A sweet homeopathic remedy for adopted kids – Healing with Homeopathy
Joey, a charming seven-year-old little boy with a big smile, was adopted from an orphanage in China at eighteen months. When asked about his homeland, he exclaimed “I like China because they have fire-breathing dragons!” His eight-year-old sister was also adopted at the same time. The orphanage from which they came was clean and well-run, and Joey did not seem to have suffered any severe neglect.
A loving boy, Joey liked to kiss and hug and be cuddled. He was very tactilely-oriented and quite curious. His curiosity extended to two incidents of explorative sexuality with younger girls, where he removed their clothes to investigate. Joey enjoyed rubbing his genitals.
Quite active with good gross motor skills, Joey was a runner and a climber, a good dancer, and loved gymnastics. He wandered off impulsively whenever he felt the urge. A loud child, he often talked loudly, shrieked and yelled.
Now in the second grade, Joey wiggled and had trouble sitting in his seat and needed special assistance in the classroom. In the first grade, Joey was diagnosed with ADUD and put on Ritalin, which helped him. His fine motor skills were lacking, and he needed a fat pencil to help him not write so shakily.
Socially, Joey picked on and pushed other children and had a hard time making friends. He complained of other kids beating him up or “bugging” him, insisting he only hit or pushed them back when they did something first. Joey explained, “Jack knocked the wind out of me, so I hit him.” or “Brandon bugs me and I chase him around the room.” He and his older sister generally got along well, but, he didn’t like it when she hit or kicked him.
Joey was quite sensitive to noise, though he liked music a lot. Loud sounds like sirens scared him to death, and he often covered his ears.
This child had an intense desire for sweets and said, “I sneak candy sometimes, like ice cream or bubble gum.” In a dream, he shared: “I was in Candyland, and I kept on eating candy for supper — a whole bunch of candy.”
As a baby, Joey often curled up on his hands and knees and rocked. He had a habit of sucking his thumb and putting his fingers in his mouth. Sometimes he wet his pants during the day.
Another adopted child, Lucy, had a much more difficult start in life. She was from the deep South. Adopted at three by a relative upon being removed from her home by Children’s Protective Services due to severe abuse and neglect, she and the other children in the family were separated. Her biological mother had used amphetamines and opiates throughout the pregnancy and ended up in prison. Lucy was given drugs of some kind by her biological mother and also had been burned with a cigarette. Her biological father was also a drug abuser and diabetic. There was a possibility that Lucy had been sexually abused before the age of three.
Now nine, Lucy’s presenting problem was difficulty with social interactions at school. She interrupted and annoyed other children, hit, and sometimes spit. She fought with other kids physically and had been scolded for spitting at another child. Lucy required quite a lot of extra attention at school in order to attend to her work and not disrupt other children. At home she seemed happy with few problems, though she didn’t always tell the truth, and often lied to get out of tasks like brushing her teeth, or to avoid being in trouble. Lucy still sucked her thumb for comfort. Her health was good except for a chronically hoarse and husky voice, which was worse from talking or yelling. Lucy was strangely insensitive to pain. She hardly complained, even when she broke her arm or had an abscessed tooth.
The first year after the adoption, Lucy was very challenging. She weighed only 25 pounds as a result of the neglect she had endured. After six years, she had made considerable progress. By this time the birth mom was out of prison and had some contact with Lucy She referred to her as “a horrid child,” and Lucy was often in tears after visiting. Lucy complained, “My birth mom won’t let me talk. She keeps interrupting me!” To make matters worse, her birth mom forgot to buy her a present for her birthday.
Two years previously, Lucy had shoplifted candy. Her parents dealt with it strongly, but she still had a tendency to sneak sweets whenever she could. She wanted only to eat sweets, and liked to hide them. It was very difficult to get Lucy to eat anything without a sugary taste. Her parents attempted to limit her sweets to fruit and occasional ice cream, but Lucy would find a way to get her sugar fix. She also liked apples, bananas, oranges, dried papaya – all sweet.
Both Joey and Lucy were adopted and had experienced some parental abandonment or neglect. Although Joey’s orphanage was a good one, growing up there for his first eighteen months was by no means the same as growing up in a loving, two-parent home. Lucy’s experience of living with her drug-addicted mother while being abused and neglected was also far from a normal early childhood experience. Adopted children can suffer inadequate bonding, fear, anxiety and insecurity, malnutrition, chronic disease, fetal alcohol and drug syndromes, neurological problems, developmental, learning and speech delays, posttraumatic stress disorder, ADHD and poor social development. Adoption is a far better solution than institutionalization in most cases, but may be fraught with problems for the adoptive parents and child.
In our experience, homeopathy has been beneficial to many adopted and foster children who suffer from a wide spectrum of problems and disorders in the categories listed above, Homeopathy addresses the child as a whole, no matter what the conventional diagnoses. The pattern of symptoms that emerges to the trained eye of the practitioner determines the selection of the homeopathic medicine. In these two cases, the common features were abandonment and neglect, leading to insecurity, social problems, difficulties with school performance, thumb and finger sucking, and an inordinate desire for sweets. These issues are typically found in the picture of the homeopathic medicine they were given, Saccharum officianalis, derived from sugar cane.
Saccharum is a medicine that has great potential for helping children who do not receive enough love and nurturing in their early life, or who are subjected to abuse and neglect. The main feature of the Saccharum state is a significant nurturing deficit that the child attempts to fill with close physical contact and devouring sweets. You might think that all children like cuddling and sweets, but in Saccharum children, the craving is extreme. Problems with sugar balance, especially hypoglycemia, seems to be a significant component in these cases. These kids often need to eat frequently and hoard food, especially sugar. A trail of candy wrappers or a secret stash of goodies stuffed under the bed or in a closet often tells the story. Sweets and other carbohydrates not locked up mysteriously disappear, followed by loud denials of “Not me!” or “I didn’t take it!” when the child is accused or confronted with the evidence. Thumb and finger sucking for comfort and/or nail biting from insecurity completes the picture . One homeopathic author, J.T. Clarke gives an accurate capsule summary: “Dainty and capricious children; care nothing for substantial food, but want little ‘nick-nacks’; always cross and whining, and, if old enough, insolent and do not care to occupy themselves in any way.”
Saccharum children often have behavior problems, with irritability, oppositional and defiant behavior and tantrums. Yet they are often very sweet as well, desiring to be held and cuddled, and eager to give affection in return. These kids can be very restless, hyperactive, fidgety, impulsive and difficult to manage, which often leads them to be diagnosed with ADHD.
Children needing Saccharum can experience severe bonding and attachment issues, leading to a diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). In these more extreme cases, these children can lack the ability to connect normally with adults and other children, and may lack any sense of conscience, lying, stealing, manipulating and behaving cruelly toward animals or other children. Although Joey and Lucy could lie to get out of trouble, steal sweets and fight with other children, they did not exhibit this degree of lack of morality. In addition to Saccharum, some homeopathic medicines that might be considered for RAD are Androctonus (Scorpion), Anacardium, Hyoscyamus, Tarentula hispanica, Tuberculinum, Rattus rattus, and members of the Papaveraceae family. Other remedies that may be confused with Saccharum include Chocolate, Cina, Chamomilla, Lycopodium, Pulsatilla and Sulphur.
In Joey’s case, the homeopathic differential was between Saccharum and Tarentula. He was quite restless, impulsive, aggressive to his peers, a climber, a dancer and a runner, sneaky and sexually explorative at an early age, sensitive to noise, with a strong liking for music. All in all, a pretty good case for Tarentula. Saccharum won out because of the strong desire for affection, the over the top desire for sweets and the Candyland dream, the thumbsucking and the history of international adoption from an orphanage. Because of the spider-like characteristics and the strong sensitivity to loud noise, Theridion was a consideration.
For Lucy, the case fit Saccharum, but had a few characteristics, such as the drug exposure during pregnancy and her insensitivity to pain, that suggested that she might need a drug remedy from the Papaveraceae family.
Another important homeopathic medicine for problems arising from insufficient nurturing is Chocolate. In Chocolate, the child may have been prematurely separated, from the mother, giving rise to a great need for love, affection and contact. The child feels alone, forsaken and separated not only from the mother, but from the world. In Chocolate cases, the craving is more specifically for chocolate, rather than sweets in general, and also for red foods. These children often are very attached to their stuffed animals, and never want to grow up.
Both Joey and Lucy responded very well to Saccharum. Lucy experienced marked improvement in focussing, and exhibited much less fighting, lying and thumb sucking and experienced a greatly reduced craving for sweets. Her voice also improved. Joey became much less aggressive and hyper, though he was still a little distractible. His focus during soccer was improved, and he was able to get along well with the kids on his baseball team and in school. There were no further incidents of inappropriate sexual exploration. Joey also completely stopped sucking his thumb and fingers, and wetting his pants was a thing of the past. His sugar craving decreased quite dramatically, though he still liked candy.
As we can see, Saccharum is a medicine with great potential for children with developmental, attention and hyperactivity problems which stem from a lack of nurturing in early life, leading to an intense, compensatory craving for sweets. It may prove particularly useful in cases of adopted or foster children, children with attachment difficulties, and in cases of hypoglycemia.
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are licensed naturopathic physicians board certified in homeopathy. Their books include Ritalin-Free Kids, Rage-Free Kids Prozac Free, Homeopathic Self-Care: The Quick and Easy Guide for the Whole Family, Whole Woman Homeopathy, The Patient’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicine, and Mystics, Masters, Saints and Sages-Stories of Enlightenment. They teach and lecture internationally and practice at The Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds, Washington and Langley, Washington. For their schedule, see their website below. The doctors are currently participating in a free study funded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) researching the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment of ADHD. They treat patients by phone as well as in person and can be reached by telephone at 425-774-5599 or by fax at 425-670-0319. Their website is www.healthyhomeopathy.com.
COPYRIGHT 2003 The Townsend Letter Group
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group