Am I A Failure For Placing My Child In Residential Treatment?

It’s a decision we had to make 3 times in 4 years with one of our children. It never got easier. There were only more questions and more what-ifs. Along the way I asked the question…. “Am I a failure as a parent for making this choice?”


Not a day goes by where my mind doesn’t drift to that day. I can close my eyes right now and remember everything clearly. I’m standing in a warm office on the hillside of a residential campus in Missouri. It’s December, just a week before Christmas. I keep noticing how the barren trees on the rolling hills, surrounding us, form a murky gray color. Fitting for the circumstances. In another building, across the campus, my son is meeting the people he’ll live with for the next 15 months. It’s taking all of my strength to hold back tears.

I don’t hear a word the intake person says. Kristin takes over answering his questions because she can tell that I’m about to lose it. In the past I was always the strong one, holding it together, able to answer questions, game face on. But today, I’m a mess.

My mind bounces from one thought to another. First, I think about my son. He’s only 11. I put myself in his shoes for a moment. I allow myself to feel the fear and anxiety he’s going through. It’s overwhelming almost to the point of throwing up. Then I think about the past year of life with him in our home. I flash through the numerous times he held us hostage with his violence and aggression. I think about the items broken or completely destroyed by his outbursts. I see the fear on the faces of my other children. I hear their own cries from the secondary trauma they’ve experienced as a result of his violent behavior. For a moment, my emotions subside and I think to myself…He got himself here!

Finally, the faces of those who question our decision. Who ask us questions like, “Oh, aren’t there services, like a counselor, you can use for bad behavior?” (Bad behavior. Is that all you think this is?) Or, “He’s just a little guy, can’t you get control of him yourself?” I see their haughty looks, and hear their judgmental tones. I see the confusion on their faces when we share that our son has to go into residential treatment and won’t be returning to school. I know they don’t understand. I’m fully aware that quietly, they think this is our fault. After all, their child’s brain isn’t damaged. They took their pre-natal vitamins, ate healthy while he or she was in their womb. They wouldn’t understand.

All of this in a span of a few minutes. All while I sit in that office hearing the sound of the intake person’s voice. And then it hits me. A question with the weight of a thousand pounds of concrete being dropped on my head….

“Am I a failure for placing my son in a place like this? Am I a loser of a parent for not being able to figure out another way to handle my out-of-control kid?”

I’m Not A Failure.

It’s easy for people to point fingers at the adult and say, guilty. It’s especially easy to do this with foster or adoptive parents. The world does it all the time. Handing down guilty verdicts, blaming us for choosing to take an at-risk child into our home. “Well, you got yourself into this mess,” they say, “You wouldn’t have to do this to your family if you would’ve just chosen to have your own kids and not adopt!” Ever been told that?  If so, you’re not alone.

Truth is, however, it’s not your fault. And don’t you dare, for one millisecond, believe the pack of lies that life would’ve been better off had you not chosen to bring your child into your home. Stay far away from people who say garbage like that, even if it’s your own mother! Your big heart led you to love. Don’t forget that. You received the unique calling to love a child from a dark and difficult place. You’re not a failure…you’re a fighter!

To Australia With Love.

We once told a person, who questioned our decision to place our son in residential treatment, that if he had a terrible illness or disease and we were told the only cure for him was to drain our savings account, fly to Australia, and see a specialist who could give us a cure, we would. In a heartbeat, no questions asked!

Why? Because we love our son. Our heart to help him heal, leads us to fight tooth and nail for him. We envision a day where he leads others, helps others, and gives back to the world in some amazing way. In order to help him get to that place tomorrow, we must fight today.

I’ve seen it in the eyes of a thousand parents I’ve talked to over the past few years- passion for their child. A belief that their current choices are not the end of their story. We’ve read it in the millions of words some of you have written in the comments on our blog or on our Facebook Page- a hopeless, empty, even terrified feeling over your child’s extreme behavior. But a willingness to fight. A belief in tomorrow. An “I’m not quitting” mentality.

Was the choice to take our son to residential treatment difficult? Absolutely! Did his choices lead him there? You bet! Does it mean we are failures for making that choice? Not in a million years!

Question: Have you had to make the decision to place your child in residential treatment? Share your story with us. You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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  • Jessica Newell Hanson

    Can you share a little about what you tried prior to deciding residential treatment was what he needed? We have at least one who seems out of control. Feeling that despite our training and previous parenting experience, this is beyond us. Counseling seems like the next step for us, but how did you know residential treatment was the answer?

    • Jessica, we went through lots of therapy and specialists before making the decision. Those seemed to work but we made the decisions when his behavior began to threaten the safety and well-being of our other children. That was the line for us.

    • Allisonm

      We have not had to send our son to residential treatment, though he has met the admission criteria since the day he was placed with us. He is our youngest and his siblings are several years older, so we don’t have the same issues with protecting our other children that some others do. I am the one most likely to get hurt, though the risk has lessened a lot in the last couple of years.

      Here are the things we have tried: individual therapy, including equine therapy, focusing on attachment and trauma, much of it including us as parents, for 7+ years (ongoing), including EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapies, family therapy, including in- and out-of-home and family equine therapy, for 3+ years (ongoing), behavior coaching in- and -out-of-home for 5+ years–3 years of 20+ hours per week (temporarily suspended waiting for a new coach to be hired), partial hospitalization 20 hours/week or therapeutic program after school with nights and weekends at home (last school year), weekly or biweekly respite for 5+ years (no longer needed), occupational therapy for sensory deficits on and off, medication management for 7 years (ongoing, but with substantial reduction in the need for meds), public school with IEP for emotional disability (K, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6), home education (3rd and part of 4th grade and now 6th grade and probably the rest of middle school).

      My husband and I have gone to many trainings on trauma, attachment, brain development, positive behavior support, emotional regulation, etc., together and I, as the at-home parent have been to more than I can count. My husband and I have also gone to therapy together to help support and strengthen our union and help us cope. All of our children have attachment and trauma issues, but our youngest is the most severely disabled at this point.

      There are a lot of resources that can be brought to bear that don’t require residential treatment. That doesn’t mean that residential treatment isn’t the right choice. It does mean that residential treatment isn’t the only choice in most cases, especially if you haven’t tried the home-and community-based options available in your area. We have tried virtually everything we could get access to. Progress is very slow, but it’s there. We hope and pray that we don’t have to send our son to RTC, but our reality is that it could become necessary any day.

    • 2Mommas

      Our adopted (@7) daughter is 10yo. We are on a wait list for a psych residential tx facility. We have since day 1 in our home: switched to an experienced therapist &goes 2-4/month, decreased, increased, &switched meds, dietary changes, genetic testing, “trauma-informed” parenting (Bryan post), Nancy Thomas approach, now NB (nuerobehavioral model) by Diane Malbin. Daughter is in best public school in city, spec ed bus, regular bus, driving her, more intensive IEP/BIP, no homework, accomodating her brain differences, Occp. therapy, danve classes, day camps, started and do a girl scout troop so she can have friends, has had a Home-based skills worker for 18mos who also works with us on our parenting and works with her in school, have a mtg next week for a 1:1 staff through school, spanking, yelling, restricting belongings, ‘tough love’ by having her 9yo self arrested and processed (&released to me 2hrs later) at juvenile detention after she choked and beat me in the head while I was driving, letting go of what a kid SHOULD DO, how they SHOULD ACT, how I SHOULD BE treated as a parent and focused on what our daughter needed and was capable of, 3 psych hospitalizations in last 8mos (8, 10,&12 days long)… The psychiatrist recommended residential during the first hospital stay and called us at home to discuss!!! Got rid of all expectations except for safety, hygiene, minimal grooming, and going to school/bed. Respite, ignoring, crying, pleading, hugging, chanting, FB groups, support groups, therapy for ourselves, and she’s had a Wrap-around person who does therapeutic horse riding with her weekly for 6mos now… Has been basically line-of-sight for 18mos, now she or her 5yo little brother is with us at all times because line of sight eventually didn’t stop her from hurting him, restorative actions, natural consequences (which at times look like no consequences at all)… I may be forgetting something…? And STILL I am looking for more, reading, training, LOVE and intuitive knowledge to spring forth from tapping into the universal consciousness… Its exhausting… So she’s #7 on the list with only 4 planned discharges in next 45 days.

  • TheReluctantWidow

    I have a son I have placed in a residential treatment program and is currently living in a “boys ranch” type setting. I first will say that I am a widow, my late husband and I adopted our four children from overseas, and the child I am talking about was adopted at nearly 7 yrs of age just 18 months prior to my husband’s death. We knew we were dealing with RAD immediately in country and truthfully the signs were there in the healing homes records we received on him. But like most naive and poorly educated parents, we truly believed that love would overcome all. I want to be clear that I understand completely all of the trauma and losses that have contributed to my son’s emotional state. It completely guts me. The guilt I live with is daily that I “chose” my other three children over him, but I chose their safety so I guess the guilt is more feeling of failure that I couldn’t reach him.

    We have wonderful attachment counselors. My youngest child, my only daughter, lived in the same healing home but was adopted when she was 3.5 yrs old so her attachment issues have been completely different. I have read all the books, tried all the things they say to do, visited out-of-state trainings, and had an attachment parenting expert come to our house for a long weekend training. The fact remains I am left alone with very little by way of outside support/respite and I am not enough. I relate to the violence, the broken and damaged things both material and human, and the feeling of being held hostage. He’s been in a long term respite facility now for six months having spent six months in in-patient care from Dec 2014 to June 2015. He was home for a mere week and a half before all the behaviors erupted again so in Sep 2015 he left for the ranch. I don’t know what I am going to do long term. He has not improved at all, the reports of his behavior is very similar to what he did at home with the exception of hurting others and that’s because all the others are RAD or FASD and he knows they will not restrain themselves as my children do here. My kids know he is medically fragile, and he knows they know, so they never retaliate against him, not even when he was choking one of his brothers.

    I could live with him not loving me, not being attached, being rude and disrespectful to me, but I can’t live with him hurting my other children. I am currently seeking a boarding school-like program for boys with RAD and behavioral issues, one where he can stay long term because my other children are finally beginning to heal from their secondary trauma, they are finally beginning to trust me again that I will keep them safe, and I can’t lose that trust. I guess I just have to live with this feeling of not being enough.

    • We are so sorry to hear that you have gone through this. We know what that kind of guilt feels like. It’s good to head that you have good attachment counselors and that your daughter has not faced the same issues. That’s similar to our story with our other children. It breaks our heart to read your story. Know that we understand and you are not alone!

  • Jennifer Whittemore

    What timing on this article. We adopted a 13 year old in November and just had to place her in residential this week after a hospitalization for being suicidal. Sometimes it’s not always destructive behavior, in our case we need to keep her safe. She has to work through always her traumas and losses to start healing. She is coming up on the 2 year anniversary suicide dates of first her 15 year old brother and six weeks later her bio mother. Praying for her and talking with her daily.

    • Oh wow, Jennifer, we are so sorry to hear this is happening with your 13 year old daughter. This is so unbelievably difficult. We are praying right along with you. Hang in there.

      • Jennifer Whittemore

        Thank you. Just spent her 14th birthday with her today.

  • Jennifer Griffin

    Thank you for this article. In October (thanksgiving weekend here in Canada as a matter of fact), we had to go down this road with our adopted son who was 10 at the time (just turned 11 in Feb). The violent outbursts, 98% of them aimed at me, the destruction, chaos all the time got to the point that we just couldn’t do it anymore, and we also had a 1:1 worker here in our home with me while my husband was at work. It broke my heart to do it, and still does all the time, even though I know it was what was needed in order to save both him and my husband and I. 7 medication changes last year alone. The last one that was done in Nov seems to have been part of the missing key. Yep have been blamed by some family members for both “not disciplining him”, “letting him get away with everything”, etc… And yes I had to put some distance between me and that family member and yet it creates its own tension in some ways. And yes I have felt like a complete failure as a parent. Who sends their child away willingly? Did I give up? Have I destroyed the bond with my son? You name the question or feeling I have had it and still do. The guilt when I go by his empty room, etc… However we have finally been able since Jan been able to bring him home on weekends and are starting to see improvements in some areas. I of course desperately want him home full time, and that still is our ultimate goal. It is comforting to know that I am not alone on this path.

    • Oh Jennifer, this breaks our heart. We know full well how this is. Good to hear that you are starting slow transition though. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • sheluvskids

    We adopted siblings at 7 (girl) & 9 (boy). The last 4 years have been a series of residential treatment centers with our sonew who is almost 16.. Meanwhile our daughter seemed to thrived!
    About 5 months ago our daughters behaviors escalated. Two weeks ago she waited until I was alone with her. She snuck up behind me, threw me to the floor, and told me she was going to make me do what she wanted. She is in detention now waiting for a program to have room for her.
    The judgement and rejection we have faced over our decision to adopt has been unbelievable. We have had to find a new church, & honestly, new friends.
    Our 2 have always been in therapy, special schools, and more interventions than I care to list. We have read books, attended seminars and still here we are.
    I feel beyond a failure and so broken. Both of our kids are gone from our home, the financial implications may well bury us, and yet we still know God is in charge. Thanks for talking about the things many of us live through daily.

    • Oh my goodness….I can’t believe that happened to you. We are so sorry. I know it’s hard to believe this but you are not a failure! Hang in there.

    • Melissa Epperhart Cheatham

      I totally get the way you are feeling! When we finalized our sons adoption everyone was so happy and supportive…. Fast forward a year and we have to place our child in a Facility and suddenly most of our family, friends and even our church have quit associating with us because we “just aren’t good parents to such a sweet child”.

  • Tiffany Smith

    I’ve read all the comments and your heartbreaking, amazing, inspiring stories.

    I have nothing useful to add because I am here to learn and understand before we adopt – I have a heart for teenage boys – and I know our road will be hard and need resources.

    I cannot read these stories without saying this, as genuinely as text can convey:

    You are extraordinary humans. Every one of you. Brave beyond measure. Persistent beyond human capacity. Inventive, amazing, fabulous human beings. Never, ever feel you are failing your children by keeping on keeping on to give them what they need to thrive. No matter what. You.are.awesome. And so say all of us cheering you on!

    And if anyone actually needs the life saving program in Australia, pm me. I have a bed ready and waiting 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Tiffany. I’m reading them through tears. We are so happy to hear that you’re adopting. And kudos to you for jumping on a site like this to learn and grow before you begin the journey. You’re are awesome!

    • joecor

      I feel the big failing is in the adoption process! I was caught off guard! Much more education and research as you are doing is what is needed! I wouldn’t have not adopted, but definitely some people may decide that knowing nature over nurture is big! I thought they will adjust living with me and out of their biological families! Not true sadly! But can be directed! I have a 21 and 18 year old now they are at the turning point of some choices to make. Do they follow the harder path of of making choices not as “comfortable” for them sometimes, but have a better life or do they let themselves fall back into patterns that sometimes feel more normal inside them, but lead them into journeys their biological families have gone! One going each way right now, but I know what I gave them for 18 yrs is inside them and they can always turn back to that! I will never regret what I gave them and gave for them, but I do have to except they may not follow it!

  • Angel Finsrud

    Needed this So much today. Our son has been with us for 5 years. He spent 9 months in residential care about 2 years into our time as a family. He came home, even though their were signs the dangerous behavior was not over. Over the next 1.5 years he became bigger, stronger and angrier. We were using every trauma informed parenting approach we could find, seeking out the best therapist in our area and organizing a support system. Though there were violent outburst that sometimes ca used hundreds even thousands of dollars of damage we still believed we could weather the storm and with enough perserverence he would eventually feel loved and safe and the violence would stop. It didn’t. Eventually We realized we could no longer keep ourselves or our other children safe. He went to treatment 8 days before Christmas. What kind of terrible parents let their kid leave 8 days before Christmas? It’s been almost 15 months. We make the 14 hour road trip once a month for 30-48 hours of visit. We Skype twice a week. Still, it doesn’t feel like We are getting any closer….it’s hard not to wonder if we’ve failed him. It’s hard not to question how absolutely everything you have can still not be enough. It’s hard not to wonder why the healing hasn’t come. It’s hard not to feel like a hypocrit as I teach other parents how to help their child from hard places when in the end, I couldn’t help my own. It’s just hard.

    • Angel, we are so sorry to hear that you had to go through this. And we know how it feels to speak into the lives of others when you feel like you’ve failed. But you’re not a failure. Keep fighting, keep loving your son. We know how it is to drop a kid off just before Christmas. You’re not alone. We’re in your corner.

  • Samantha Inman

    We adopted 2kiddos out of foster care. We were told she (9) only has minor depression and he is a happy 3yo give him a ball and he will be good. Well once they were in our home we knew things were amiss but all we kept hearing is we just didn’t know, it is normal behavior (we were 1st time parents). Fast forward a year our daughter was ramping up running, aggression, suicidal ideation, and attacking her brother any time she thought we were not looking. At this point we had also been blessed with a new baby. The adoption was about to be finalized and all anyone would tell us is once it finalizes she would be fine it was just the uncertainty. Well it was not fine as bad as everything was it got worse. We had to call the police numerous times she was hospitalized several times. Finally when her aggression got to the point we were constantly worried about the safety of the other kids and we found out about the sexual abuse between her and her brother we had to make the decision to place her in residential treatment. Though we were told she would only stay 30 days to give us a break and time to regroup. Well it took a few weeks but finally the professionals got to truly see our daughter. She stayed in different programs for about 3years and is now finally doing well in a therapeutic foster home.

    • Samantha, thank you so much for sharing this openly and honestly. We understand more than you can imagine. Our hearts hurt for you and your sweet family. We know the fear and the anxiety of this station. Hang in there. You are not alone.

  • joecor

    The hardest decision I had to make! I felt devastated, heartsick, crying at nights, questioning it every day! People would say how wonderful was I was that strong, THEY could never do it it to their child! But my child was getting intense help, by loving, caring people in places that were warm and friendly and safe-and professional! I had to do this for 2 of my adopted children. People that said “they couldn’t do it”, well, their children may have been much better of now had they not made it about how THEY felt, but about what was needed for their child! My quote,”it’s not about me, it’s about them”! I said that over and over to remind myself what they needed was bigger than what I felt “happy” with! Look at the big picture, not the feelings that day and you will know it’s the right thing to do, but definitely not the easy thing to do!

  • joecor

    I have to add a huge thank you for this article! After raising children alone in this same journey, I am amzed by stories so similar to mine and thankful there is open support out there now for parents on this journey! I was 100% alone, other than professionals I had to trust! My instinct was all I had, but it never felt good! It was right though! Keep talking with people that understand and take any support offered, then sort out what is right for you and your family! I keep all people going through and dealing with mental health issues! We cannot all just close our eyes and walk away, some of us go right up and get in the front row! We should feel good about that, but until we see positive results, thats hard to do! Even if positive results don’t happen, feel good that you stepped up and not looked away!

    • You are most welcome! Thank you for sharing your heart and story here openly.

  • Leslie Sprague

    I wanted to post on her as a child who was put into into residential treatment for almost 6 years. At first I will not lie I hated my adoptive family for “throwing me away” or that is how I felt. I didn’t understand that my actions where hurting my 4 sibling and parents. All I knew is something was not right with me and it was causing me to lash out and hurt them. Making me run away. Causing me to steal, lie and do some really bad things. I am 30 years old now and it took me til about a year ago to see and understand they loved me but had to do what was right for them and me. Yes it hurts remembering being in the court house and seeing them and hearing them say they wont take me home til I get help but at the same time what would things be like if they didn’t. I learned a lot about myself. And my family was the only family to visit me in these programs I was in. Most parents didn’t bother to come see their kids after they put them in these programs but mine did. Your kids might not be able to see what you are doing as good and helping them but in time they will come to understand what happen is ok. That you did all you could to help but you had to reach out for more help. One day they will call and you and thank you for all the help. Hang in there parents and you are never in the wrong for getting help! You are right to seek answers and guidance! God bless you all!

    • Leslie, we are so glad you posted openly and honestly here. That is so cool. We love that some of our content reaches former foster children and adoptees. Your words are so encouraging to so many! Thank you.

      • Chris Stoner

        lived in Allendale or luther Brook willoglen academy Allendale in Illinois lake Villa 8years had about 200 sumin kids I graduated high-school you put your kids here but were playing video games in school one or two assignments per period I can prove it I got videos all on Facebook you put your kids around bullies residentitals but little do you know kids gang up on kids I used to do it to teens I we would lie and say the other kid started it now your teen your daughter or son gots 30 days no off campus 5 days in there room I feel horrible for bullying or taking part in evil scheme’s with the other teens your son’s are going to try to be tuff so nobody makes fun of them you parents think it’s good but it’s not got young adults watching over your kids 23 ot older most dnt even have kids them selves smh look at Allendale in lake Villa team leader raped some teen not to long ago this is the coordinator not even a staff smh there was a murder not to long ago a teen died in a restraint even in lutherbrook my roommate hanged himself my number is 7153937586 when you here me talk or meet me I’m very intelligent but my parents wanted an angel I’m 23 and if I go home I have grounding punishment for cursing I even have a bed time lol even if I’m working about that’s not weird 😉 but I regret not listening to my parents because they adopted me and there bkth 60 sumin it’s hard to be mean or agitated towards them but theyre rules are not today standard I have churches or even some staff I can have to back me up on my statement my parents are very respectfull I have never hear them curse they adopted me at 3 but they’re rules are behind strict and wat they say goes or your out period they did this to my brother and out him in s mental institution a couple years later he’s a police officer my parents are from England my dad is a professor North Western university mom baby sits but I dnt even realy no them why is because residential 12 months in a year so they visited once s months sometimes every couple of months for an hour or 2 home visits Sat around noon to Sunday at 12 church back to the residential you think your kids are fine there your gunna loose your bond I see it all the time there LOOK THIS BAD ASS ON MY FACEBOOK BUT TRUTH IS IM lonely MY PARENTS ARE OLD IM NOT ALOUD TO COME HOME HAVEN’T BEEN HOME SINCE I WAS 18 NO FAMILY NO guidance

    • Chris Stoner

      I lived in Allendale or luther Brook willoglen academy 8 years 12 to 18 Allendale in Illinois lake Villa had about 200 sumin kids I graduated high-school you put your kids here but were playing video games in school one or two assignments per period I can prove it I got videos all on Facebook you put your kids around bullies residentitals but little do you know kids gang up on kids I used to do it to teens I didn’t like we would lie and say the other kid started it now your teen your daughter or son gots 30 days no off campus 5 days in there room I feel horrible for bullying or taking part in eveil scheme’s with the other teens your son’s are going to try to be tuff so nobody makes fun if them you parents think it’s good but it’s not got young adults watching over your kids dnt even have kids them selves smh look at Allendale in make Villa team leader raped some teen not to long ago this is the coordinator not even a staff smh there was a murder not to long ago a teen died in a restraint even in lutherbrook my roommate hanged himself my number is 7153937586 when you here me talk or meet me I’m very intelligent but my parents wanted sn angel I’m 23 and if I go home I have grounding punishment for cursing I even have a bed time lol even if I’m working but that’s not weird lol 😉

  • Linda Q

    I could have written your post. My son is 12 and he on his 4th placement. This time we have found a center that I hope will meet his deepest needs. We do what tears us apart for the sake of our children and their healing.

    • Linda, we are hopeful for you. Sometimes love takes the life out of us!

  • Karen Shubert Beaty

    and then there’s the ‘guilt’ for feeling relieved that she is gone
    and the pain when another one of your children says “I’m scared of her.” ….
    and when another child says “my brain is crazy like my sister. Will you send me away?”
    and when even another child says “Don’t be bad. You’ll have to leave.”

    How do you answer when the 5 little brothers pray every morning and every night “Please let Elizabeth get well so she can come back home”? (and you secretly pray – “God, Can you even do that miracle?”

    Then, on the phone they say “Elizabeth – are you better yet?” ….. (right after she cussed us out and asked to be disowned) she says “Not yet – Buddy – I’m working on it.”


    • Oh man, Karen, we understand this all to well. So unbelievably hard to walk through!

  • jetguat

    “fly to Austrialia…Why? Because we love our son..” I wondered as I read that. If folks allowed themselves to be subjected to the torment, the trauma, the violence, all that “stuff” longer. I wonder if Residential takes a different role. A last ditch hope for a miracle cure (but do we really believe that? rather than an extremely expensive form or respite where none other is available?). What about those, that at the end of the day have come to the sad, depressing, view that they’ve fallen out of love with their child. … does the “Failure” question take on a new meaning…

    • We don’t believe residential treatment is a miracle cure. Maybe some do, but we see it as a very difficult strategic choice to get our child the help he or she needs.

      • jetguat

        I was not as well spoken as I hoped. Agree, residential itself isnt the cure, but using it as a last ditch option. A last ditch option for any family that feels they have exhausted all other options. While the child is in residential, the “hope” is that new interventions and people with the child, coupled with the healing and recovery of the rest of the family at home, those two combined might lead to some “miracle”. Not sure I still explained what I’m thinking.. but maybe a little better..

  • John

    Thank you for this article. Our son (15) has been in our of home placements for 3 of the last 4 years. As a Christian father I have found it easy to see myself as a failure both as a man and a father for not being able to keep my family together. I have wondered what I did wrong, what could I have done differently that would have resulted in our son staying in home. Then I remember the brain damage from which he suffers and struggle to let go of the guilt. Then I see the progress he has made, and is making, and I see God working to make our family whole and it helps.

  • Carol Phillips

    We are at a crossroads with 2 of our sons right now. I’m struggling to know what to do. I feel that their actions are hurting our younger 2 and I’m am afraid they will only get worse. I’m feeling the judgements of others as one by one they are being banned from playing with friends. I don’t want to harm them but I don’t know how to help them change!

    • Hey Carol, we totally understand this feeling. You are not alone. Have you established a healthy safety plan for your 2 sons but also the rest of your family?

  • Jennifer Godzyk

    I’m afraid that I’m heading down this path with my daughter. She is 11 and diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders. Her father passed away. So I am it. I have fought for her to receive help through counselors, and Mds. I have had to fight to have her placed in a day program for school. She is on many medications. I have 2 other children who constantly take abuse from her. My fear is that of a residential treatment program. It is my last option. I have done everything in my power to keep her home and safe. She has been hospitalized before and we kinda repeat this cycle. I live in Nh and there are not many options for help. I don’t want to lose her. I glad to hear that someone who has been in a program and finally sees it helped. My fear is she will not. My family is supportive, but my younger son suffers the brunt of her outburst. I feel as though I’m losing this battle and will end up having to place her somewhere. It’s the worst feeling in the world to watch your children struggle and feel completely helpless with being unable to help or fix it for them. Is there any hope that things will get better? Or am I’m facing the fact I will lose my daughter?

    • Jennifer, we understand this completely. We’ve been in this trench. You are not alone. The hope we can offer to you is that we completely know how hard this is and we’ve made it through some of the darkest nights. Sometimes hope is found in the single rays of light that pierce the darkness you’re currently in in the middle of. Hang in there.

  • Sharon Blome Twenter

    Your story is our story. We just put our adopted 16 year old son in a residential group home a month ago. Your description makes me think it is the same one. It certainly made our holidays sad and yet we knew we made the right decision. We know he is in a safe place where he can begin to turn his life around. We are finally able to sleep at night. We are beginning to heal from the trauma he has put us through. We know we have a long road in front of us but now we know we have a whole team of people working with us. We also know that there is hope for him to become a successful person in the future.

  • Johanna Lugo

    It is so hard to see myself as a fighter when I feel I’m failing my baby, the baby I was meant to protect and save. My adoptive son is 12, but developmentally and even physically, he looks like he is only 7 years old. He can be the sweetest boy and then suddenly when his aggression hits, he becomes this scary person who attacks anyone on his way. He has been diagnosed with autism, mood disorder, anxiety, ADHD and a bunch of other mental illnesses. We have struggled for the last 8 years with his aggression. I have scars from his attacks, my two other children are traumatized, and my family is simply falling apart. We have tried pretty much every treatment and medication available to us. Unfortunately, nothing has helped and we are now in the process of getting him in a residential treatment. I question myself every second about this decision. Am I doing the best thing for him? Would he be treated well? Is going to think that we don’t love him? Am I a good mother? What I could have done differently? I’m glad I found this page because I feel so lonely in this process. Not many people understand how heartbreaking this decision can be… I’m just hoping that one day he gets better and his able to understand how much we LOVE him…

  • Crystal Hodgdon

    I again have say that not only adoptive parents or foster parents face this choose…There are biological parents that have some of the same situations with their children through no fault of their own with saying this I understand your article so well because I had to do the same thing with force by the state when my son was 14. It was heartbreaking and one of the hardest things I ever had to do ànd he stayed there until he was 18 with lots of me trying my best to get him home…Foster families do sometimes end up with children that are removed because that’s what the state thinks would be better or that services would be easier to get when in fact it’s not true and does even more damage to the child and family members. I again had to put in the state hospital at 22 because he became unstable after trying to have him home for a year and I had to get a state guardian for him…So again he is living with another home provider instead of with family for a lack of supports needed and how long it took to get them…My son is bipolar with aspergers, ADHD, anxiety, pstd, ect but your stories and situations hit home for many families. I tried once to take the foster parenting classes but I couldn’t because of the blame placed on so many of the bio families and stigma that went with it and that was years before I actually had the state involved with my family.