My wife and I had three sons biologically before adoption added another six. (It’s a long story…) Three of our children that we adopted have Reactive Attachment Disorder. One has been diagnosed with a mild case, the next diagnosis is moderate, and the last is severe. Anyone involved with a child who has a severe case of RAD will tell you that “severe” is an understatement and there isn’t a strong enough word to replace it. When your child has Reactive Attachment Disorder, you’re in for a RAD child journey.
I really thought we had tried everything; at least a hundred times. And once you have tried everything at least a hundred times, the kid should attach, right? Attachment isn’t a case of yes or no, though. Attachment is measured in an infinite amount of degrees. Unfortunately, if children don’t show a high level of attachment, we hear things like they “can’t attach,” “won’t attach,” “haven’t attached,” and the like. These statements allow no room for improvement, no room for hope, and no room for perhaps the most important part of the RAD child journey called Reactive Attachment Disorder: Measurement.
I was surprised just as most parents who find themselves on a RAD child journey.
Your RAD child journey probably started out with surprise. Of course, if your child was adopted, and you did your adoption homework, you read about RAD. The same goes for fostering. You may have got into your RAD journey through a blending of families with a new marriage. If that’s the case, there was no required reading and you weren’t just surprised, you got broad-sided. Even though people like me read, we got a little bit of information and downplayed it because we read the statistics. Reactive Attachment Disorder is something they write books and make movies about. They don’t write books and make movies about average people like me. Therefore, as logic went, I had nothing to worry about. So justified or not, I was surprised just as most parents who find themselves on a RAD child journey.
Another point in the RAD child journey is anger. Oh, of course the kid is angry, but what you perceive as unjustified amounts of rage, has an impact. You become angry, too. Anger leads to bitterness that can turn into apathy. If you don’t get a handle on things at that point, you could be headed into a vortex.
Disappointment plays a part in any RAD child journey. Both parents and children don’t get what they expect, through no fault of their own. This is something that needs to be dealt with and should often involve therapy (Reality Check: Not just for the kid.)
If you research the situation and consistently work toward helping your child to attach, you will see development along your RAD child journey.
Children who suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder demonstrate a rollercoaster of improvements and regression to the point of it being extremely difficult to measure. That leaves a feeling of hopelessness until parents find unconventional ways to measure progress.
One thing I can tell you, if you research the situation and consistently work toward helping your child to attach, you will see development along your RAD child journey. I can’t promise you that it will happen as quickly as you hope it will. No one can honestly tell you if your child will ever reach the level of attachment you desire. But if you consistently do your part long enough, you will see progress. That is the key. If you can see the progress along your RAD child journey, you can stick with it. If you can measure your success, no matter how slight, you can look back to where you have come from, reset goals, and carry on.
Of all the mountains our family has tried to climb, our RAD child journey has been the most difficult.
Reactive Attachment Disorder is a difficult challenge to have in your home. In fact, of all the mountains our family has tried to climb, our RAD child journey has been the most difficult. That’s alright, though. In life, we are supposed to do hard things.
I have written on Reactive Attachment Disorder before and I hope those articles have helped those who find themselves in the same situations our family has experienced. However, I have never approached this subject to the degree and breadth that I am determined to undertake now. I am committed to writing extensively and in great detail about subjects associated with RAD and my blog will show that over the next year. So, if you have ever wanted more information on your RAD child journey as associated with relationship sabotage, rejections, defenses, unfairness, betrayal, hope, progress, success and dozens of other subjects, please come back weekly. In fact, register at JohnMSimmons.com and I’ll send you reminders as the articles post.
Often, readers receive as much help from other readers in the comments section as they do from the blog article, itself. Please be generous with your thoughts and experiences in the comments section. There are lots of people who need what you have to share. This is your chance to help them.
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