life on the funny farm

Friday, September 11, 2009

Figuring it out ....

After my last post I received many positive and supportive comments from concerned family and friends. Thank you.

I'd like to answer each of you personally, but time has been short lately, so maybe just a quick update right here in blogworld.

First, I was able to get the name of a good therapist who specializes in adoption issues and RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). Not that I'm saying James has RAD, but neither am I saying I'm ready to rule that out at this time, either. So I'll touch base with her next week.

I have worked out a positive motivator for James so we can work on a behavior chart to try to shape some of the behaviors we need him to work toward. Many of you will remember that he had a good friend, Madiyar, that he knew from his orphanage that was adopted and brought home to Mass around the same time James came home to us. His Mom and I have decided to arrange a visit between the two boys and James is just thrilled at the prospect. Dee and I are both prepared that if the boys don't earn this trip, it will need to be cancelled so we can stay consistent with what what we're trying to accomplish. So we will work long-term towards that, with probably smaller, weekly rewards for proper behavior, like running him to the dollar store on the w/e to let him buy a candy bar with his allowance money.

I have also tried to put in writing for him a list of his rights (like a bed, meals, being a member of our family) vs his privileges (like a lock on his door, snacks/desserts, favors from Mom) and our expectations (treating people respectfully, obeying parents, doing assigned chores, etc). What has always seemed common-sensical and just a given may not seem so to James, who has not been a member of a family in a very long time. Shoot, even when he was part of a family it was pretty dysfunctional, so it's no wonder he's fumbling the ball a bit here.

Anyway, I feel that with love, consistency, and support we will be able to get the good family behavior/attitudes that we need. It's just a matter of time. And patience. And a good bottle of wine now and then.

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