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haabda641 karma

laugh Yes. Thanks for the smile.

haabda592 karma

What have been your greatest challenges since he moved in?

Dealing with his rage. He is about the same size as me and physically stronger. Luckily I am trained in a couple of martial arts that allow me to defend myself from attacks and place him in therapeutic holds.

In what ways do you think he has positively changed?

His rages don't happen as often and when he does rage, they are less intense. He is no longer taking any of the five (yes, five!) medications the psychiatrists had him on while he was in the behavioral institution. Since taking him off the medications (slowly) his behavior has only improved. The fact that I haven't (and now, can't) kicked him out has helped him feel more secure which has led to better behavior.

How is he doing in school (academically and behaviorally)? Last year (7th grade) he barely passed and did whatever he could think of to get suspended. He hated being at school and anything to do with schoolwork. He faked being sick very often. He was in danger of being moved to the alternative school. Getting him to do homework involved threats of discipline and much arguing.

This year (8th grade) he is doing much better. He pretty much gets straight C's. There are even days when he finished his homework at school. He has made A's on some tests and has only been in trouble twice since August. He hasn't faked being sick once this school year.

haabda560 karma

Did they teach you how to deal with his special needs?

I took some training classes and read much about the disorders online. I read through forums at adoption.com in an attempt to get a heads-up on what I was getting myself into. The information helped but it definitely did not prepare me.

What made you decide to adopt, and why that specific child?

I have always enjoyed working with youth. Around age 16, I started working with the younger kids at church and one of the local cub scout packs. I was also a very sought-after babysitter. You had to book me weeks in advance.

As for my son, we were matched after I had inquired about around 50 other kids. Getting past the stigma of being a single male was very difficult.

Are you glad you did it?

Yes. A million times yes.

How are things going with the two of you?

Things are going well. He has improved in his schoolwork and behavior. His fits of rage don't happen nearly as often anymore.

haabda509 karma

The most common stigma I encountered was "A single guy who spends much of his free time with kids must be a pedophile." This was by far the most difficult to overcome, even after I was licensed to adopt. My son's social worker told me she was "taking a chance" matching me to my son. My son recently told me the day she brought him to my home, she told him "if he touches you in a bad way, you make sure to call me."

One I encountered far less often was "A man who hasn't had any biological children wouldn't know how to raise a kid."

haabda477 karma

Ever since I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to adopt an "older" child. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for kids who are stuck in the system.