Deb and Doug Carlsons' adopted sons have trashed bedrooms, stolen credit cards and threatened to kill them. One drew a disturbing picture of beheading the southwest Florida couple and throwing a party.So who's to blame -- plenty to go around, huh? The adoptive parents? The agencies who fail to train them? The state, who fails to offer post-adoption services?
When the Carlsons adopted the now teenage boys from foster care in 2007, they were handed a slim file with few details except the two suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. No one told the empty nesters the boys had severe mental health issues and had bounced among foster homes. Now teenagers, the boys are living in separate therapeutic group homes.
Therapists say one son needs to be in a supervised residential facility, which the state government no longer will pay for unless the Carlsons restore custody to the state.
"We love him and he's part of our family. To have to make such a difficult decision to get him the care he needs is ludicrous. It sends a horrible message to him," said 55-year-old Deb Carlson. "You really feel like once you sign on the dotted line you're on your own. You're totally abandoned by the state."
Still hoping for change
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