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Washington's Waiting Children
|Child Name:||Nickolas (Nick)|
Nickolas, or ‘Nick’ as he likes to be called, is extremely interested in computer programming, science, and math! He also has a great sense of curiosity and loves to work with his hands, tinkering, taking things apart, and reassembling them. Nick enjoys reading and learning about cars and computers. Chess is one of his favorite board games, and he has fun, too, surfing the internet and playing games on his Nintendo DS.
Nick is now in eighth grade. When sufficiently interested in subjects, such as he is in science, math and computers, he is better able to manage his attention issues. Nick has supportive services at school, which will likely need to be continued throughout his high school years. While Nick enjoys good health, he does have a congenital anomaly characterized by abnormal smallness of his left eye and has a prosthetic eye.
Legally free, Nick came into foster care in 2007. Nick's very rough childhood following his adoption early in life has left him with residual effects of past trauma, such as aggressiveness, oppositional behavior, and difficulty trusting. Multiple placements in foster care have exacerbated those issues.
Since graduating from a residential treatment program not long ago, Nick has been in a therapeutic group home where he is one of five boys. The experienced staff members are providing the stability, structure, emotional safety, and therapeutic supports that help him stay on track. Nick has been enjoying a bit more freedom and independence these days than he had previously, and he is ready to move forward into a less restrictive environment. Staff members say that Nick enjoys joking and is playful with people he trusts.
Regular counseling session continue to help Nick in developing behavioral tools and strategies to handle frustration, stress, and anger in healthy ways and to gain a better sense of cause and effect (particularly concerning how his own behavior causes unwanted results from others). He is also strengthening his boundaries and developing a better sense of the need for personal safety skills.
Among the gains that Nick has made are the following: his social skills are increasing and he has increased his positive peer relationships; he is slowly but surely becoming more able to express remorse; and he has decreased his aggressive behavior which is usually triggered by frustration and stress.
It is likely that Nick will continue to need therapeutic supports for the foreseeable future. Being willing to participate with Nick in family counseling during the transition into his new home could be an effective way for his adoptive folks to show their love and commitment to him. It would also let him know that they value using such resources to help family members deal with past hurts and make behavioral changes.
Nick needs adoptive parents who have a very good grasp of how early neglect and abuse can impact a child’s sense of safety, trust, and emotional and behavioral development. He also needs structure; a predictable daily routine, with clear rules, limits, and consistent consequences. Being willing to give him limited choices in some matters may be helpful by providing him with a sense of control in his life. Patience, a deep level of commitment, and the willingness to hang in there with this boy over the rough spots will all be important. While two parents would be great, Nick’s worker does not want to miss out on hearing from those exceptional single moms and single dads who have strong support from of family, friends, and community resources.
These are "profiles" only and are not intended to provide the detailed information that a family worker and family require in order to make a placement decision.