Q: We adopted our six-year-old son 11 months ago. He’s defiant, he steals, and he lies. We’ve tried everything, but we think he might simply be better off in a family with fewer children.
A: I empathize with the difficult dilemma you find yourself in. I’m sure it’s not what you had in mind when you decided to adopt. But you must consider that, in the five years that your son lived without a family, he learned he could depend on no one but himself, and that stealing and lying were the only ways he could survive.
It took years to learn these ways of thinking, so it will take time for him to learn that his parents know what is best for him and will always be there for him. My instincts say 11 months is not long enough for him to gain this trust.
If you are convinced that you are unable to parent him, disruption after adoption is possible, and may be in your son’s best interest. You’ll play a role in ensuring a suitable placement and smoothing the child’s transition.
Your placing agency can help, or they can refer you to an agency that has experience placing older children.