Resists or dislikes being held

My daughter, adopted at 14 months, only liked being held on her terms. This usually meant facing forward. The only way I could rock her for months was if she sat on the arm of the chair, facing forward, with my arms wrapped around her for support. When laying in bed together, she wanted 2 feet of space between us and would try to push me away. One time I let her push to see how far she would go and she pushed me out of the bed. This behavior continued for a good 4 months after coming home. Resisting rocking continued for 1 year.

When we first got our daughter at 8 months, she wanted to be held all the time, by anyone, didn't matter who. I thought this was a good sign. After a few months home she started showing preferences toward men and Daddy over me. By the time she was walking, she did not want to be held much, and it was always on her terms, never when I wanted it. When I came home from work, she'd run to me happily, then as soon as I picked her up for a hug, she'd squirm away, avoid eye contact, and run off.

Stiffens or becomes rigid when held

My daughter, now 18 months, adopted at 13 months, was not only stiff when held, but if she were sleeping and I picked her up, she remained in exactly the same position while I moved her.

Even though she was 23 months old at adoption, our daughter would stiffen up, wriggle, and fidget when being held in any position. She could not mold to my body like a normal child would, either.

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, was difficult to hold for the first four months that we had her. She would stiffen up, and wouldn't conform to my body when I held her. She would even arch backwards to avoid being close. She didn't wrap her arm around our shoulder when being held, and didn't cling on. This has all improved with time and therapy, and there's nothing nicer than having her relax and lay her head on my shoulder!!

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Prefers being held with back to mother

My daughter, now 18 mo., adopted at 13 mo., backs up to anyone when she wants them to pick her up or hold her. Others think it's "so cute;" I think it's so sad. Her orphanage tells parents the babies don't look at them because they don't know them yet.

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, was much more relaxed if we held her facing out. We thought that she was just interested in what was going on around her, but she was avoiding the closeness. She still doesn't like to give eye contact when held, but she is comfortable now being held more closely.

My daughter, adopted at 17 mo., now 3, will usually turn her back to me for hugging, even when she WANTS a hug. Our social worker advised me to tell her to turn around because I want a REAL hug. When sitting on my lap, she will turn her back also. At first, I thought it was because she wanted to look around, but after a while I noticed she does it even when there is nothing else to look at.

Does not hold on when held (no reciprocal holding)

I think this is a VERY significant symptom. It is one of only 2 that my daughter, adopted at 9 months, definitely had, and she later developed fairly severe RAD. I think it is so significant because holding on, grabbing hold of a caregiver, is a natural inherited trait that all babies are born with. We inherited it from our ape cousins. It is a survival trait. Any normal baby will hold on to an adult, even one she doesn't know. So if a baby already has lost that ability, I think it says something is very wrong. I carried my daughter almost all the time for 6 months to facilitate attachment. It wasn't until I was trying to figure out why her little friend, who weighed exactly the same and was the same height, seemed so much lighter to carry that I realized something was amiss. It was because the other baby held on to me with her legs and arms, and mine didn't. It seemed unusual at the time, but I didn't know what it meant.

My daughter didn't hold on but I thought it was because she had never been held. It took months for me to teach her to mold her body and shift her weight. It was like carrying around a 12 pound sack. I didn't realize she had LOST this [instinct to hold on]. Another loss. I thought she had never developed this because she was rarely held.

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, would not hold on. She would arch her back, and would hold her arms out to the sides. She was clearly not used to being held, and it was very awkward to hold her, since she didn't cooperate! She is just beginning to hold on now, after being home for six months, and after therapy.

When I adopted my daughter, age 23 months, she did not attempt to hold on to me at all when I carried her. Her arms fell limply to her sides and she seemed so heavy since her arms and legs did not take any of the weight in being carried.

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When held chest to chest, faces away

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, now 16 months old, will turn her head away whenever we hold her. She will seem interested in what is going on around the room, but even if there is nothing else to look at, she will avoid looking at us… she still isn't comfortable with that level of closeness.

Cries or rages when held beyond her wishes

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, now 16 months, would push us away if we held her closely. And if we tried to hold her longer than she wanted, she would cry and rage. It made her incredibly angry... she would fight it with every ounce of her strength.

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 19 mo., had zero tolerance for being held in a cradling position, and often would tolerate no more than a few seconds of being held in any position except one where I couldn't see her face.

Gets in and out of parents lap frequently

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, was quick to come into our laps, but as soon as we'd try to cuddle with her, or put our arm around her tummy, or try to hold onto her, she'd squirm down again.

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, would want us to hold her, but as soon as we picked her up, she would arch back, or squirm to get free. It was as if she didn't know what she wanted... she wanted us, but she didn't want us. She still will do this occasionally, after being home for 7 months.

Our daughter, adopted at 23 months and now 3-1/2, would get up and down from our laps repeatedly, never really settling in or acting snuggly. She would put her hands up to be held, too, but then would want down if we sat down with her or didn't walk around or move while holding her.

Likes playpen or crib more than being held

A., adopted at 13 mo., now 18 mo., saved her most rambunctious, vocal play for after lights out. If I would go in to lie with her until she was asleep, she would begin raging. The only time she let me just cuddle her was when she was sick. As she's become more willing to accept being held, the wild, verbal playing before sleep has decreased in length. However, it's still just about her favorite part of the day.

Does not return or reciprocate hugs

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, would not return or reciprocate hugs. She would stiffen up when we hugged her, and was obviously uncomfortable with that kind of closeness. Gradually, after a few months, we taught her to hug by making it into a game. At first, she would just lean into us, but wouldn't put her arms around us or relax. Now, after six months at home, she will put her arms around me, and lay her head on my shoulder. She still won't do it spontaneously... we have to ask for it.

I received my first genuine, unsolicited hug from my 18-mo-old today--5 months and 6 days after we met! It came after she'd been sick for nearly a week.

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Resists comforting or nurturance

Our daughter (adopted at 9 months) seemed to be comforted initially only by her bottle. She wanted to be picked up when she was upset, but she wouldn't get comfort from us holding her. She would continue to cry, and often push us away. This has gradually changed over six months, and she now will calm down quickly after being held.

My daughter is 4 1/2, adopted at 5 months: While not resisting comforting or nurturance
altogether, she does tend to push me away when she is angry. She seems afraid of her anger. If I persist, she will allow me to comfort her. This feels like being pushed and pulled at the same time and can be confusing to the mother as to what the child really wants or needs.

My daughter, adopted at 8 months, had a hard time settling down for sleep/nap after her bottles. After lots of fussing, I would set her down from exhaustion and aching arms, and she'd drop off to sleep within seconds. When she'd wake in the night while teething, she'd be fussing and crying, but when I tried to soothe her, she'd stiffen up, and push away. During the teething, she would want to be held in an upright position on one shoulder for hours on end during the night, but there was no eye contact, and she would stiffen up whenever I'd try to comfort her face to face.

Poor eye contact for closeness or avoids eye contact

Our daughter (adopted at 9 months) would only give fleeting eye contact for the first couple of months, except when she was drinking her bottle. We are still working on eye contact six months later. She can give eye contact when we're at a distance from her. It's more difficult for her to give eye contact when we're holding her.

My daughter adopted at 8 months was easily engaged and made great eye contact in China upon awakening, while having bottles, and playing. I took this as a good sign. It wasn't until 6-8 months later, as she became more secure at home and more mobile, that she avoided looking in my eyes.

If my daughter, adopted at age 5, now 6, "catches" me looking at her -- she has a FIT!!! She says things like "Why you look at me! I no like you look at me!" Then she'll attempt to use this for a control thing -- she'll refuse to eat unless I stop looking at her or refuse to talk to me unless I stop, etc. I will go along with this and say something like okay, if you choose not to eat that is fine with me but I am going to look at you because you are my daughter and I love you and people who love each other look at each other. She then goes into a tantrum or a whining hissy-fit or some other acting out behavior.

My daughter, age 3 yr 4 months at adoption had some eye contact in China, but once home had very little. It increasing became less and less. After working with her one-on-one in many areas over the last couple of months, she has better eye contact now - we've been home 10 months.

My daughter (age 8 years, home 4 months) was clearly very shy when I first got her (and still is around strangers for that matter) and I attributed lack of eye contact to that as well as Asian cultural differences. Over several days she got used to me and acted less shy around me. We had better eye contact while she played but NOT connected with affection from me, etc. She will struggle not to look at me under when being disciplined or when I am giving her any affection (verbal or physical). Her face sort of freezes with this 'deer in the headlights' look and her eyes dart back and forth if I prevent her from moving her head back and forth.

Our daughter was adopted age 23 months and now is 3-1/2 years. She will make good eye contact if lying or to get something from us, but maintaining it when we want it is hard for her. She looks around the room and if forced to make contact will repeatedly blink her eyes very hard as a form of protest.

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, now almost 6, made great eye contact during bottles and most playtime, right from the beginning in China. Whenever she'd wake up, she was happy, smiley, and looking out with her bright eyes. Her joyous disposition won my heart. But as she started to teethe, and then more noticeably around 20 months, I noticed that whenever she was upset, she avoided eye contact, especially when she awoke at night in panic. It was very hard to reach her during those times.

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Does not return smiles

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, didn't return smiles. She didn't react at all when we tried to engage her. I don't think that she had ever really connected with anyone before, so a smile didn't mean anything to her. She does return smiles now at 16 months of age, but it took a few months for that to happen.

Shows very little imitative behavior

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, didn't imitate gestures or vocalizations. I think that her lack of eye contact had something to do with this. (You can't imitate if you're not looking!) But even when we could get her to look at us (only when we were at a distance), she didn't seem at all interested in what we were doing. We were very concerned about that, and worried about her cognitive abilities. She now will imitate us, and is making good progress after attachment therapy.

Generally unresponsive to parent

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, was not only unresponsive to us, she was unresponsive to anyone! She didn't respond regularly to voices for the first month or so. After six months at home and lots of therapy, she is responsive to her family now. She still isn't always responsive to other people. If they talk to her, she acts as if they're not there.

My daughter, 18-mo, adopted at 13 mo. was extremely unresponsive for the first couple of months. I've often felt like any-old-human would do as long as s/he did what my daughter wanted and didn't insist on much contact.

Reaches for others to hold her rather than parent

Our daughter, age 3-1/2, adopted at 23 months, has always done this, even reaching for strangers. She would reach for another woman while in my arms, acting as if she were going to her mother! I would have to remind her every time that I am her mommy and I would hold her.

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Not affectionate on parents' terms

My daughter will ask to be held, but only on her terms, while I stand and sway or walk around with her in my arms. As soon as I sit down to hold her, she wants to be let loose and gets very agitated if I try to force her to sit on my lap.

My daughter, adopted at age 3 yr 4 mo, now 4 yr 2 months, has not hugged me, her mother, unless asked. Even then, it's a very "flat hug" - not a real hug. Is just beginning to kiss me - again, only if asked.

It wasn't until my daughter (adopted at 9 months) was around 2 and a half that she stopped being affectionate on my terms. I first noticed that at bedtime she stopped giving me a good night kiss and telling me that she loved me. I think it had something to do with her anxiety about my leaving her at bedtime. But then I noticed that if I asked her to kiss me or hug me at other times, she might do it reluctantly, but without looking at me. However, when she was in a good mood, like when I picked her up from day care, she would run up to me and hug and kiss me. But she didn't make eye contact.

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, became less affectionate on our terms starting around 18-20 months. When changing a diaper, if I'd lean over to kiss her face, she'd either kick me, pull my hair, or grab my glasses. After a bath, when she'd be acting cuddly on the bed, and I'd lean towards her for an embrace she'd roll away in a deliberately playful way. Then she'd try to run away, and if I tried to make a funny game of it by chasing her and catching her, she'd hit me in the face hard and then laugh like it was an accident. When I'd come home from work she'd run to see me, holding out her arms, but as soon as I picked her up and tried to nuzzle her, she'd push me away or arch backwards, or throw herself backwards to put me off balance.

Prefers Dad to Mom

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, almost immediately preferred Dad to Mom. At the orphanage this was not apparent, but once we were at the hotel room, and she had fussy moments, she would take one look at me and start screaming, and reaching for my husband. This was also true for any other man in physical proximity to us -- airports, trains, waiting in line at the store, etc. After years of therapy, this is no longer true, but her preference of Dad began from her mistrust of the mother figure.

Unable to give and receive love

When I hug my daughter she becomes stiff and will not reciprocate. She often shrugs off my touch, glaring at me or not making eye contact. After eight months in our home she is still unable to give her mama a hug.

My daughter, adopted at 7 months, and now 7, did not hug me willingly and never said 'I love you'. This behavior became pronounced sometime after she was 3 and has diminished markedly with therapy.

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Inappropriately demanding and clingy

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, was demanding from the moment we received her. She wanted to be held ALL of the time, which we thought was a good sign. But when we held her, she pushed us away. She wanted us, but she didn't want us. It was very exhausting. This has improved since therapy, but she still is a very "needy" baby at 15 months of age.

I held, touched, talked to and sang to my daughter, adopted at 9 months, all the time for a few months to facilitate attachment. I frequently had to carry her in the backpack carrier at home to comfort her. She would not leave my side or lap like the other children when we picnicked with other families. I didn't think anything was wrong with this until it never subsided. Even at age three she would sit in my lap at meals. She would never play alone and always demanded my attention. I never had a minute to myself. This changed with attachment therapy.

Daughter adopted at age 23 months, now 3-1/2: Often insists on being carried or held and throws a fit if put down. When put down her legs instantly collapse and become like rubber. We noticed right away that her legs would prepare to grasp around our waists as soon as we started to pick her up, seeming to prepare for clinging as she left the ground! She hangs on my arm if I'm typing or hangs on my legs if I'm cooking. She is like a giant, insincere, enveloping sponge. The feeling it gives me is not of being loved, but of being used, and it is irritating.

My daughter, adopted at age 5 months, now 4 1/2 was very, very clingy and always demanding my attention from ages 2 to about 4+. She had to be in "my space" and it seemed I could never give her enough attention. After I worked on appropriate attachment techniques, she became better. However, occasionally she becomes too clingy and has to be "in my skin" again. In social settings away from house she stays "glued" to me for a very long time - sometimes for the entire time.

For a long time, I thought what my daughter (adopted at 5, home 10 months) was doing was evidence that she was "attaching" to me. Now I know what she was doing was being "clingy" instead. We'd stand in line at McDonald's and she would hang all over me, pawing me (especially at my breasts) with her hands and wrapping herself up in my skirt as she would lift it up! Its almost like she's trying to get under my skin. Also, as we walk along in public, she'll grab one of my arms with both her hands and dangle all 50 lbs. of her from my arm making these horrible grunting noises of pure "need". She demands ALL of my attention ALL of the time! If I talk on the phone, she's right there in my face talking to me or she'll create a "crisis" I must attend to immediately and therefore have to hang up.

I'm a human jungle gym set and servant. She wants to be carried everywhere and at 8 she is too heavy (here 4 months). She has 'noodle legs' when I put her down and she doesn't want down. She is very good at hanging on without me holding her. The use of "please" doesn't lessen the demanding tone and intent of her 'requests'

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In infants, wants to hold the bottle as soon as possible

I'd been so alarmed that my daughter, adopted at 13 months and clearly "failure to thrive", didn't know how to bring food to her mouth that I never even questioned the fact that she didn't want me to hold her bottle or cup. I saw it as healthy signs of independence (until I began to analyze what was going on with her).

My daughter was adopted at 23 months and was still very happy to use a bottle. But, she absolutely refused to allow me to hold it. If I tried to hold it, she would immediately stop drinking and try her face away. Now, after 5 months of attachment therapy, she will bring me her bottle and ask me to "help you Mommy", she wants to lay in my arms like a baby and be fed!

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, initially made great eye contact and accepted the bottle from me right away. When she started holding onto it herself, I took this as a good sign since she was so developmentally delayed and uncoordinated. About the time she was learning to walk, she started wriggling off my lap, walking around the room either holding the ba-ba herself, or letting it hang from her mouth. While doing this she was self-absorbed and avoided me. Feeling rejected, I took the opportunity to pick up or do something unrelated to her since she wasn't interested in me. In retrospect, I perceive this as distancing behavior. I remember trying to force her to stay on my lap but when she resisted, I gave in because I was afraid of upsetting her. She was so difficult to calm. This was the start of her rejecting me.

Lack of or unstable peer relationships

I thought that my daughter, adopted at 9 months, now 3, played pretty well with other kids, and she does when she is with me. But when she is at day care, she has only one friend who she plays with consistently. Her teacher relates that she views other children as "dispensable." When she gets tired of them or she wants to change the game, she tells them to go away. She also can be quite bossy with them, telling them to clean up or how to play a game.

Our son, adopted at age 5.5 years approx 3 1/2 years ago, has absolutely no peer relationships. At first he had many play dates but over the last two years, they have dwindled to none. He consistently says no when I suggest inviting someone over and no one requests him. He rarely goes to birthday parties (though does fine at the few he does attend).

Mistrustful of/lacks trust in others

My daughter, adopted at 9 months, loved to go swimming with me for the first two summers she was with me. Age 3 is the age when children develop new fears because they become aware of their own mortality, and the summer that she turned three, she would not let me hold her in the water. She was fine in water that she could stand in, but if I held her in even 2 feet of water, she would panic, scream and become so hysterical that she would disassociate. It was then that I realized that she did not trust me. It broke my heart.

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Exploitative, manipulative, controlling, and bossy

Our son, adopted at age 5.5, now almost 9, is all of the above. When he had been here 8 months, he orchestrated a dozen high school senior girls at a friend's graduation party into playing duck, duck, goose. Needless to say, they all thought he was adorable. He has to call all the shots no matter what the situation is. He must change the TV channel. He has to direct where to place his milk glass, etc, etc, etc...

Our daughter, adopted at 23 months and now 3-1/2 years, is incredibly bossy, manipulative, and controlling. She tells everyone how to do everything, where to put it, when to do it, and so on. Other kids hate to play with her because she bosses them around all the time and won't let them decide anything. She constantly bosses her older sibs and they despise her for it. She also tries to manipulate people with charm and cuteness, and will play one parent against the other. She has to control every aspect of our lives, making us all do everything her way. She loves to be the center of attention and pouts mightily if not permitted to interrupt and control a conversation or meeting. If she is thwarted she will rage or clam up and then retaliate in some passive-aggressive way, by ruining something, hurting someone, making sure we can't enjoy ourselves, or by getting into trouble.

Inability to feel empathy towards others*

Except for the fact that she was really good at reading exacerbation, my daughter, adopted at about 13 months my daughter had no understanding of how we felt about much of anything. After nearly six months of modeling and playing with stuffed animals, dolls, etc., one day she hurt either my other daughter or me (don't remember which) and said, "Sorry." Now she demonstrates empathy much more consistently.

Superficially engaging and charming

Our daughter, adopted age 23 months and now 3-1/2 years, has always worn a "party girl mask." She goes "on stage" more often than not, acting really cute and funny, with a really fake laugh and sing-songy voice. She compliments us on our dress or the meal she is eating, and is especially charming and center stage with visitors or people out in public. She loves to always be the center of attention, finding very creative ways to divert attention away from anyone else.

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, now almost 6 was so charming when we met her I mistook it for a sure sign of secure attachment. I thought she knew I was coming. The orphanage director told us she was "most happy baby. Always smiling." I took this to be a great sign. It continued at home and didn't start to worry me until she would get a bump on the playground and go to the closest adult for comfort. These complete strangers would then tell me my daughter was "so sweet, so special." She would charm anyone while we were in public. When we'd climb on the bus, she'd look for an empty seat and immediately smile and charm whoever was next to her -- whether it be an elderly lady or a homeless person or a potential drug dealer.

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Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers

Our daughter was adopted at age 23 months and now is 3-1/2 years old. She always has gone up to strangers in public or at church, getting onto laps, grabbing their hands, caressing their faces and playing with their hair. She puts her hands up to them and grunts to be lifted up, and if in Mom's arms will reach over to them so they can rescue her. She even calls strangers, "Mommy." Of course, she is pouring on the charm so they are drawn to her, doing anything she wants. When they first handed her to me in the orphanage she was happy to come with me, called me Mom, and never cried for those she left behind. She would have gone off with anyone, but I just thought she had been well prepared and well adjusted!

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, now in Kindergarten still has a hard time understanding who is a 'stranger.' and who is not. Starting in China, she reached out her arms first to us, then to our families, and then to anyone else in sight. As she grew older, this became a problem. While waiting in line at the store, she'd hug the man in front or behind us, and then attract the attention of bored shoppers. She hugged bus drivers more than once, and a pizza delivery man who got into our elevator with us. She'd run to a homeless person if their hand was outstretched. It took a lot of attachment therapy to stop this behavior. She simply had no sense of personal safety. It was strangers, after all, who saved her life over and over. Because we live in a large city, we are in contact with thousands of people every day. I've had to drill it into her head not to touch anyone except Mommy and Daddy. And still today, she'll see people in the subway or bus, or store, and say "Mommy, is that man a stranger?"

Last night we went to a Mexican Restaurant and the busboy smiled and said hello to S. S. immediately went onstage and began to charm the guy. He didn't get sucked in, and left as soon as the table was cleared. She turned to us and proudly said, "He my best friend!" We had to burst her bubble and tell her he is not her friend and it's unsafe and inappropriate for her to think that or be so friendly and trusting of strangers. Even after all her therapy and gains she still does this.

Flat, lifeless affect (too quiet) / inability to show emotions

My daughter was 11 mo when we adopted her. She was so attuned to being alone that having an interaction with a loving adult seemed to be an assault on her gentle psyche. The first time her daddy (who got her in China while I stayed at home with first baby) tried to bottle feed her, she vomited. The first few months, she slept all but about 6 hrs. a day. She rarely cried and, when she did, it was a pitiful little sound, not a big wail.

Our daughter (adopted at 9 months) definitely had a flat affect when we received her, and for the first few months at home. Her eyes looked empty, and she didn't respond to people, voices, or noises like a normal baby would. We actually thought that she might be autistic, or fall somewhere on the autistic spectrum. When she looked at us, she seemed to be looking through us, as if we were part of the wallpaper. She wasn't "connecting" with us with her eyes. When she wasn't staring blankly, she was crying.

Frequently sad, depressed or helpless

My daughter, adopted at 9 months, now 3 1/2, always seemed very happy when I was with her. The security guard at pre-school always commented to me that she was much quieter and sadder when she was at school. But it was not until a parent/teacher conference that I found out that when at pre-school, she frequently "drifted" - was obviously in a world of her own. Now she will tell me that she doesn't feel well, and when I ask what part of her feels sick, she'll say "my heart". She also has a way of playing with me where she pretends she can't do something, like find the right puzzle piece when it's in her hand. It's like she has been so conditioned to be helpless that she doesn't realize there are other ways of interacting.

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., had been home four months before she began to express any joy at the countless tiny things that usually delight toddlers in any given day.

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Intense displays of anger (rage)

My daughter's "Terrible Twos" didn't seem too unusual (she was adopted at 9 months), except that when told "no" in a loud or sudden way, or if she didn't get her way on sometimes trivial things, she would either throw herself on the floor and rage, or throw everything she could get her hands on. And she could not be comforted. The only way to deal with these rages was to let them run their course. The "Terrible Twos" seemed to come and go, but returned with a vengeance around age 3 when we moved. She became so afraid of my leaving her that at nap or bed time she would rage at me and kick me with her legs to push me out of the bed, but then rage when I left and scream for me to come back. I had no idea what was happening and nothing I did helped in any way until I started attachment therapy. After six months, she no longer rages at all.

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, seemed fine until we took at trip when she was 20 months old. Our first night in a strange place she screamed for 3 hours non-stop, nothing we could do would comfort her but she would sit on our laps in the rocking chair. This bad pattern only got worse when we went to our second destination. Our first night in that strange house, she only slept a few hours. She raged for 2-3 hrs, pushing both my husband and I away, then wanting us, then running away from us, in the crib, in the rocker, carrying her in our arms, always fighting us, until she'd crash exhausted for an hour or so only to awake in terror once again. The look on her face and our inability to console her, or even be able to hold onto her made it apparent she was re-living some kind of trauma. During these 3 hour hysteria rage cycles, she would pull her hair out, scratch herself, pull our hair out, and run to us, then run away from us, fighting but at the same time calling us. It was a truly frightening experience that lasted until long after we returned home.

Our daughter, adopted at 23 months and now 3-1/2, would throw herself to the floor and rage for hours, over the smallest thing. All we had to say was the word, "No," and she would rage. While raging she was inconsolable, would throw her shoes and any other nearby things, at our faces, scream, thrash, and was impossible to hold. It was very scary to watch this, it was way beyond a tantrum.

My daughter can go from bubbly happy to a rage in a split second! Often, if I manage to intervene by saying something like "Think first," she looks at me as if she could chew me up and spit me out in another split second.

Extreme fright at unexpected or unusual triggers

My daughter was 9 months old when I adopted her. One time I had to work very late, and our friends picked her up from day care to play with their daughter. By the time I came to pick her up, she had been put in pajamas, along with the family who was babysitting. As soon as I put her in her stroller to take her home, she became hysterical. It was all I could do to get her up the stairs to our apt. - she kept trying to crawl away. She stayed hysterical for 2 hours, asking for her cousins and grandparents. She finally calmed down when I called her grandmother. Another time we were at Sesame Place, and she became very frightened and kept pulling on my arm while we were trying to put stuff in the lockers. I couldn't calm her down for an hour. Later I found out that she thought I was going to "lock her" up in the locker.

For over five months, my daughter, adopted at 13 mo., would startle if she heard any noise such as a noisy truck even a block away. When the garbage truck would come into our area, she would become upset even if she was inside the house. We would notice her reaction and then have to sift through environmental noises until we could figure out that she'd heard a noise in the background that startled her but which the rest of us ignored.

Marked mood changes

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 20 mo., can go from joy to a fall-down-on-the-floor-screaming-rage in less than one second.

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Cries; miserable all the time; chronically fussy

Our daughter was very fussy when we received her in China at 9 months of age. She cried for the first four days, and frequently during the rest of our trip. She is still a fussy baby, although it's improving after six months at home, and after doing therapy. Her crying isn't like a baby who is uncomfortable or hungry. It's more of a frustrated cry.

My daughter cried almost non-stop in China -- whether I was holding her or put her down. After being home more than a week, I decided to just keep track of how much of her waking time she spent crying. Six hours. By the time we'd been home six weeks, she was down to about three hours per day. After four months at home, she still spends an hour or more crying nearly every day. On adoption day she was officially 22 months old, but we now estimate her to have been between 11 and 16 months of age.

Rarely cries (overly good baby)

My daughter was adopted at 23.5 months and she appeared a master at keeping her true feelings of anger and rage hidden and controlled. If something happened that should have upset her (like taking a toy away) instead of crying or protesting, she would laugh. Only it wasn't funny, it was obviously a forced laugh and she seemed very reluctant to show any negative emotions or her true feelings.

My daughter, adopted at 14 months, cried exactly 3 times the first three months we were together. The first time I heard her cry it broke my heart because it sounded almost like a tiny soft kitten crying just to herself because she knew no one would hear. I don't think she knew anymore that crying was a way of communicating.

Child's cries sound the same regardless of cause, i.e., cries for food, discomfort, pain, anger, sadness, rage all sound the same.

My daughter (adopted 13 mo) had been home for over three months before there was an audible difference in her cries.

For the first three months she was home, my daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 20 months, had only one cry. During month four, she developed a cry that sounded a bit different when she was tired. Now I can tell the difference between anger, sadness, pain, fright, discomfort, and tired.

Angry or rageful when cries

My daughter, adopted at 8 months was quick to fly into a rage over simple little things. If she accidentally dropped a toy while she was absorbed with it, she got really mad and was not easily calmed when I gave it back to her. As if getting the toy back reminded her of what went wrong. This was also true for any developmental activities she couldn't do but wanted to do. She got so frustrated she quickly escalated into a rage and then refused to accept help from me (or anyone) to complete the task. This drove people away from her, which only upset her even more.

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Difficulty with novelty or change

My daughter, adopted at 9 months, is now 3. When I first spoke to my pediatrician about my concerns that my daughter always cried when saying good-bye to friends, he told me that some kids just have difficulty with change. Every new situation or transition is difficult for her. Before therapy, if I didn't give a few minutes warning before saying it was time to leave or turning off the TV, she would fly into a rage. She will often not eat in a new restaurant. Changing teachers or classrooms in day care has caused sleep disorders and other manifestations of trauma. Moving to a new house in the same neighborhood took months of adjustment. One of the worst transitions was changing from winter to summer clothes. She couldn't do it. I ended up screaming at her over and over that she couldn't wear long sleeves and long pants because she would get too hot in the summer heat and would get sick! And then when I did get her out of tights, she would complain that her legs were cold. She was finally OK when I explained to her that she just wasn't used to feeling the breeze on her legs.

My daughter, 11 months at the time of adoption, now 17 months old, has problems with transitions. She has a hard time even going from room to room in our house. When she leaves one room, she has to take one thing with her from that room to the next or she gets very anxious. It can be a meaningless object: a spoon from the kitchen, a pillow from the living room. If I don't let her take the object, she can completely fall apart. If I let her take it, she'll hold on to it for a few minutes in the next room until she feels comfortable there.

Lack of impulse control

My daughter couldn't help herself from touching most things for the first few months she was home (adopted at age 3 +). When she walked into a room, especially a new place, she had to touch anything that she thought interesting. When I asked her to stop, it was like her fingers were just twitching - had to touch.

When angry, my daughter (adopted at 10 months, now 3) would sweep all of the videos off the shelf, objects off the coffee table and throw anything she could get her hands on. After 8 months of attachment therapy, she will usually stop herself before becoming destructive.

Our daughter, adopted at 23 months, now 3-1/2, will play in the toilet or dig all the ashes out of the fireplace and leave them on the carpet. She has taken every hobnail out of the leather seat of a chair. She will not stop talking if we tell her we need quiet time, and it's always some repeated nonsense.

My daughter, adopted at age 3+, had absolutely no impulse control - she just had to do whatever it was she wanted to do - immediately. Things like turning on faucet and putting hand under it - she could flood the bathroom very quickly. She could not stop herself. Even now after 10 months, it's hard for her to control her impulses. When playing games, I can remind her to keep her hands on lap until it's her turn, otherwise, she is just itching to touch everything.

My daughter, adopted at 8 months, was attracted to our cat, smiled charmingly when she pet him, and then would pet faster and faster, unable to stop, until she was frantically hitting him and we had to take him away. Then she'd scream and cry, pointing to the cat, wanting more. Not comprehending that he had enough and was being hurt.

Consistently irresponsible

Our daughter, adopted at age 3+, now 4, could never do anything the first, second, third time asked to do it - even after she acquired the language. We are still working on this one - the reminders do seem to be getting smaller in number. This is a very frustrating one for us - getting her to be responsible for some things and carry through without many reminders.

Our daughter, adopted at 7 months & now 7, could never be relied upon to do something she was told to do. She always required several reminders. She was a master dilly-dallier. These behaviors became more pronounced as she reached school age and we started to expect more of her.

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Our daughter, adopted at age 23 months and now 3-1/2 years old, has always been very hyperactive. She would run laps in the house like a crazed Chihuahua! After doing attachment therapies she has slowed down remarkably, and now is pretty much at a normal speed most of the time.

My daughter, adopted at 8 months, was very active from the minute we met her. She was constantly rubbing her feet together, and twisting her wrists. Even in her sleep, she was forever in motion, flipping around the bed in all directions. She could never stay still on my lap. Once she learned to walk, she would run non-stop around the house or playground for about 3 hours, then crash for a long nap, wake up and repeat the running until the next nap or bedtime. At age 3 she was still unable to sit in a chair to do activities like coloring, play-doh, or puzzles. When we got tired of chasing her around the house, we'd take her into the stairwell of our apartment building. She could climb 15 flights of stairs without stopping. At age 5.5, she is still very athletic, but much calmer and settled.

My daughter (adopted at 5, now 6) has some days where she can barely get out of her own way she is so sluggish -- constantly repeating little rituals of movement. On other days, she's moving back and forth faster than a tennis ball at Wimbledon! She seems totally incapable of regulating her activity and is a constant flurry of motion. At these times, she is incapable of just sitting -- she's up, she's down, she's up, she's down, she's on the floor, she's spilled something or crashed into something and toppled it over. During these times, she will spend about two seconds with a toy and be on to the next. If I am not right there to monitor her, she can turn any room into a clutter disaster area in about ten minutes. But if she is drawing (which she loves), she can hyper-focus and stay doing that for hours.

Persistent nonsense questions and incessant chatter

My daughter (adopted at 9 months) started asking "why" at about age 3. Fairly typical of that age, I thought, except that she didn't seem interested in a logical answer. She seemed more interested in using "why" as a way of holding my attention. I finally was convinced that she was exhibiting this symptom when one evening we skipped our attachment therapy ritual, and she asked me to put the 3 Little Pigs tape in the tape player. Then she asked me "What tape is that? Why is it a tape?"

My daughter (adopted at 5 and home 11 months) will ask illogical questions and use whatever the answer is for a springboard into a tantrum. For example she will ask me to give her long hair right now. At first I didn't realize it was a setup and I would go into explanations using logic. Each of my responses was followed by another illogical question such as, “why can't you make my hair grow?” until she finally had worked herself into a meltdown. At other times, it is almost as if she can't stand quiet. She will fill the quiet with noise by saying anything, even repeating herself over and over. Since I began doing attachment activities with her, we have now had several actual conversations where she has something of substance to tell me and will listen and respond appropriately to what I say back. The difference is dramatic.

Self-destructive behaviors

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, did not exhibit self-destructive behaviors until she was about 20 months old and we went on our first big trip. Her tantrums included pulling chunks of her own hair out and hitting and scratching herself. This would alternate with trying to hurt me.

Our son, adopted at 8 years, was a headbanger for approximately 2 years after his arrival home. Occasionally, still, he will scratch himself until he bleeds. (There's no dry skin going on here, just the repetitive motion). Our other son, adopted at 5 1/2, will throw himself to the floor or into furniture, regardless of how it hurts. He also will smack himself in the face repeatedly.

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Difficulty with saying good-byes*

My daughter, adopted at 9 months, started showing real difficulty saying goodbye to friends at about 18 months of age. If we'd had a play date with friends who we saw a lot, or especially her grandmother, she would cry or tantrum when it was time to say good-bye.

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 20 mo., often throws herself on the floor screaming or crying when her nanny or one of her therapists leaves. Except for the few times she's stayed in the church nursery, she does NOT react when I, her mother, leaves.

Autistic like behaviors

My daughter, adopted at 16 months, appeared well related at the time of adoption. But after being home a few months, she gradually began to withdraw and take on autistic-like behaviors. She stopped making eye contact, stopped talking and vocalizing, stopped imitating. She appeared to tune other people out, and often would not respond. She did not call anyone by their names and did not respond to her name. She refused to communicate except on her own terms. She started engaging in ritualized, repetitive, sometimes bizarre play and was very difficult to redirect: lining objects up, opening and shutting things, focusing on parts of toys such as the wheels of the doll stroller. She focused on shapes and logos and would point them out obsessively. When angry or frustrated would bang her head or hit herself. Over time and with attachment therapy, all of these symptoms have disappeared. She is now 3 1/2.

Conceals knowledge/skills/abilities*

Often my daughter age 3 (adopted at 9 months) will pretend not to know how to do a puzzle or some other task. She will bring a puzzle piece to the place where it fits, but just before it gets there she'll say she can't do it. She can actually read some words, but pretends she can't. She believes that she needs to remain a baby, because she is afraid I will leave her if she grows up.

Accident prone (possibly a symptom of Sensory Processing Disorder)

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 19 mo. had no idea where her body was in space, or with what intensity she touched (whacked) things or people. She constantly bumped into things with other parts of her body, but rarely bumped her head.

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Poor hygiene

Son, adopted at age 5.5, has no interest in washing or brushing teeth. Cries, complains, whines, wheedles to try to talk us out of making him do it.

Blames others for own mistakes and problems

Our son, adopted at age 5.5 years approx 3 1/2 years ago, will never admit his own mistakes. He must constantly place blame elsewhere. Even if we witness him "messing up" he will deny it was him and blame his brother or the dog or cat, etc. If he fails to follow an explicit instruction, he will insist that was not what I told him.

Enuresis and encopresis

My daughter, adopted at 9 months, refused to toilet train. She was excited at age 2 about this new thing when they started toilet training in day care. But once the novelty wore off, she joked at potty time in day care and out right refused to use the toilet at home. By age 3 her day care teacher was convinced that she was physically able, but chose not to. 6 weeks after attachment therapy began, she was completely toilet trained during the day. However, when she is angry at Mom or extremely stressed, she will pee in her pants or on the floor. We don't have "accidents", we have "deliberates". She has also smeared feces on my pillow as an expression of anger.

Age 8, home 4.5 months. Peed all over the back seat of the car because she was mad at me for talking with her friend's mother for 5 minutes after I picked her up. Denied it and then claimed it was an accident until pressed and then finally admitted it was on purpose. Wets the bed occasionally.

Inappropriate sexual conduct and attitudes

Our son, adopted at 5.5, is always sexually inappropriate, provocative and acts as if it's totally normal. He is an exhibitionist, loves to run around with no clothing on. He seems "aware" beyond his years and interested in "R" movie situations as we click through the remote on TV. He's also way too touchy with his female cousins who are 14 and 11.

Other son, adopted at 7.9, still is abnormally interested in touching my breasts. It is a daily fight to encourage him to keep his hands away from that part of my body.

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Aggression toward others

My daughter, adopted at 14 months, dug her fingernails in and raked them across my face when being given a bottle while held in a cradling position. There was no warning but it happened repeatedly. It then progressed to scratching her cousins, always across the face. For two years nothing seemed to be able to stop it. It happened to her cousins when they hugged her and also if I showed them any affection in her presence. Two years later it happens with less frequency but still happens.

My daughter, adopted at 8 months was wonderfully friendly and charming to everyone until about 18-20 months. She began exhibiting intense aggression toward peers and most particularly babies. She would approach an infant in stroller very calmly and sweetly, to gain the mother's trust. As soon as the Mom's back turned, she'd attack -- hitting viciously, and then stare. Starting at 20 months, whenever she was in a crowded, noisy or confusing situation, she'd attack other children.

My daughter was adopted at 9 months. When she was extremely stressed out at age 2 from being forced to go to sleep by herself (on the advice of a “sleep specialist” - she was feeling abandoned), she raged constantly during the day. She choked a child at day care and threw a chair at a teacher.

Aggression towards others takes another form in our house; it's a passive-aggressive way to be aggressive. She will damage and destroy the toys, books, and belongings of anyone she is mad at.

My son, adopted at 5 1/2, has always been aggressive towards me primarily. He will punch and kick still. He used to do a lot of spitting and scratching and biting, though less of those now.

My daughter (age 8 years, home 4 months) hits, bites, scratches, pinches, kicks me and others. She has learned to say, "I'm sorry", but uses it without meaning and thinks that by saying that it makes everything OK. She wants what she wants when she wants it, others be damned. When she pushes kids out of the way on the playground and they protest, she will turn around and push them. If they push back, she will slug or kick hard. She has had to spend more than one recess inside due to playground behavior. At first the teachers wouldn't believe she was the one responsible since she had started out as such a 'sweet girl' (they also felt sorry for her). I witnessed this one time at the playground, told them she was indeed the one who starts it, and to please discipline her like any other kid.

Deceitful (lying, conning)

Our daughter, age 3-1/2, adopted at 23 months tells lies. The first time it was a day when all the kids were in the room with me and nothing was happening out of the ordinary, all were being quiet and reading or watching TV. Our daughter approached me, holding her nose, and with a trembling voice and tear in her eye said, "Brother hit my nose." I had been there and no one hit her! It was so convincing it scared me that she could tell a teacher at school a lie like that and they would believe her over me, which happens with families at times!

My 8 year old son, adopted at 5.5, is a Jon Lovitz-style liar (as in non-stop). He lies about important things in the same manner as unimportant things. You can actually watch him do something and he will deny it even if it is within 30 seconds of it happening. Our therapist suggests this is a brain processing thing, and that he truly has no clue he's done the thing you are pointing out to him.

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Cruelty to animals

My daughter, adopted at 9 months, was always very jealous of the cat. It was classic sibling rivalry. She hated when I paid any attention to him. She was also mean to him. Even after she knew how to pet him gently, she was never gentle with him, except when I insisted. As she grew older, and her RAD worsened, she would hit him whenever she became angry. I could never trust her to be alone with him.

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, was sweet and innocent until about 20 months of age. Then she started torturing our very docile, loving cat. She would begin petting him in a friendly way, and then, when my back was turned for a nano second, she'd have her little hands around his neck in a vice grip, squeezing harder and harder. The cat clearly looked distressed and struggled to get away, and she looked blank in the face. Sometimes she'd try to lie on top of him in a smothering way, or stand on his rib cage. She always approached him sweetly as if to play, and then once she got him in her arms her demeanor changed to evil. This behavior stopped after about 6 months of intensive attachment therapy.

My daughter, aged 8, home 4.5 months, is nice to the cat to my face and kicks her, takes her food away, etc. when I am not looking. I knew something was up when my cat's behavior changed dramatically about a month after daughter was home. I finally caught my daughter in the act several times (she denies what she had just done despite being in the middle of the act). My solution right now is to make some places the cat can hide that my daughter can't get to.

Frequently defies rules (oppositional)

Age 8, home 4.5 months. While she can and will comply when she wants to there are plenty of times when she doesn't. This seems to happen more than with her friends AND pretty much only in my home when others aren't present.

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 20 mo., has days when she will do something which breaks a rule -- usually a safety issue or a property issue -- then grin at us.

Little or reduced verbal responsiveness in infants

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, didn't respond much at all, let alone verbally! She didn't babble at all when we received her, and she still isn't very verbal after being home for 7 months.

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., was able to say only one syllable - "bah" - and said it only twice in the first week she was with me--and very slowly added new consonants over the next month or six weeks.

Lack of cause and effect thinking

Son, adopted at age 5.5, has no clue that anything he does affects anyone else or anything else. For example, doesn't see that walking backwards and kicking his feet up in the air resulted in tripping over the dog who is lying on the floor.

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Learning disorders

Our daughter, adopted at 23 months and now 3-1/2 years old, has significant learning delays and is in special ed preschool. She is at the cognitive age of between a 20-36 month old now.

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, now 5.5 years has had and continues to suffer from many learning disorders, including speech delays, auditory processing, sensory integration, visual perceptual and visual discrimination problems, and alternately crossing eyes. Possible causes of these problems are premature birth, low birth weight, and lack of stimulation in the orphanage. But her inability to listen, and her inability to identify and express her feelings, prevented her from being able to take direction from not only her mother, but also therapists and teachers. It was not until we started doing attachment therapy and she was able to re-live some of her trauma, release inner rage and get in touch with her feelings, and trust her mother that she started to overcome her learning disabilities in a more efficient way.

Language disorders

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, now 5.5 had a depressed rib cage due to lying on her back in the orphanage. This made it difficult for her to get sounds out, and to control the flow of breath through her diaphragm. Once corrected through Physical Therapy, she gained a wide vocabulary but was not able to answer questions. She developed echolalia -- the repeating of whatever was just said to her, especially questions. She could not answer the most simple questions, although it appeared that she might know the answers. Once she started putting words together, everything she talked about was strictly in the present tense. She could not tell you where we had just come from, even if it was a very exciting place. For instance, if I said "Tell Daddy where we went today." she couldn't answer. but if I said "We had lots of fun on that Merry-go-round today didn't we." She would nod her head enthusiastically so I knew she understood what I was talking about. She simply was unable to formulate an answer to a direct question. Even now, if she is in a stressful situation, she will be unable to answer direct questions.

Physically restless when sleeping

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months of age has always been a restless sleeper. When we visited her at her orphanage, her legs were swaddled, and they were always moving. The first night she was in our hotel room, with her legs free, she just rubbed them back and forth against each other, and waved them up in the air and used them to flip herself around all night long. I did not sleep the first night, as I was in wonder at my new child, and was a bit surprised that she never laid still in her crib, even while sleeping. At age five and a half, she continues to thrash in bed unless she is tucked in very tightly.

My daughter, adopted at 23 months, did not sleep through the night for approximately a year after adoption. She now still wakes, thrashes, rolls back and forth and kicks covers off and on and moans for several hours. She seems to sink into a deeper sleep for the 3 hours or so before waking. The first part of her sleep "wears" her out, I think from all the thrashing about!

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Difficulty falling asleep / fear of falling asleep* / extreme bed-avoidance behaviors* / clings to parent when asleep / can't be put down without waking*

Our daughter, adopted at 23 months of age and now 3-1/2 years old, has a very hard time getting to sleep most of the time. She will stay awake until 11 p.m., playing in her bed and talking out loud, keeping all of us awake. Once she falls asleep she stays that way, but getting her to sleep is hard. If she has cried before bedtime she will drift off right away, though. Ironically, if she misses her afternoon nap she will have a harder time going to sleep than if she has the nap.

My daughter, adopted at 18 months, now 23 months, has extreme difficulty going to sleep. In five months she's willingly accepted my holding her less than a dozen times while she's gone to sleep (and those times include the times she's been sick). She would often get up and play with everything in the room. Once she started screaming -- she'd gotten out of bed and shut her hands in the dresser drawer. She's pulled lamps off dressers and pictures off walls. We've removed the toys from the room except for one favorite stuffed animal per night. She screams, yells, chatters and sometimes eats imaginary food off the wall. If there is any light in the room, she cannot go to sleep and the behaviors described above are even more extreme. Once morning arrives she awakens very easily, even when she is still quite tired.

I adopted my daughter at 9 months, and she slept fine until I went back to work 5 months after bringing her home. She would become hysterical if I tried to leave the room before she fell asleep. She got to the point that she couldn't fall asleep until I was asleep next to her, she was so terrified of my abandoning her. But sometimes, if she didn't want to sleep, she would rage and simultaneously try to kick me out of the bed while she was pulling me back in. If I tried "setting limits" by keeping her in bed while I sat next to the bed, she would rage all day and actually hurt others at school. The only way that she can get to sleep is if I hold her tight and she rages, and then I continue holding her until she is asleep. I've recently noticed that she falls asleep with her eyes half open. She is always pressed up against my side when we are in bed at night. She seems tired during the day, and I recently asked her if she sleeps all night. She confirmed that she often lies awake next to me with her eyes wide open. Sometimes if she wakes up in the wee hours of the morning and I am not in bed with her because I've fallen asleep on the sofa, she will scream for me. When I go to comfort her and tell her "Mama's here", she will push me away and say "Go away, you are not my Mama!"

Our daughter, adopted at 8.5 months, slept with her eyes open for the first 6 or so months and when we were sure she was asleep we would gently close her eyelids. She would wake up in the morning looking anxious and unrested, as if to see what was going on or about to happen. No bleary eyes or slow arousal from sleep. This gradually changed and a year and a half on from adoption she sleeps with her eyes shut but still wakes immediately to action. She also does not ask for a parent or sibling upon waking but some inanimate object. We are gradually coaching her to ask for a human not a plastic toy.

Night wandering

Son #2 takes upwards of two hours to fall asleep and I wake up every morning to find his light on. He freely admits he has wandered around.

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Frequent nightmares and/or night terrors*

Our daughter, adopted at 8 months, went to sleep easily as long as you weren't holding her. She fussed terribly whenever I wanted to rock her to sleep. She frequently woke 2-3 times during the night and for a period of about 3 years she had night terrors. She'd wake up crying for Mommy. I'd go in and try to rub her back, comfort her, and say "Mommy's here." Then she'd push me away in a rage. If I walked away, she'd get more upset and call me back. When I came, she'd pull my hair, hit me in the face and scream "You're not my mommy. I hate you. Get away from me. I want you to go far, far away." If I started to walk away, she'd again get more hysterical. These semi-conscious screaming scenarios could go on for up to 3 hours.

My daughter, adopted at 5 months, now almost 5 yrs, has had no difficulty in falling asleep but has woken up many times each night crying, screaming, etc. This usually occurred before midnight. At about 4 yrs of age, we adopted another child who slept in the same room with my daughter. After a couple of months, I noticed that my first daughter wasn't waking up as often.

My daughter was adopted at 24 months and is now 3.5. She would not fall asleep or sleep anywhere but on my arm for about a year. She would wake up at night almost every hour for several months. I forget actually for how long as I was so tired! She would also wake or "semi-wake" and cry out mournfully for seemingly no apparent reason. She would kick all covers off of herself and become hysterical if I would not put her back on my arm. If she awoke early and was still tired she would have periods of inconsolable crying for sometimes up to 45 minutes where she would lay on the floor (she did not want to be held at this time) and kick and cry and writhe back and forth. When these periods ended, she would very quickly change her demeanor and become seemingly unaware of what had just happened. I would ask her why she was sad and she acted like she never was.

Hoards food

Son #1, adopted at 7.9 years, never once hoarded food. Son #2, adopted at 5.5 constantly did and occasionally still does hoard food. Now it's mostly candy and snack type stuff, but at the beginning it was anything and everything! Conversely, both children will share any food they have (my guess being they had to in their orphanage situations).

My daughter, adopted at 9 months, began "saving" a part of her breakfast mainly when she was about 18-20 months old. She had a number of places throughout the house where she would stash food from breakfast or snacks. I even found stashes in my bedroom. Now at 3 years 8 months, she will save her cereal bowl from breakfast (she eats dry cereal) and will save a bit of food from meals and snacks in this bowl, carefully covered with a napkin. She usually hides the bowl in the microwave.

My daughter, adopted at 11.5 months, now 21 months, though merely a toddler, has always had major control issues with food. Among other behaviors this includes what my husband and I jokingly call chipmunk cheeks, or hoarding her food in her mouth, of all the weird things. From her behavior, it is usually clear she intends to save this food for later. She will use sign language (she can't speak yet) to say "all done" then grab food off her tray as we're taking it off the high chair, shoveling as much as possible into her mouth. If we don't notice it, she will walk around with this food in her mouth for long periods of time. She doesn't seem to mind most of the time, but sometimes she gets really angry that she has all this food in her mouth and doesn't seem to know what to do about it! She may also overload during a meal, and meanwhile she is shoveling food in as fast as possible to the point of gagging on it).

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Continuous eating / doesn't know when to stop eating*

My daughter was adopted at 8 months. When hungry, she'd shovel food into her mouth with her fingers, stuffing her cheeks, unable to stop until there was nothing left.

My child, adopted at age 3.4, now 4.2 eats an abnormal amount of food without gaining weight. She gained about 3 lbs within first month of adoption and ate an incredible amount of food -- we had to stop her from eating at times. This was to be expected at first. However, she still eats a lot and is always saying she's hungry - even within 30 minutes of last meal. She hasn't gained weight or grown in height since 1 month of adoption.

On this food theme... when we first adopted R. just over a year ago she firstly refused Chinese food and cried her heart out when she tasted it - something which is no longer a problem. She also used to stuff food in and store it on the roof of her mouth and in her cheeks, at the same time hold food in each hand and then put her head down to grip whatever she could between her teeth. Consequently each meal gave us gagging fits, etc. and lots of tantrums. We spent a lot of time trying to deal with this although at the time didn't really understand what was going on. Eventually she now eats quite happily at the table but out of that environment stuffs like crazy.

Refuses to eat*

Our daughter, adopted at age 23 months and now 3-1/2 years old, had a terrible time learning to eat normally, partly because of sensory problems and partly because of RAD. She would never feel hungry, so would not feel like eating, was basically anorexic. She would gulp down her favorite foods (rice, noodles, roast meats) and ignore all others (especially any kind of bread or cereal product.) She would fill her mouth full like a chipmunk, forget to chew it, then vomit everything. It would take her two hours to eat one meal.

Using eating / appetite to control parents (asks for tuna, then says "I hate tuna or I'm not hungry)*

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 20 mo., will refuse a bite of food, then yell in protest if I set the fork or spoon back on her plate.

My daughter (adopted age 5, home 10 months) does have food "issues" and odd behaviors around food. She seems to pick two or three foods at a time that she'll eat and that's what she wants for three meals a day. And what she likes today, is not necessarily what she'll like tomorrow. I believe it to be more of a control issue rather than a preference for a certain food. If I try to give her something else she will have a hissy-fit. Some foods I've tried to feed her and she acts like I'm trying to poison her but her daycare worker has told me she loves to eat it at her house!

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Overly independent play or makes no demands

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 19 mo., required weeks of slowly building up to playing with others. She frequently had a rather baffled look on her face when either her sister or I tried to play/interact with her, and then she would protest. We finally got her to play with us when using a toy telephone, and from there she began to move on to other objects and interactions. Rather than let us know what she wants/needs she'll just go get it herself.

Overly controlling play*/Does not accept direction/suggestions from playmates

My daughter, adopted at 9 months, now aged 3, will completely direct our play together. She will tell me what hand to hold the dolls in, and how to hold them. She will tell me what to say, and if I have any suggestions of my own, she will tell me that I am wrong.

Disorganized or repetitive play*

My daughter, adopted at 16 months, was at first able to be quite focused and somewhat creative in her play. After a couple of months it began to deteriorate and become disorganized and repetitive. She would just dump toys off the shelves, line up objects, or open and shut things. For example, when playing with Legos, instead of building with them, she would just play with the door pieces, opening and shutting them or putting objects in and out.

Games with abandonment themes*

My daughter, adopted at 16 months, began playing "abandonment" games soon after coming home. She started by throwing her animals out of her bed, dangling them mercilessly before finally dropping them. Her favorite ones were the most likely to be thrown out or "tormented". Later she would go walking with her doll stroller with a bear in it and suddenly fling it out and keep on walking. If I spoke for the bear, begging to be taken back, she would sometimes relent and put it back in, only to fling it out again after walking a few more steps. Another game was to take lots of animals in with her into her cardboard house, but always one was excluded and would be thrown out. Another game would be to very pointedly throw an animal (usually her favorites) into the waste basket and walk away. More recently, she'll have one animal be the mommy and another be the baby and make one or the other go away or disappear. All of these games have been repeated obsessively.

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Aggression towards toys*

At 15 months, my daughter, adopted at 13 mo., was angry at me, went to her room, brought out a small cabbage patch doll, held it by its legs, and repeatedly bashed its head against the floor.

My daughter, 3 1/2, adopted at 16 months, started "strangling" and hitting her favorite bear after being home a few months. She did this obsessively, sometimes when she was clearly angry about something in the present, sometimes after waking up screaming in the night and sometimes for no apparent reason. This type of aggression has continued on and off to the present. At some point she started handing the animal to me to comfort after she hit it and after repeating this with several others, would then jump into my arms to be comforted herself. More recently she will say the animal is "bad" and then hit it and throw it away. This is usually when she is mad about something else in the present, but not always. Now she also has the animals hitting each other and fighting.

Inability to "bond" with any toy*

We worked very hard to get my daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 20 mo., to carry around a special teddy bear and use it for comfort. By 15 months of age, she wanted the bear with her. However, it doesn't matter which bear - for that matter, any stuffed toy will do. We have to watch carefully or she'll just leave them somewhere. It's as if they're interchangeable or as if any old stuffed toy will serve her purposes.

Chronic body tension

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 19 mo., was so tense even in sleep that if she was lying on the floor with her bottom in the air and I moved her to her bed, she not only wouldn't move out of that position but seemed to remain parallel to the floor! She'd been home over four months before an arm drooped a little when I moved her. Although she's been a little looser lately, the old stiffness returns if she's ill or has nightmares or a stressful day.

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, now 16 months old, was constantly tense. It seemed as if she could never relax, even when she was tired. Most babies will go kind of limp when they're tired or sleeping. She always seemed stiff. It seems like it was related to her hypervigilance. She couldn't trust any person or any situation enough to truly relax. After being home for seven months, and doing lots of therapy, she will now relax. It's so different to hold her now!

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High pain tolerance / overreaction to minor injury

Neither of my sons (adopted at ages 7.9 and 5.5) will cry. Both have gotten badly hurt: one broke his collarbone on the playground and we didn't know for almost 2 weeks. The other cracked his head on the edge of his headboard and never uttered a sound and evinced no reaction at all.

Our daughter, 3-1/2, adopted at 23 months, never has reacted to pain. She would get fairly seriously hurt, and get up and go on like nothing happened, even laughing about it. Even at her age we keep our home childproofed in every way, because she has no sense of caution and doesn't heed any warnings about potential injury.

My daughter, adopted at 8.5 months, had both chronic body tension and high pain tolerance. One of my first memories is holding her bare foot the first day in China and wondering at the very tight feeling it seemed to hold. The same was true of other areas of her body, especially her legs and back. In terms of pain tolerance, she could run into walls, pointed furniture etc. and would merely shake her head rather than cry. I recall a bee biting her thigh -- instead of crying she looked at it and said "Mommy a bee bit me" -- that was it! Her pain tolerance has decreased over time however, and while she still is not bothered by falls (always "I'm ok Mom"), she will react to something really painful, although even then her reaction is quite understated compared to your average child. I really feel that she didn't understand that "pain" was something you could complain about and be comforted. I guess that makes sense if no one is there to comfort you.

L, adopted at 20 months, was barely walking. She did catch up quickly in her physical and gross motor skills. One day, after being home for about 2 months, we were in the garden section of a home improvement store. She ran across the concrete floor, fell and skinned both knees. She stood up, blood running down her legs, grunted in disgust and came over to me. Never shed a tear!!! Little did I know then what this meant -- I was pleased that she was "so tough". Now I know that this was just the wall she'd built around herself. As we continue to reach her and attach, she has a much lower tolerance of pain.

Our daughter, adopted at 23 months will suffer a fairly severe injury and bounce away from it, seemingly unscathed, maybe even laughing about it. On the other hand, she will focus for days on some simple little slight some kid did to her, like brushing against her or accidentally running into her. She will also get "convenient phantom pains" she uses as distractions to either try to divert us from focusing on her emotions or behaviors, or to get attention when she wants to control a situation. These are not even real injuries, but she says things like, "My finger got an owie." Sometimes she will cry over these fake injuries, even though she could be bleeding from running into a table, and not even whimper.

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 19 mo., cried for so much of the day that we had difficulty determining whether or not she was really injured. Now she's showing the opposite extreme. Yesterday she ripped her forearm open on a sharp rock and no one knew she'd hurt herself until the blood was dripping from her arm. She never cried and has not indicated that there's been any pain associated with the 4-inch cut. She may scream "ow" if someone touches her lightly, but can ignore double ear infections.

Our daughter, adopted at 9 months, would react to pain, but would internalize it. If she bumped her head, she would hold it in her own hands, close her eyes, and sometimes cry softly to herself. She didn't seek us out for comfort. We've had to teach her that we will comfort her, by picking her up at times like that, kissing her owie, and making a fuss about her bump. It was as if we had to teach her how to react when she was hurt. She now will cry out when hurt (after being home for 7 months), but she still doesn't seem to take comfort from us like she should when she is in pain.

Tactilely defensive - can't tolerate light touch

My daughter, adopted at 13 mo., now 20 months, would begin raging at even such small changes as a breeze against her face, a change in temperature, or sunshine.

Prone to "autoimmune" type conditions*

My daughter, adopted at 9 months, was still on a bottle only at the time of adoption. It took me a month to get a spoon near her mouth. Once she did begin eating baby food, she had an allergic reaction to nearly every food that I gave her. After she had been home for about 6 months, she developed asthma, which got worse as time went on. She later developed idiopathic hives, which lasted for over a year. It wasn’t until she was 12 that a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) doctor tested her and made the connection between her food allergies and behavioral health. After a few years without wheat, soy, eggs, and milk, her behavioral issues disappeared, along with her allergies.

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