I adopted Devon out of foster care when he was four. For years I struggled to manage his behavioral problems on my own, to make myself love him, but found that Parenting 101 adages fit just about as well as my pre-pregnancy jeans.
When I sought help from the mental health community I was blamed and shamed. Worse, they had no solutions for us. Despite thousands of hours of therapy and multiple residential mental health placements, Devon’s behaviors have only ratcheted up year after year. He’s gotten bigger, stronger, smarter– and more dangerous.
I’m choosing to tell my story because I’m not the only parent struggling to raise and love an adopted child. I hope to share the lessons I’ve learned and provide a safe place for us to get real about the challenges of raising kids with extreme behaviors. Let’s end the silence. End the shame.