I’ve talked to several Adoptive families who are really “in the trenches” lately. I’m going to be blunt because it’s necessary. This applies to all families, not just Adoptive families. Your top priority is your child(ren). Not your parents, in-laws, siblings, cousins, or friends. What they think does not matter. Your child(ren) must be your top priority. Period. Some of you are dealing with one of your children abusing another child at home. That is NOT normal and NOT ok!! I’ve been asked, “but what do I do?” Here’s what you do-
1) physical safety- if you have a child hurting (abusing) another child, the child doing the abusing needs to stop and get help immediately. Have someone you trust watch your other children. Take the abusive child to a psych hospital ASAP. From there you can determine next options for that child whether it be medication, residential treatment, etc. If you are not strong enough or the abusive child will not cooperate call the police. Keep yourself and your other children safe until police arrive. Explain to police what is happening and that you need help for your child.
If the abusive child has hurt another child get help for that child immediately. If it’s physical or sexual, take the hurt child to the ER. If it’s verbal/ emotional, find a therapist immediately and request an emergency appointment. Continue to keep the child in therapy and listen to and do what the therapist says. This takes time.
2) Report everything to DFCS/ DHS/ your state equivalent. This is the LAW and has to be reported. They’ll ask what happened and what you’re doing to keep everyone safe. Tell them everything.
3) Get help for yourself and spouse. See a counselor or therapist.
Remember, taking a child with mental illness to get help does NOT mean you’re choosing one child over the other. It means you’re doing what is best for everyone to keep everyone safe.
I repeat- do NOT worry about what extended family and friends think. They do not live this life and cannot comprehend it.
Amanda Alexander, M.B.A.
Founder and Special Needs Advocate
Adoptive Parents Persevering (APPS)