Is Reactive Attachment Disorder A Lifetime Sentence for Adoptees and Foster Kids?
I get ticked off when some call RAD a mental illness. And, I also get upset when all kinds of diagnoses are plopped on the heads of adoptees and foster kids. I hate it when kids who were confined to their beds by ropes in orphanages didn’t receive one bit of love from caretakers.
Most mental health providers don’t know diddly about adoption loss, which is defined . by Drs. Brodzinsky and Schecter as a loss deeper than death or divorce. https://www.amazon.com/Being-Adopted-Lifelong-Search-Anchor/dp/0385414269/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1542147412&sr=8-6&keywords=brodzinsky
There’s nothing wrong with those of us who have it, but it was wrong what we had to experience that would result in our behaviors.
Our brains were wired early for disconnection…because of our caregivers….not because something was wrong with us.
RAD in Real Time
We were separated from our initial caregivers and the caregivers we were placed with didn’t have the ability to understand our needs for touch, comfort, food, et.
I was named Baby X at birth as my mother was whisked away and I was placed in the new-fangled machine called an incubator. For ten days, I laid in that thing without human touch.
No wonder I jump when someone touches me.
No wonder I’ve had an anxiety disorder all my life.
No wonder I’m not a good sleeper.
No wonder my mother had me tested for IQ and said I was low.
No wonder, even to this day, I know no stranger. I can walk up to anyone, well almost, and begin a conversation.
No wonder I’m clumsy and can’t stand it when my fingernails grow long.
Adoptees and Foster Kids Must Remember This
But fellow adoptees and foster kids….remember this:
It’s not our fault.
What Parents Can Do
Know the symptoms:
- trouble sleeping
- lack of boundaries
- extreme dependence
- acts much younger than chronological age
- underdeveloped conscience, lack of remorse
- inappropriate responses (laughing or smiling when something is sad)
- fake, not genuine
- academic struggles
- difficulty showing affection
- aversion to physical touch
- tantrums or rages
- sensory issues or sensory processing disorder
- lack of eye contact
- incessant chatter
- not asking for help when hurt, sick or needing assistance
- socially indiscriminate
- manipulative (can be excellent at triangulating adults)
- frequent lying
- blames others for their mistakes
- physically and verbally aggressive or abusive
- mood swings
- See more: https://www.thechaosandtheclutter.com/archives/recognizing-signs-reactive-attachment-disorder
Get Help from A Reliable Source
- The late Dr. Karyn Purvis through Texas University has laid a wonderful foundation for kids like yours. They even have camps in the summertime for kids from hard beginnings.
The Bottom Line about RAD
And, in the midst of unpacking all this and sharing with you, I must remember the goodness of God, who made me fearfully and wonderfully in the womb and who planned every day of my life before any one of them came to be.
PS….we’re not mentally ill!