This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I've been so focused on Kitty here that I haven't been keeping y'all up to date on what's going on with Bear. Long story short (and I'll probably blog about it soon).

We've been working for months with a local university doing what's called a "Therapeutic Assessment." This is much more intense than the neuropsych eval Kitty just had done, and Hubby and I even had some testing done (more on the results of the attachment assessments later).

Something Hubby and I have known for a long time is that Bear is in no way ready to live on his own when he graduates high school this year. After much consideration, and with the help of the assessment team, we have decided to approach Bear with the idea of staying for at least 2 more years. It was finally broached at the meeting last night (supposed to be the final one, but he was caught so off guard -we weren't supposed to tell him - that they felt he needed time to digest this before they finished discussing the rest of their findings and answers to his/our questions as to how his diagnoses will effect his life and future planning).

Since Hubby and I don't want to be in this same position 2 years from now... after Bear laying on the couch eating Bon Bons for two years, we have some major ground rules we'll want to put in place. Last night all we did was make the offer for him to stay and an emotional commitment.

Eventually we plan to let him know what we expect from him in order for this to work. Basically, life won't change much in regards to us providing structure and expectations (at least until and unless he shows he doesn't need it). BEAR has to take ownership of making forward progress, but we will not allow him to remain stuck, or worse, regress.

The following is the document I'm considering having us all work on together and sign:

Commitment Agreement and Consent

____ Commitment Agreement and Consent for Care, Discipline and Therapeutic Support:
I, “Bear’s Full Name”, hereby commit to being a contributing member of the “Themom” family and agree to voluntarily submit to the care, authority and therapeutic support of my parents, “Hubby’s Full Name”, and Mary Themom, until I am ready to become a healthy, independent, contributing member of society.

____ ____ Commitment to Care and Treatment
We, “Bear’s Full Name”’s parents, “Hubby’s Full Name”, and Mary Themom, have committed to working in the best interest of “Bear’s Full Name”, in helping him become a healthy, independent, contributing member of society capable of developing meaningful relationships. We will do this to the best of our ability, while honoring our commitment to each other and each member of our family.

____Therapeutic Activities
I acknowledge the importance of participating in family therapy, treatment planning, and transition preparation. I authorize my parents to participate and assist in organizing these activities.

Commitment to Healthy Living
This family has undertaken the task of assisting in the care and treatment of “Bear’s Full Name”. It is vitally important that all Bear’s energy and effort be focused on treatment issues in order for him to progress and to change past behaviors. For this reason, Bear must commit to ceasing (or not starting) any and all activities that could be detrimental to his growth and maturity, including, but not limited to, illegal drug and alcohol use, criminal activities, and sexual activities outside of a committed, monogamous relationship (when ready). He commits to making healthy living choices wherever possible, including, but not limited to; exercise, healthy eating habits, taking his medication as prescribed, reporting and following up on health and hygiene issues, attending school and/or work and therapy.
____I acknowledge the importance of healthy living in achieving my goal of becoming a healthy, independent, contributing member of society, and commit to striving toward achieving and maintaining a healthy mind and body.

____Commitment to being a RRHAFTBALL, Contributing Family Member
I acknowledge the importance of following the family rules, participating in family activities, and contributing to the well-being of the family (including doing chores) and its individual members. I also acknowledge the importance of being RRHAFTBALL (Respectful, Responsible, Attitude, Fun To Be Around, Loving and Learning). I commit to striving toward the advancement of the family and to becoming a fully functioning and contributing family member.

Family Members Responsibilities:

  1. Treat yourself and other family members with courtesy and respect.

  2. Behave in such a way as to protect yourself and others from emotional and physical harm, while striving to progress in your treatment.

  3. Make your concerns and needs known to parents and ask questions when you need information.

  4. Provide caregivers with accurate and timely information to help them give you the best possible care.

  5. Follow the family rules and therapeutic guidelines provided by caregivers and professionals, and accept any consequences for failing to do so.

  6. Promptly report any perceived risks of treatment or threats to your safety.

  7. Meet any agreed upon financial commitments.

____Commitment to Obey Family Rules, School Policies, Society/Church Moral Codes, and Legal Laws
I acknowledge the importance of following the rules and laws of the family and society in general. I understand that if I am in breach of any of these guidelines and laws, my parents will take appropriate actions which may include, terminating this agreement, committing me to a psychiatric or drug rehabilitation facility or other alternative residential placement, or contacting school or legal authorities. I commit to following these guidelines to the best of my ability and to stay (not run away) and accept any consequences for failure to do so.

____Acknowledgement of Receipt of Behavioral Information, Rights and Grievance Process (The FAIR Club)
I have been provided with a written copy of the Philosophy and Practices of this Family (The FAIR Club), including rules and interventions used. My rights and responsibilities as a contributing member of this family have been reviewed with me until I understand. I have been made aware of the Grievance Process (FAIR Club Committee) should I have concerns or wish to make changes.

____Acknowledgement of Parental Commitment to “Bear’s Full Name”
I understand that my actions, behaviors, issues, or breach of this commitment on my part or that of my parents in NO WAY affects my parents’ love and commitment to me.

____ ____ Commitment to “Bear’s Full Name”
We, Bear’s parents, commit to continuing to love, honor and cherish “Bear’s Full Name”, regardless of his actions or issues, until death do us part.

____ ____ ____Right to Revoke Commitment
We understand that each of us has a right to revoke this Commitment at any time by giving written notice to the other members of this agreement. This authorization will automatically expire or be renegotiated upon Bear’s change of address, serious breach of family rules or criminal activity, or at age 25. The termination of this commitment DOES NOT affect the emotional commitment made on the part of the parties mentioned herein.


1. You my learn more about your physical, emotional, psychological needs.
2. You may be able to avoid future detrimental activities and behaviors and the consequences that would result.
3. You may learn valuable skills that can help you be more honest and open with others –allowing deeper, more meaningful and satisfying relationships in the future.
4. You may learn to recognize and change harmful thought patterns and defense mechanisms.
5. You may learn to handle stress and emotions more effectively.
6. You may get a feeling of accomplishment and increase your self-esteem.
7. You may be better prepared to live a healthy, independent, productive, successful life.
8. You may have the opportunity to help others that have problems similar to your own.


1. You may find it distressing to recall your past.
2. You may find it distressing to trust others.
3. You may find it distressing to share things about your past that you had kept secret.
4. You may discover how your issues and behaviors have caused problems for you and those around you.
5. When you find yourself repeating old patterns and behaviors, your awareness and understanding of these patterns and behaviors may make future behaviors and interactions distressing.

By my signature below, I agree that I have read (or had read to me) this document. I understand the potential risks and benefits to this commitment and I agree to make this commitment for the benefit of myself and others.
_____________________________________ Date ________________
________________________ __________________________ Date _______


Miz Kizzle said...

Somehow, from the way you describe him, I don't think documents or any written material have much of an impact on Bear. He doesn't seem to be much of a reader and I suspect he may sign on the dotted lines without really paying attention to what the contract means.
The contract is too long and too vague in many regards as to what, exactly, is expected of Bear and what, if any, penalties will occur if he fails to comply.
Believe me, I'm a lawyer and I deal with contracts all the time. Most of my clients' eyes glaze over when they're presented with contracts. Contracts are, in a word, boring.
I know a lot of therapists who work with teens simply adore contracts but I suspect that kids don't feel the same way.

Anonymous said...

it's a pretty contract. but like our attorney said of cease and desist letters, i think they're written for people who are functioning on the level where they would work.

i'd be curious what you perceive the consequences of breaking the contract would be. maybe i missed them, but i would think it would have to be in plain written language if you expected Bear to know what they were.

the other thing? you're going to find it hard to control the sexual behavior outside of your home. at 18 he'll be legally old enough to engage in that activity if he chooses. and he may think he's ready for a monogamous relationship--or completely reject that lifestyle. and he can.

i truly do understand the frustration--BTDT and doing it again! it's hard to find your path into their young adult years. what we did with Sonny? told him you will do A, B, and C in exchange for D, E, and F. if you choose not to do what we ask (which was minimal--take his meds, go to school and pass or work full time, not harrass)then he was old enough to move out.

he did both. stayed until school was over, found a job and moved out. that was nearly 4 years ago. it has not been perfect, but he is responsible for his own choices. there have been some that were extremely interesting, but life has a way of teaching lessons mom and dad just can't....regardless of how embarrassing mom and dad found it all!

good luck.

Baggage said...

This is very similiar to the contract that RTC had Bug sign..I really like it.