When we met with the agency to discuss adopting our beautiful six year old daughter we were told very little of her history. We knew she had been in two foster homes and it was made to seem that it was more the fault of the foster parents than our daughter, that she had to move. The big "behaviour" we were constantly asked if we could deal with was her wetting. At six, she was still in pull ups. It was told to us there had been occasions where she would look the foster parent in the eye and pee on her sofa or her dining room chair. This was an issue we felt we would be able to help her with. We were also very briefly told that she had "super human strength" and had bent a steel spindle on the staircase at the foster home although no one knew when or why and she hadn't displayed any destructive behaviour since. Things seemed pretty straight forward to us as we moved forward into adoption probation.
Fast forward through the beautiful honeymoon phase into reality. Our little girl starts having melt downs. The melt downs start with screaming and crying and saying horribly mean things. We can handle this but we turn to our CAS for support because we hate seeing her struggle. They suggest therapy and we are on board. But then the meltdowns become physical. She begins to attack and physically assault me (mom) - punching, kicking, pushing, slapping, head butting, biting, and spitting on me. She does some of the same to Dad and the dog. She puts a plastic bag over my head and threatens to slice my throat with a knife. She rips up and breaks everything in the house she can. She carves into our bedroom door and bath tub. Nothing is safe. She is not safe. Her episodes last 3-6 hours. I beg my agency for help. They offer more therapy, a new therapist and tell me I am doing a good job but my daughter is clearly hurting and now so am I. In crisis I call the after-hours number and they tell me to make a fort and paper airplanes while my child beats me up. I feel so lost, so helpless, and like I am failing her. She shouldn't have to go through this alone but I can't help her because I don't know how --no one is telling me how to help.
Ontario has to do better by these children and their families. We cannot continue to leave families, like ourselves, to struggle in isolation with children of trauma. Timely and adequate #Support4EveryFamily is needed urgently to help us help our children to heal from past traumas. Locally developed support groups throughout the province with mandated attendance for the first year of adoption, and funding for individualized therapy and treatments is far less costly than the status quo, risking disruption and lack of permanency for Ontario’s children.