Adopted Kids Are Not Predestined Killers

Dear Parents,

In this day of shootings, mass and otherwise, I want you to consider that the fearful behavior of our children from difficult beginnings is not the same as “killing others,” and we parents often conflate the two.  We do that because we are afraid.

Frankly, society has something to be afraid of.  Attachment challenged children who do not receive appropriate, therapeutic intervention, who are also met with abusive, neglectful, avoidant caregivers over the course of their childhoods can grow up to be poorly regulated adults who commit crimes against humanity, amongst which killing is one.  Prisons are indeed filled with attachment challenged criminals.  These grown-ups were children raised by biological parents, relatives, institutions, foster parents, and adoptive parents. Many were misdiagnosed early and mistreated with parenting punishments, poorly conceived mental health interventions, institutional abuse and, ultimately, criminal restraint–locked facilities, grueling treatment programs, brutal wilderness programs, and finally prison.

Foster and adopted children can be mistreated by misguided or abusing carers, as well as any other child can; therefore, an adoptive child can become a criminal, even a killer.  Foster and adopted children are not predestined; they do not start out that way, and they rarely end up that way. Some do. Most don’t.

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When your attachment challenged child lies, steals, hoards, threatens, runs away, hits, screams, and bites, treat it all with a “fix-it” ticket, not a federal indictment. These are lower brain survival skills of traumatized children. When the dysregulated, impulsive acts become better mediated by that part of your child’s brain that governs executive function, survival skills subside and positive, attachment chemistry grows.  The trick is to stay in the longterm, therapeutic parenting game with regulation, patience, and love until the new skills are accessible by your child.  This will take many years.

A big part of appropriate mental health intervention for attachment challenged children is the strengthening of health and mental wellness of the carers.  If all carers received adequate respite; if all received help for their own dysregulation and attachment wounds; most foster and adopted children would heal with therapeutic parenting and wellness practices alone.

Adopting a child does not mean you are bringing home a killer.  Don’t let fear or other people’s fear cause you to fear your child.  Your fear begets fear in your child.  Your child’s fear keeps all the positive things from coming online in the heart and brain of your child.  Felt emotional and physical safety is the key to healing.  Be the key, the emotional and physical safety your child needs to heal and grow into the person you know lives inside.

Love matters,


Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW CLASS: Advanced Regulation Skills for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings. This class is provided by Ce Eshelman, LMFT for parents of children from difficult beginnings who know the basics of therapeutic parenting and want advanced skills on creating regulation for themselves and their children at home/school.  Come dressed to actively learn. March 24, 2018   9:00am to 12pm   $20.00.  Register Here.

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on May 5 from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. March 16, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

NEW!  5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs and 8-10 yrs. groups. The 5-wk group will be $125 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  New groups will begin again on March 31, 2018.  Click here for more information.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on March 14, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.



  1. I’m posting this article everywhere I have access. It’s medicine to the world. It’s the hard reality of the world we are creating… what we are doing to ourselves as a society… a community. AND our children are the truth-tellers…as they always are. Love truly matters. Always has, still does, always will. Thanks Ce… again. Amazing article.

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