What Can Parents Do When an Adoption Goes Wrong?

Victoria continued to act out, even threatening to kill her mother.

"She was very manipulating, very sneaky, very defiant," Bean said.

A doctor diagnosed Victoria with reactive attachment disorder, but unlike Joe, Victoria, now 9, has responded well to counseling. Part of her treatment includes horse therapy.

While Victoria is making progress, there are still tough days.

"We've made connections, when she chooses to let go of the fear and to trust we have really great bonding moments," Bean said. "I love her more than I ever thought possible."

Advice for Potential Adoptive Parents

ABC News' senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser cautioned that cases like this are atypical.

"Eighty to 90 percent of adoptions remain intact and successful," Besser said, although disruption rates among special needs adoptions and older child adoptions are higher.

An adjustment period is normal after any adoption, but parents need to understand "the difference between an adjustment and a true adjustment disorder," Besser said.

When children are adopted from Eastern European countries, "there's a very high rate of children being in institutions before being adopted," Besser said.

Living in an institutional setting is a risk factor for attachment problems, growth delays and difficulties in social and cognitive development.

There is also a "high rate of mothers using alcohol during pregnancy," which can lead to problems later on.

The most important thing, Besser said, is for anyone considering adoption to do his or her homework and have realistic expectations.

"You don't want to go into adoption lightly," Besser said. "There are things that you can do."

How to Increase the Chances of a Successful Adoption:

Talk to Other Parents

Besser advised seeking advice from other adoptive parents.

Tips for Successful Adoption

Identify Community Resources

Form a support network that includes friends or a support group. The more support you are getting, the more you can give to your child. Besser also suggested looking for a pediatrician who has experience with adopted children.

"They know what's available in terms of counseling" he said, and can help guide you through difficult patches.

Learn as Much as You Can About That Child

Besser said to do everything you can to find out "what was their life like before they came to you."

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