afraid she would only learn more negative behaviors in there and come home worse than when she went in. I'm also presently looking into boarding schools, but I'm afraid I won't be able to afford one. Do you know of any special scholarships for adopted children whom are having a difficult time?

I'm sorry this is so long but felt I had to give an accurate picture.


Frustrated and heartbroken


Re: My question is do you have any suggestions on effective treatment facilities should I need to look for one?

I would recommend that you simply go to your local juvenile probation department and file a complaint. Once on probation, your adoptive daughter will be referred by probation to whatever services she needs (which may include placement).

Re: Do you know of any special scholarships for adopted children whom are having a difficult time?

According to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse's website – -- there is money available for students like your adoptive daughter. Some states including Florida, New Jersey, Maine, Texas, and Virginia have earmarked scholarship programs for children adopted through their state foster care systems. To find out if your state has a similar program, contact your State Adoption Specialist.

The Orphan Foundation of America scholarship program has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to foster and former foster youth. For more information, visit -- or call (571) 203-0270.

The National Foster Parent Association also provides awards for foster youth. Get an application by visiting -- or by calling (800) 557-5238.


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