We are a group of parents who have children who have been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder.
This can happen to a child for a variety of reasons. Raising these children is very challenging. We think that reading about other's challenges is very helpful and encouraging. So we created this blog so we can write things we go through without infringing upon our children's privacy. For this reason we will not use our children's names or our own. We hope you find this blog helpful

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


This is a topic that has been on my mind lately. We all know our kids have trouble with boundaries, but do we as well? Maybe this is just me. Sometimes I feel very alone in this attachment world with very little people who actually get what is going on in our lives. I do think I become too dependent on the therapists in our case involved to help us. Yes I realize they are hired help and are not there to hold our hands through child rearing of these kids. But sometimes it feels as if they are the only ones that truly understand what is going on. This was a topic my sons AT brought up to me yesterday. She allows me email access to her. Sometimes I think this is a wonderful thing but it is so easy to overstep those boundaries via email. Maybe I wish that would have never been an option. She requested email updates at first. When something happens here and it is not really a crisis, but I do want to know how to handle it or if I did the right thing I would email her. I started emailing her when we had good moments, when I was so frustrated I just wanted to throw in the towel, and when big decisions were having to be made. It seems so easy when you are in your living room behind the computer. I knew she could read it at her leisure, I did not really feel like I was bothering her, and I got my points across and told her things I felt she needed to know. But at the same time I would regret sending some of those messages later and sometimes I would end up going into her office feeling like I totally bothered her all week. In some ways it really made me feel like a failure. But still it was so easy to do again. So boundary issues, I wonder if we all have them. My son's therapist has suggested no email communication from now on unless for scheduling purposes. Phone is for emergencies only and all communication is to be done in the office face to face. I can live with that and maybe that is something that should have been done a long time ago. I will no longer have the guilt of bothering her too much, being too needy, or giving her unnecessary information. It is slightly scary to me to have no access between appointments but I do think this is what probably needs to happen. I need to figure out how to stand on my own two feet and just tell her what happened at our appointments. Maybe I will start to feel some success that way, who knows.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I Wish

This is a very personal post and very close to what many of us our struggling through I think. It is a wish list of things we would like to change in this torturous endeavor of raising a RAD child.

1. I wish I had a fix for this. If I could just find one strategy that really works I would feel complete again.
2. I wish I had solid answers as to why things are the way they are.
3. I wish I had solid recommendations that were easy to navigate and always stayed the same.
4. I wish I had complete trust in the professionals I hired to help our family. I know they are trying to help us but I feel this pull from the past all the time to be wary.
5. I wish I had a solid foundation to offer to my child without all of my own trust and fears coming into play.
6. I wish my husband and I were always a team in everything we go through on this journey.
7. I wish the hard decisions were not so hard. It sounds so easy to say "call the police if you feel your family is in danger from the rage" unless it's you making that call on your own child.
8. I wish my own past did not keep interfering into my child's life.
9. I wish I could run away from it all and never look back.
10. I wish we were happy.

Of course this is not everything we feel, but this is me right now, right at this moment. I have really struggled this week. Some would say the situation that happened was minor, but to me it was huge and retriggered every bit of trauma I have inside. Through it though I have become more in tune with how I feel deep down. I am not whole any longer. I am not at peace ever. I feel no sense of security. I feel no sense of safety anywhere. My life continues to be dissected piece by piece by one professional or the other. One works on this area, one on that. It seems all see their area as an area of dysfunction in one way or another. The problem is they only see their piece and have no idea how it feels to go to the next appointment for more dissection. How can every part of me be in dysfunction? I hear very little positives anymore. If it is said, I simply do not hear it right now. If I am this bad, how can I help my child? If I can't help my child who can? What happens to him. So much to worry about while doing all the tasks and deep healing work all at the same time. I am overwhelmed. I cannot do all of this anymore, this therapy after therapy after therapy. So I am stopping, prioritizing, and stepping back from what I can at the moment. I am working on getting stronger to be able to tolerate the big picture better so that maybe I can come back and do the work that needs to be done for my son to make some progress. Maybe when every little thing does not continue to trigger my own insecurities I will be in a better place to help him. Prioritizing means I have to take care of me first. I understand that now. Next is finding the courage and doing the marital work. It is only when I am healthier and we are finally a team that any solid work with my child can happen. Because of that I am stepping back and taking a therapy break from his therapy. This is very scary and I am praying hard this is the right decision that will not cause him more harm in the end. But knowing I cannot do it all any longer without having my own breakdown forces me to prioritize and step back. If you have to take a break I am so sure that trauma therapists such as the ones we work through with our children will understand and allow us to come back when everyone is ready. I hope at least, and I pray hard.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The RAD challange

So my friend over at the Welcome to my brain blog posted a challange last Friday.
Here is the Challenge:

10 hugs a day
10 minutes of FUN attachment-inducing games (involving touch and/or eye contact)
20 minutes of doing something fun YOUR CHILD wants to do

For seven days straight. They cannot lose any of these things - no matter what. They get it every day for a week - no matter what.

OK so I took the challange, but I didn't want to blog about it. I knew that I would not do so well. I have been getting the hugs in and one day I got some eye contact stuff. To be honest, my son does not want to do anything fun with me. He flat out told me that. He did let me watch him play video games and I have worked on a few other things. I am trying, but I am failing mostly, but every day is a new day. Today I am taking the kids to the pool, maybe I can get some bonding stuff or fun stuff done there.
Anyone else taking the challenge? Share!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I don't know what to say anymore

I don't know what to say about all of this anymore. I don't know what to do or where to turn most days. I have a fantasy of healing that I know probably will not happen. I do everything I can here and it is never enough to facilitate any real change. I allow myself the false belief that a certain behavior is over. But then it all comes back again. The reality is that this is never over and it likely never will be. My son may be able to go a few weeks without hitting someone after a week of hitting every day. I will probably always allow myself to believe that things are better, because if I don't hold on to that belief there is no reason to get up and continue trying. But I have to look at things realistically too. My son will hit me and never think twice about it. He will hurt his siblings and go about his day like it didn't happen. He will rage over a piece of paper printing off a computer and someone getting to close to it (afraid they will tear his paper). We will get knocked across the room, punched in the face, kicked in the back, bit as hard as he can, and cussed out like I never imagined from my own child. He will just continue to get bigger and I will likely get hurt one day because he is too big for me to contain any longer. My children will be traumatized and my marriage forever damaged. Life is not like we imagined it to be and is not fun. Maybe at some point I will stop trying but not yet. Right now I still have some fight left in me, but it is fading. I just know that for me to stop trying means a woman may get beat someday or a child abused by him when he is an adult and is still functioning like this. For the people in the future I will not give up. If this were just about me, well I am tired. But thankfully it is about more than just me so we continue to fight. We continue with therapy and therapeutic parenting. We continue to explore options that eventually may lead us to residential placement. We pray for a break and for something to work for us. We pray to be eligible for that service that can really help him. And some days we simply pray for our sanity and to get through one more day!!!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Birthday, mother's day and spring - OH MY

My son wheels is having a birthday soon. He will be ten. (for the record my oldest son curly will be 17 and my bil will be 30 something on that very same day) His cousin is a year younger, but they are in the same grade in a very small school. They also go to church together and of course are together after school every day as I am her babysitter. So my sister and I decided that since the actual birthday of my son was shared with two others and was on the busiest week of our year (banquets, concerts, recitals, etc all happen that week!) and her daughter's birthday was a few weeks before my son's. We would combine thier parties. So we picked a Saturday in between the two birthdays when we were all available. I got two cakes, one girly and one boyish and two sets of paper plates, two table clothes etc.
Well, a few issues.
1. DS may be turning ten and may be in the third grade and is smart as a whip when it comes to academics, but emotionally he is closer to four. His social skills stink. The kids are all nice to him because he is in a wheelchair and they laugh off his attempts to boss him around and such. However, in the three and half years he has been here, he has only been invited to one birthday party. He has never been invited on a sleepover or a play date.
2. My neice had been living in another town until March when they moved back here, so she did not have a lot of friends and it's baseball/softball season so a lot of kids are busy.
3. We did not realize the day we picked was the day before mothers day. That meant that a lot of kids were busy with family things and that would be one more trigger.

So OK, we had the party. One boy and one girl showed up. The girl was excited to play with my neice. The boy had to be coaxed out of the car by his mom. I could tell he did not want to be there, but he was a good sport once his mom had a talk with him. He did end up leaving early though for a baseball game. My teenagers went shopping on thier own (the oldest drives now) and took thier sister and thier other neice shopping with them. They got ds the things he really wanted that I would not have gotten him. Namely, toy guns. OK. One shoots little foam disks, but those will all be lost quickly. The other two just make noise. The last one was a water gun that he won't be able to operate with his one good hand.
I - being the theraputic mom that I am, had noticed he was starting to show some empathy and starting to engage in pretend play with his teddy bear. He was also starting to put clothes on it. I found a lady who makes soft dolls including custom ones for disabled children. so I got him a doll just like him. It has glasses, and his coloring and his disability and even a wheelchair. I also got it extra clothes in his favorite colors and even a jedi costume. I spent too much on it.
He opened it and shoved it aside. I figured that he did have a friend there so maybe that was it. At home he put the jedi costume on the teddy bear and also took the glasses and wheelchair from the doll and gave them to his teddy bear. He informed me he hated the doll. He only liked the plug and play video game that was also in the bag that he assumed was from dad. OK so this is when I have a non theraputic moment. I buy all gifts and put mine and dh's name on them. Dh has nothing to do with gift shopping and has not for years. So I tell ds that the doll is from dh and the game is from me. I check on him a little while later and he has the doll and the teddy bear with him, both wearing clothes now and he tells me he loves the doll, but that the game (which his is playing) "sucks", though he keeps playing it. In fact sneaks out of bed to play it. Though I am tempted to take the "sucky" game away, I figure I have already had my non-theraputic moment of the day so I ignore the suck remarks, even though he knows I don't like that word.

So we survived the party and I have leftover cake for lunch today, LOL.

On to Mother's day. He did make me something at school, but gave it to my sister who gave it to me. It's clay so I am waiting to see how long it lasts. It's in a place of honor on the coffee table. He informed me that I was not getting anything on Mothers day. I told him that was OK cause I had wonderful kids I love. So dd goes all out on mother's day. She is ten and a total mama's girl. The teen boys, well, one asked me to help him order me a shirt from a company whose shirts I love. http://www.wildolivetees.com/
But, he didn't remember until Friday. So the shirt is not here yet, but I will love it when it comes, they have very soft shirts with verses on them.
Teen son number two loves that I love Toms shoes. I didn't know they were "in" I just knew they are comfy and they give one pair of shoes away to a child a in need for every pair they sell. http://www.toms.com/ I like that idea. Anyway, he informed me that I was to choose a color and order the shoes and he would have dh move the money to my account. So I have shoes coming too. DD gave me breakfast in bed and a pretty necklace that has a heart and says mom. Dh has promised me the pictures I asked for of all four kids together, but has not managed to get them all together long enough to do the picture. LOL Anyway, in the afternoon wheels informs me that I am not his real mother. I offered to help him write a letter to his firt mom, even though we can't send it. (she passes away some years ago) He said to write and tell her that he loves her and misses her and she is the best mom ever. (she abandoned him at birth, but theraputic mom is back in control so I just empathize with him and how he must miss her)
Anyway, I am glad it's over. We still have his real birthday to contend with. And the end of the year always sends him into a downward spiral. I can tell when the teachers start talking about the end of the year and next year and summer vacation because his behavior nosedives. I am hoping that this year won't be as bad as past years, but I am afraid to get my hopes up too high. I know my friend Suburban mom also dealt with a birthday and of course mother's day this past week, so she will be writing her experiences soon. I think being honest with each other about the pain and how we can't always be "theraputic" mom, helps a lot.
With love and therapy!
Country mom.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Russian Story

As we have all heard by now of the Russian boy who was shipped back home to the orphanage after an American adoption, it is time to analyze what happened and what it means. I will not offer my opinions, just some questions to think about for you to comment on.

Was the mother abusive to send him back home alone? Did she really exhaust all efforts for treatment here for the child? Did the child have RAD and did he deserve more time here? Was the mother left with no other options, no help from the adoption agency, and no financial resources to help this boy? If that were the case does it relieve her of her responsibilities as an adoptive parent? Did she do what was best for all involved? Was a crime committed by her? What can we do to ensure this does not happen again? What needs to be in place to care for these emotionally disturbed children with attachment disorders so that families can take care of their needs? What can we as a country do to change things?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

spring break

What can I say, I am a survivor I guess. I don't know how else to put things. The days are long and the nights seem too short. The behavior is constant non-stop. There is a certain element to RAD that even the best professionals just can't understand. Medications and therapies are wonderful and are what has prevented Titan from residential treatment, but it is not a cure as we all know. I am not talking about the violent behaviors, though it does escalate easily to that still. I am talking about the fact that I can fold the laundry and have it on the couch in piles for each child. My 6 and 8 year old can put their clothes away with no arguing as they know it pleases me and only takes a few minutes. They understand the concept of the greater good, the living room looks clean again if we all do our share. Now for Titan it is an hour long battle of the wills to get his clothes in his room which ends with him knocking them on the floor first and swearing at me to get it done. For him, he knows this will displease me and that makes him happy. If I send my kids out to play one always comes in crying unless I am right there watching because either he can't take turns, does not follow the rules of the game, or ends up hitting someone. I can't even cook in the kitchen without him turning off my timer so I have no idea when things are done. If I am vaccuuming he is tripped over the cord and knocking it out of the wall. This is constant behavior all day long. He likes to play dumb like he has no idea why I am so upset and it was an "accident". These are simply not accidents and I know it. So although the violence has subsided thanks to the medications and therapy interventions, this is still a very frustrating way to parent and it seems never ending sometimes. My other kids don't understand. To his older brother it is an embarrassment. To the younger ones it is the constant push pull of wanting a brother to play with and fearing getting hurt or simply the frustration of his inability to follow the rules. Will this ever end and what does summer hold for us???