Friday, April 30, 2010

Random RADness

One characteristic of RAD is that the kids see no real need for parents... really... Really!

They assume that they can handle everything and they tend to leave us out of the loop.

Tonight, Bright-Eyes is fighting a cold/virus. He isn't too sick, just feels yucky. So he was laying on the couch in the living room while Mr. T and I talked in the bedroom. Suddenly we hear Middle-One racing pel-mel through the house, back and fourth, in and out of every room, ricocheting off the walls. We call to him...


He shrieks back...

"Bright-Eyes is going to puke, gotta get the trash can"

And he races by, trash can in hand.

We call back...

"WHOA!!!!!...Come here Middle"

That was met by an indignant argument...

"I've got to take this to Bright-Eyes, I TOLD you he was sick"

Mr. T grabs the trash can, heads to care for Bright-Eyes, and tells him...

"Then he needs his mom & dad, you have to tell US!"

And the argument began...

Well isn't a big brother supposed to take care of their little brothers?
(ummm... yes, by calling us)

I was just trying to help, you can't be mad at me for helping!
(and helping would have been calling us...)

and my personal fave...

"I didn't have time to call you, I had to go (across and around the house) to get a trash can"
(lets examine how long it takes to *call* us as apposed to racing through the house looking for a trash can)

He just did not see why we needed to know when he was on the job.

Too many cooks

I think we all know what happens when there are too many cooks in the kitchen.

How about too many care givers in a child's life? People say that you can't have too many people love you... but what about too many people taking care of you (a different animal entirely)

Middle-One has been without medication for TWO weeks now. Why, you ask?... well it seems that his case with his psychiatrist was closed in January. The Dr. hasn't prescribed meds since OCTOBER.

In late February I was told that the case was being closed and, since Middle was transitioning home that I could begin taking over his care. So we made an appointment with the agency we use for therapy. We completed Middle's intake on the 27th of March. DHR signed his release forms (to access the records from the other agency) on the 9th of April. I then called to get an appointment with the psychiatrist and was given an appointment on the 7th of May.

However, on the 15th of April the foster care provider told us that Middle was now out of meds. Hmmmmmm.... Ok

We called and emailed the Social Worker asking for the name of the p-doc. She shared the name with us but also said that she didn't believe that this Dr would give us a script because Middle's case had been closed. I could not imagine that a caring Dr would allow a child to go without needed medication... but Whoa!! I was wrong!! After calling this agency and being told they wouldn't/couldn't talk to me, and then calling and emailing the SW for a week and a half to gain a release so the agency could/would talk to me ...The Dr DID decide to allow the child to go without needed medication. I was then informed that she hadn't written a script for him since the fall. Even though the SW claimed that they got scripts there recently.

So TWO WEEKS trying to get meds for my kid ended in failure. Why...... well, let's not be nit picky ;p)

I called upon the agency I know and love. They would have taken care of it right away but the psychiatrist was on vacation. They got me in to see the new p-doc on Monday the 3rd of May.

I am so often reminded of the scripture passage from first Kings about the two women and the child. The king was going to cut the child in two and give each woman a half. One woman said to go ahead, that way the child would not be hers or the other's. The other woman (the mother) pleaded for him to please not harm the child... just give him to the other woman but leave him whole.

I would walk on hot coals to help and provide for my kids. There is no bigger force than a loving mom.

Only one cook needed in this kitchen. The others are spoiling the soup!!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I mentioned, in a previous post, that AT discussed with us, the records from the treatment facility.

This answered questions and raised some new ones (and again these will be addressed in another post), but it brought up a very important question that could not be ignored.

The facility therapist had begun doing a form of Attachment Therapy with Middle. She didn't have us participating, so she had no "attachment figure" but still began with the traditional work on birth-story, feelings and timeline. At some point during this work she made th dismal prognosis that middle was much too damaged to ever be able to attach to any family. He has no foundation on which to build. (somehow she got from that point to supporting a foster home placement with a single mom and younger children... but I digress)

At the end of our last therapy session our AT (who is always hopeful for healing in any child) told us that given the time we had before reunification, she did not feel that Middle would be ready to be in our home and she didn't know when he would be. Then she asked...

"What do you want to do?"

I truly had to ask what she meant because as I stated earlier I had not eaten any protien and was much like Larry's brother Larry at the moment.

AT clarified that we needed to decide if..

A) We were moving forward
B) We were ok with Middle coming home
C) What we would do if he wasn't sucessful


I don't know...

I told her ...

A) We had no choice.. the current was driving us and there was no turning back... besides. That would give everyone ZERO chance and success.
B) See answer "A"
C) ...... I don't know...

Should we even let our minds go to the possibility of failure? What would failure look like now? What would he have to do? Destroy some furniture? Burn the house down? Try to kill someone?... I have to admit that those things seem and sound so unbelievable now. But they were reality once. Do I put that behind us and wax hopeful? Do I shut the door?

.....I don't know.

And what if Middle should succeed but it pushes Bright-Eyes into total disregulation?

.....I don't know.
I have tried to seek the Lord on this and I guess I am not very sheep-like right now because I don't hear HIS voice.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Visit six

Our visit began after Attachment therapy appointment 4.

Since Middle had gotten suspended and gotten into trouble we decided that the visit would be fun-free.

On Friday he wrote his sentences.

On Satuday he did yard work and wrote letter of apology to his teacher and his FCP.

On Sunday we went to church, bought pencils to give his teacher to make restitution for breaking pencils (he just did not get this one) and then Middle did more chores.

He pretty much took care of all debts owed.

And he lived through a video game free weekend... who'd have thunk ;o)

A peek into Attachment Therapy - Appointment 4

This one was difficult ... Middle-One had just gotten suspended from school that morning, Bright-Eyes is spiraling down and was despondant and depressed and I didn't have protien for breakfast so had a blood-sugar fog. I don't think any of us were focussed.

We arrived at the school to pick Middle up, early. I had a conference scheduled with his teacher.

The first thing teacher said to me is...

"Middle has been sent home for the day due to behavior"

Hmmmm... and I thought he was doing so well :o)

Seems the Middle has been attempting to access porn on school computers and then denying.

He has also been arguing, being oppositional and posturing aggressively... let me share why this last behavior is amusing to me. Middle is a tiny, thin, pre-pubescent 14 y/o and teacher is an x-army, body building hulk with a neck thicker than my excessive waist. The child truly has to have no cause and effect, thinking he can stand off against this mountain of a man.

Looking to the positive, Teacher also shared with me how Middle was so smart because he was able to recite the school's code of conduct and his own IEP agaisnt the teacher while he attempted to drag Middle's scrawny butt to the office. .... that's my boy!!!

Poor teacher... then he had to sit there while I went through my list of questions. Oh and did I mention that this was the Teacher's first morning back after having recieved a compound fracture to his leg... Rough morning.

After the conference we headed to the FCP's home to pick Middle up. It turned out that FCP wasn't too happy with us because Mr. T didn't have his phone on and she had been trying to call him since she learned of Middle's suspension. I did have my phone on and with me... Just let that info fly in the wind for a while ;o)

Picked Middle up. FCP was assigning sentences for him to write over the weekend and getting an earful of defense in exchange.

Finally, we were off to therapy.

Before the boys we had "Family" therapy, which is the AT, Mr. T and I discussing everything to do with the boys and their most recent issues. We discussed the downward spiral of Bright-Eyes, the behavior of Middle .. and what seeing that behavior might mean for us in our home. This week AT had gotten all of the records form the treatment facility so we were also able to discuss those. .... She went through every phase of treatment at the facility. She knew that we had questions about the change toward us and the divisive attitude of the staff. The records revealed a lot. (that's for another post)

Bright-Eye's session was first...

He began it in an oppositional manner by refusing to remove his shoes right or sit correctly. He sat there through the entire session just zoned out. No eye contact no real answers and no cooperation. Bright-Eyes is normally very cooperative in therapy.

AT had him lay across our laps and he didn't want to.

AT talked to him about his behavior and fears and he didn't want to talk.

AT got him to admit that he needed to work his goals and she had him tell us what his goals were (ask and listen) and that was it.

He said "I don't know" a lot...

AT dismissed him and after he left told us that he is presenting as depressed. *sigh*

Middle-One's turn...

He didn't want to cooperate either. He was just angry.

The entire session was centered around the incident in school that morning. AT listened and allowed Middle to go on and on and on and on...... about it. I was ready to bang my head into a wall. It's a good thing I trust her because I really wondered what she was doing but I waited... she managed to bring it all back to show Middle that he was responsible. He did not want to see that though. More cause & effect in your face.

AT talked about the anger Middle had. She related it to the anger that kept him from joining his family. She walked him through his decision to get better and join his family again. Then Middle was released from our presence.

We called Ebear in just to help him to see how he wasn't helping in some earlier waiting-room behavior. The first thing he did was sit between Mr. T and I and lay his head in my lap. LOL... I love a healthy kid!!!

We went home to begin visit # 6

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Bright-Eyes ran away today.

It was the third time since Middle-One began transitioning home.

The first two times were when Mr. T was home and he was able to go after him and bring him back.. Mr. T was working today and I didn't want to call him... I could handle this. We need for him to work and he needs to know that he doesn't have to give up his job and stand guard over the kids again... we are NOT going back to that EVER!!

Middle will be coming home this evening with Mr. T. Obviously it was the foremost thing on Bright-Eye's mind and he could think of, or focus on, nothing else. His stress built up to unbearable and before I knew it he was out the door and down the street.

In a southern rural area, with stray dogs and a few registered sexual offenders, I couldn't let him get too far. Ebear and I grabbed our shoes and hit the road. Ebear on foot and me in the van.

It took us a few minutes to find him and I was wondering if he had taken an off-road route, but he was seen and pointed out by a passing elderly lady. I managed to get him to slow down at a church parking lot but he wouldn't actually stop and refused to talk. He was beyond caring about anything or anyone, he was 100% in flight mode.

He took off down a lonely, narrow, curvy highway. His brother followed to try to talk to him to try to keep him safe... I put on my hazard lights and followed as best I could.

I know I should have felt fear, concern and worry. I should have felt sad for the damage that led to this and caused this child to feel so anxious... but I didn't. In that moment, I was MAD beyond MAD!

So angry at this constant behavior. So infuriated at having to deal with this in not only one or two of my children, but ALL THREE!!! I started out mad at Bright-Eyes... at his lack of remorse or compassion. Mad at his impulsiveness and his lack of trust. Mad at his desperation to escape a home where there was no impending danger... just fear. So so mad at his 11 y/o, anxiety induced, selfishness.

I headed down the highway...

I began asking God why my children did this and why I could do nothing to stop them. I am a good (read WONDERFUL) mom. I treasure my kids. I would protect them with my life. I had researched and learned about their needs and made huge accommodations to meet hem where they are. I work so hard at balancing discipline and blessings... I take parenting seriously. But I adopted children who were hurt and then adopted a baby who got hurt in this chaos of dysfunction.

I passed them with windows down and tried to persuade Bright-Eyes to get in... he refused, a car approached and I moved on...

Then I was (again) so deeply sorry for allowing the hurt, which led to the fear, which led to the behavior... I cried out to God "I'm sorry!!!!!!!"... and then the truth began to explode out like vomit...

I went farther down the highway, realizing again how narrow the road is and how few places there are to pull over or turn around...

"WHY????... Why did you open the doors for these adoptions whey you knew the outcome... we asked you to close the door if it wasn't your will??????"

I circled back to stay close to my boys...

"WHY??? why has this one not healed and this one not trusted....... WHY is this still happening???"

I got caught close to a ditch and couldn't turn around....

"I don't know what to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I inched out of the situation and headed back again...

"LORD!!!!!! I can't fix this and I don't know what to do.........."

I slowed as I passed again but he wouldn't even look at me...

"I'm so ANGRY............. I'm so angry....... at YOU!!!!!!!!!!!...... I'm mad at you!!!!!!!!"

I screamed at God, pounded the steering wheel and hoped HE was big enough to face my anger...

"WHY... what good can possibly come from this?"

I circled back again.. the boys were getting to an area of highway where there is no room to walk... I was getting desperate..

"What did I ever do to deserve this... I CAN'T protect them!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I circled back... I thought that maybe I was making this about me a little too much...

"You are the only one who can protect them right now... PLEASE keep them safe"

I watched a truck whip around the narrow mountain curve that I knew hid my children from my sight...

"keep them safe!!!"

It was more a demand than request...I sobbed... and circled back again...

I saw that they were safe and past the danger... I went on and parked in the driveway of an old country church and cried.

I went back and forth for over and hour... finally the boys got far enough that they met me at that church and Bright-Eyes was tired enough or far enough from home or relaxed enough to choose to get in the van... He apologized and added his tears to mine.

We went to the park. My anger was gone as soon as he leaned against me and cried and said

"Mommy, I'm sorry... I'm so sorry"

An apology goes a long way. Remorse shown goes a VERY long way. Any sign of health in this child softens me and brings my nurture out.

We sat and talked a long time... my words were the therapeutic words he needed and we processed all of his feelings and thoughts.

School and chore time is gone and I think that any hope of productivity today is blown, like a dandelion in the wind.

Recover and move on... it is our battle cry.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So what's the problem?

That was the question asked of me by the state advocacy counselor after I shared some of the neglect issues concerning Middle-One.

Hmmmmmm... well, the problem might be that you are a college intern and have NO IDEA what it's like to be Mama Bear to an emotionally disturbed, mentally disabled, border line MR child who has had his needs overlooked and ignored for a year!!!!

You might have overlooked the word *ADVOCACY* in the title of the organization because it suggests that you will ADVOCATE!!!!

Maybe the problem is that there are so many extreme issues to deal with that medical neglect and disrespect of confidentiality are not even comparable so we drop the bar and let the kids who are ok and surviving fall through the cracks.

Maybe the problem is that as soon as you heard the phrase "foster care" your tone changed and you began asking questions instead of listening, even after I explained that we did have our parental rights and we had placed him voluntarily and we were involved and participating in his care.

The problem could be the accusation in your voice when you asked

"How would you know this"

When I explained that our child with sensory issues who chews on any object and needs regular dental care has not been seen in a year.

How would I KNOW?

Because I am his mother.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Random RADness

Last week we got an unexpected call from Middle-One, from a different number than usual....


"Ugh, who is this?"

"Hello?... Middle?"

"Hey mommy"

"What are you doing Middle?"

"Supposed to be cleaning up a mess"

"Ok, What mess?"

"Oh just a mess I made that I'm supposed to be cleaning up."

"Where are you?"

"Oh, I'm here at Gran's house" (FCP's mom's)

(Just then a surprised but obviously aggravated voice came from the background...)


(I'm thinking he's doing all he can to keep from doing what you want him to do ;o)

I did my part in telling him to do the right thing.

So much for "stress free"

We took a visiting break this weekend. We hoped to get caught up on school work, house work... maybe even get some clutter cleared out so we can readjust the boys rooms for middle's return.

We have done nothing... including sleep. I haven't been able to sleep for two nights. Why? Because I feel so stressed I can barely breath. Mr. T is having trouble sleeping too and admits to feeling anxious. Bright-Eyes has also been edgy and it was for him that we decided to forgo the visit. Oh well.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

and don't judge me because you're clueless!!

Friday, April 09, 2010

A peek into Attachment Therapy - Appointment 3

This session began with a surprise. The DHR SW showed up at our session to sign all of the release forms.. a good thing but another reminder that Middle-One is not in our custody and we are not in charge.

An even stronger reminder when the SW sits in the presence of your entire family and berates your child for the unkempt appearance of his hair...... ummmmmmm EXCUSE ME!!!!!!!!

I find it unpleasant to sit and watch someone else "parent" my child. In fact, it's offensive. I remind myself that she doesn't have children and therefore doesn't know what it's like to sit in my seat.

After SW left we were able to begin... The usual; Middle came in and took off his shoes to reveal that he did not wear socks today. We all had to discuss that choice and I ended up telling him that I would bring some really cute socks for him next week if he should forget again. (hehehe)

We assumed the position... Mr. T on the left of the couch, me on the right and Middle laying across our laps with his head resting on a pillow. This gives me the opportunity to hold him and make eye contact without him being able to avoid me too much.

We began again with his birth story... always with the birth story. The more it is discussed the less powerful. secretive and mysterious it can be in the mind of the adoptee... so we discuss it again and again.

AT went to discussing the mad feeling that Middle had revealed at the last appointment. He had said the reason he did all the things he did was because he was mad. She began walking him through his emotions from pre-birth. He asked him... Sad,Mad, Scared or Glad for every stage; birth, placement one, placement two... etc. They were mostly mad, except when he threw in a "glad" when it was obviously not a "glad", just to mix things up.

Middle kept trying to divert to other subjects. He got to getting in trouble at school and being bullied. AT grabbed her notebook and expertly (I mean she is impressive) and routed him right back to the mad feelings. She asked him how things happened when the kids at school were messing with him. As he told her she created a chain analysis (A chart used to promote cause & effect thinking). She tracked out everything that happened to create the incident and then asked him why he got in trouble at school...

"I don't know"

"You can't say I don't know"

"But I really don't know"

"What did you do?"

"Nothing, it was because they keep messin with me"

"And what do you do when they mess with you?"

"Get mad"

"And what do you do when you get mad"

"Yell at them"

"And then what happens?"

"I get in trouble"

"So, Middle, (she uses her pencil to point to the correct box on the chart) what did *YOU* do to get in trouble"

"NOTHING! Those kids got me in trouble by messin with me"

We went through this a few times, each time the AT worded it a little differently, explaining how his choice of response was getting him in trouble and helping him realize there were other choices... but each time he just couldn't make the connection to his choice... hopefully one day he will.

AT turned it all back to the beginning of his life and talked to him about being a baby and being mad. She went through each placement and explained how as a baby, he was born only knowing his birth mom. He knew her sound and smell and feel. It is natural that he would expect her to be there and would look for her. AT explained how at each place he went to he looked for his birth mom and how this made him feel. Using the emotions he had given her earlier she brought him up into the present explaining that he is STILL a mad baby inside and is still looking for his birth mom ad that's why he doesn't want to let me be his mom.

We were surprise when Middle got emotional. He began to go on about school but then talked about his foster home and how difficult it is for him to be told one thing there and another at our house. He also said he just wanted to be with us... then he said he just wanted to live in a facility... this went back and forth but the one one consistency was that he did NOT want to be at the foster home. He curled into me and cried and I held him and wiped away his tears... this NEVER happened the first time he went through therapy and we all wondered if it is maturity, healing or the proximity of not being with us on a daily basis that makes us feel "safer" to trust... time will tell.

AT went on to help Middle-One see that while he has trouble at school and at his foster placement, he has not ever, once talked to us about this. He doesn't share any information with us. She explained that if he really wanted help that he needed to tell mid mom and dad. If he didn't tell us we couldn't help him.

The discussion turned to his goals... Asking and Listening. The two hardest things for a child with RAD. But the most important. He needs to ask.. and (really) listen.

After the session we enjoyed family time on the side of the interstate while Mr. T. changed a flat tire. Then we went to grab something to eat and took Middle back to his foster home. No visit this weekend. We are trying to catch up on some things and giving the other boys a stress free break.

Next week is a session for both Middle and Bright-Eyes, and a weekend visit. Can't wait!... can you?


Someone posed a question on a Christian, homeschooling, forum that I am a member of. She simply asked what we thought of this story
... I think all who know me would have no doubt that I would have some thoughts on the subject. Here they are, in expanded version...

I'm thinking that Russia needs to wake up, take some responsibility and quit lying about the emotional disabilities of these children. Honestly, what do they expect.

I think they should also start offering some help... but then that takes money.

I'm thinking that it's beyond tragic that there are no real services available to families who adopt internationally and find themselves home with a child who is damaged. Therapy and residential treatment are often not covered by insurance and many families have no help.

I'm wondering what that mom's life was like... both with her child and with her community. Was she judged? Was she supported? Was she accused? Was she helped?

I'm thinking that is SO MUCH of this story not told in the article.

I'm thinking that the adoption process is a long, exhausting, expensive road and this woman spent a year or more of her life preparing to be this little boy's mother. She had dreams and hopes and she is also heartbroken.

I'm thinking that she was also finger-printed, interviewed, checked and checked again and was found to be a trustworthy and competent parent.

I'm thinking that I know this child. I would recognize the dark look in his eyes and the behavior that cries LOVE ME!!/DON'T LOVE ME!!!. I'm so deeply heart-wretchedly sad, for that child because . I understand him because I held a child just like him today in therapy. I know in his heart of hearts he yearns to be loved but he is soooooooooooo scared because rejection is like death and while he might have made it impossible for his mom to love him, he now has been rejected again.

I'm thinking that this might have been his last chance, but I hope not. I hope and pray that the God who knows the plans HE has for us, plans to give us hope and a future, to prosper us and not to harm us, will redeem this precious little life and give him a chance to love and be loved. It won't be easy, but he is a God of miracles and HE is able to do all thing.

I'm thinking...What a horrible tragedy. There were probably so many things that could have changed the outcome, so many turns in this road that could have followed a different path. I wonder why it happened.

I also think that I am blessed beyond blessed to have the support services that I have (due to domestic foster-care adoption) because that could me you just read about.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Frustrations and injustices

There are so many things I find frustrating about being my kids' mom. Very little of which has anything to do with my kids. I love my kids and have worked hard to understand them and why they do the things they do. I consider parenting a verb and I take it seriously... so it has been difficult to be in the position of being the mom in a world of experts professionals and general powers-that-be, who pass in and out of my child's life.

So I thought I would attempt to list these annoyances... and I will just add to the list as time goes by... this way I don't have to hold onto it and maybe I can let it go... maybe...

*The well-known, reputable psychiatrist, saying, about our pre-school aged aggressive RADish (when we explained that he wasn't actually "explosive" in a Ross Greene sort of way, as was assumed, but rather seemed to have a simmering anger all the time) "Well what does he have to be angry about?"

*The RTC therapist who spent three years telling us that Middle couldn't/shouldn't come home and not doing ANY family therapy, only to flip as soon as payment ended and say that he is fine and can step down to a least restrictive setting and should do great in a foster home with a single mom and two younger children.

*The same RTC therapist who after being told of our concerns about placing Middle with a single woman and no "father figure" said "Well, it depends on the strength of the mom"... really?... Really???

*The SW who refers to her clients as all "her" kids and insists that she knows my son because he talks to her.

*The foster parent who REFUSES to meet with his therapist and learn about his disorder or answer any of our questions or requests... of feed him well... or take him to medical appointments...or show up on time...or work with us in any way

*The attorney who insist that he knows how I feel because he too is a parent (Really????) and refuses to allow me to finish a sentence because he knows what I'm going to say and talks to me like I'm four

*The judge (who is actually a good judge) that refused to give us access to view video tape of the illegal restraint on Middle even though the staff worker was let go.

*The school that refuses to inform us of anything directly, even though the legally should.

*The school secretary who treats Mr. T like a criminal when he checks Middle-One out of school

*The foster parent who wants so desperately to be perceived and doing a good job, that she downplays behavior and doesn't tell

*The fact that my child has gone without meds because prescriptions were not filled and has gone without glasses for 6 months while I have been able and willing to care for him but not told about his needs.

*Being told that the PTB want to make sure that Mr. T and I know how to "parent our special needs child" and then watching everyone in his life berate him, punish him and NEGLECT HIM!!!!!!!

*Being told (while discussing the level of behavior it would take for Middle to leave our home again) that Middle is just Middle and I can't be nick-picky about behaviors.

*Being told that no one will encourage, assist or supervise phone calls to teach life skills and support family connectiveness because he is 14 years old (and I guess should just know how to do that even without access to a phone), but then having someone pack his backpack for visits because they assume he can't do that for himself ?!?!?!?!?!

*Having other people make decisions about my child that should be ours to make.

*The treatment facility staff who felt it was ok to take my child to church, shopping and out to eat in a one on one setting... especially the young female worker who thought I was crazy for suggesting that it might not be wise to take my pre-adolescent boy child *ALONE* out to dinner at night to a nice restaurant to learn social skills.

*Having people assume that because we sought help and an out of home placement that we don't want to be our child's family.

*The treatment facility therapist who said good-bye to Middle by asking him who is favorite therapist was (He responded "You?") and then telling him to always remember who his favorite therapist is (that ought to have prepared him to move on)

*The therapist who decided that phone calls and visits had to be supervised because we didn't agree with the choice to place in foster care

*The workers who bought into Middle's tears when he got mad at not being able to keep us on the phone while he listed doing things we had told him not to do

*The foster parent who plans out-of-town trips, with no warning, and then expects us to adjust around her plans and outside of the agreed upon plan

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Random RADness

After Mr. T picked up Middle-One for the visit, Middle asked Mr. T if he knew what a "Lineup" was? Mr T responded that it is when the police line up prisoners for identification. Middle went on to ask Mr. T if he was going to give him a hair cut this weekend.

Mr. T reminded him that it was his birthday and Easter after all, and he had other plans for the weekend.

Not another word was said.

After Mr. T dropped Middle off on Sunday, and was on the way home, the foster care provider called...

"Mr. T, I took Middle-One to get a hair cut on Friday but he refused. He said he didn't need a haircut because you were going to do it over the weekend. He told everyone that you did the best "Lineup" and it was a lot better than he could get anywhere else. I just wanted you to know I tried"


Someone is going to have some ratty hair for while.

Visit five

This visit did not begin with a therapy appointment. It was Good Friday and the AT needed to cancel the appointment.

In the hopes that it would help Bright-Eyes to relax a little, we decided to pick Middle-One up on Saturday morning instead of Friday afternoon and just have an overnight visit.

Saturday; Mr. T. and Bright-Eyes drove over to get Middle and bring him home. On they way home they stopped to pick up Mr. T's birthday cake (His was the last in the birthday marathon, Whew!).

All was well until the magical crossing of the threshold. The very instant Bright-Eyes feet crossed into our home, he became a frantic, anxious, loud, hyper mess of nerves (for those of you above the Mason-Dixon line, a "mess" is southern for a "bunch of"). Middle seemed rather calm and laid back... almost lethargic. He went on about his business and did basically nothing to provoke this high anxiety reaction. It was all PTS and no amount of talking and reasoning worked to calm him down. Bright-Eyes *knew* he was feeling anxious and he *knew* it was based on past experiences and the fear of what might happen, but fear is unreasonable and he was powerless to change his feelings. So we reviewed relaxation techniques and went on.

The boys did play together under watchful supervision. I prepared Mr. T's Chicken Tertrazzini birthday dinner. We all gathered and feasted... the boys ate THREE helpings a piece!

We celebrated Mr. T's birthday with cake and ice cream later in the evening. About two bites into the cake Middle announced that his throat hurt. He got a shower and spent the rest of the visit on the couch.

Around 4:30 AM I woke to the sound of "mooommmy".... "mooooommmmy"......"mooooommmmmy.. being whispered really loud. I opened my eyes to see Middle silhouetted in the doorway whispering across the room at me. This was startling for a couple of reasons...

1) the only other time that Middle had EVER deliberately woken me during the night was a completely psychotic and nightmarish event when he was 6 years old.

2) Middle doesn't usually seek help or comfort.

I sat up and asked (probably a little too quickly)

"What is it sweety?"

"I don't feel good... my throat hurts and my head hurts"

I got out of bed and cared for my middle child and he let me. (Please take a moment here for this to truly register)....... I was able to take his temperature, give him Ibuprofen, spray his throat with sore throat spray (and FYI, that is the official name of the stuff... I checked ;o) ), escort him back to bed and even pray over him.

As I got back into bed I relished in that full on mom-moment for a second and then wondered just how long it would be before I saw payback :o)

Easter morning found Middle still sick and he and I stayed home from church. Mr. T. and the other two went off to the morning service.

Middle-One laid on the couch all day. This made for a very easy visit. I brought him Ibuprofen every few hours and encouraged him to drink liquids and eat what he could. He watched TV.

I was going beautifully until I decided it was time for him to get ready to go back and told him to go get dressed.

"I'm just going to wear this"

Middle gestured to his gym shorts and T-shirt that he had slept in and laid around in all day.

I knew I should have said "ok"... I do know better than to step into that ring... but I ignored my acquired wisdom and opened my mouth... the words that spilled out sounded something like

"uhhh... No, you're not, go change"

*hanging my head in shame*

Yes, I know, it doesn't sound a bit like Love & Logic or Nancy Thomas or even Heather Forbes. But there it was, a pile of words laying out there for all to see and there was no taking them back.

The power struggled ensued.

I did win by the way, but it didn't end easily or quickly.

I think I need to spend this week role-playing and brushing up on my nurturing and empathetic words... any volunteers?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

RAD 101

This is my contribution to Brenda's (Living With RAD) cry for more basic information. I humbly hope that it helps...

What is RAD?

RAD is an acronym for Reactive Attachment Disorder, or Attachment Disorder. It is caused by the lack of attachment or unhealthy attachment in a child.

What are the symptoms of R/AD?

According to the DSM-IV-TR the diagnostic criteria for 313.89 Reactive Attachment Disorder of Infancy or Early Childhood, is;

A. Markedly disturbed and developmentally inappropriate social relatedness
in most contexts, beginning before age 5 years, as evidenced by either (1)
(1) persistent failure to initiate or respond in a
appropriate fashion to most social interactions, as manifest
by excessively
inhibited, hypervigilant, or highly ambivalent and
contradictory responses
(e.g., the child may respond to caregivers with a
mixture of approach,
avoidance, and resistance to comforting, or may exhibit
frozen watchfulness)
(2) diffuse attachments as manifest by indiscriminate
sociability with
marked inability to exhibit appropriate selective
attachments (e.g., excessive
familiarity with relative strangers or lack of
selectivity in choice of
attachment figures)

B. The disturbance in
Criterion A is not accounted
for solely by developmental delay (as in Mental
Retardation) and does not meet
criteria for a Pervasive Developmental

C. Pathogenic care as
evidenced by at least one of the
(1) persistent disregard of the
child's basic emotional needs
for comfort, stimulation, and affection
persistent disregard of the
child's basic physical needs
(3) repeated
changes of primary caregiver
that prevent formation of stable attachments (e.g.,
frequent changes in
foster care)

D. There is a presumption that the care
in Criterion C
is responsible for the disturbed behavior in Criterion A (e.g.,
disturbances in Criterion A began following the pathogenic care in Criterion

Specify type:

Inhibited Type: if Criterion A1
in the clinical presentation
Disinhibited Type: if
Criterion A2 predominates
in the clinical presentation

These official criteria translate into the unofficial symptoms that families of RAD kids live with. These two do not negate one another, they are the same... really.

Commonly recognized symptoms are (from the excellent web site;

Symptoms of RAD in Children

Superficially charming and engaging,
particularly around strangers or those who they feel they can manipulate
Indiscriminate affection, often to strangers; but not affectionate on
parent’s terms
Problems making eye contact, except when angry or lying
severe need to control everything and everyone; worsens as the child
gets older
Hyperactive, yet lazy in performing tasks
Argumentative, often over silly or insignificant things
tantrums or rage, often over trivial issues
Demanding or clingy, often
inappropriate times
Trouble understanding cause and effect
Lacks morals, values, and spiritual faith
Little or
no empathy;
often have not developed a conscience
Cruelty to animals
Lying for no
apparent reason
False allegations of abuse
Destructive to property or
Constant chatter;
nonsense questions
Abnormal speech
patterns; uninterested in learning
communication skills
Developmental /
Learning delays
with fire, blood and gore, weapons, evil; will
usually make the bad choice
Problems with food; either hoarding it or
refusing to eat
with details, but ignoring the main issues
or no long term friends;
tend to be loners
Attitude of entitlement and
things without permission even if he could have had
them by asking
Triangulation of adults; pitting one against the other
behind the eyes when raging

Is there hope and healing for R/AD?

When were were attending our foster/adoption classes we were asked what we could handle in terms of special needs. The form listed everything out... physical, mental, emotional and learning disorders. The ONE that we absolutely, emphatically, without a doubt, said "NO" to, was RAD. The one we ended up dealing with, in all of our children, in one form or another was RAD... the ONE and only one that can be healed and overcome completely is RAD. Do not be afraid. There is hope.

Our oldest son is healing and doing great. He is an absolute joy to be with much of the time. There was a time when we wouldn't have believed it was possible.

How do I parent my child with R/AD?

Very carefully!!!! LOL

Parenting a RADish is completely different and upside down compared to parenting a bonded and functional child. The parenting techniques are going to be different than those of your friends and family and will bring your parenting into judgement. Be ready. Suit up in your toughest rhino suit and let the arrows fall to the ground. The parenting and the nurturing is what will bring about the healing. Keep your eye on the goal and ignore the nay-sayers.

These are the parenting tips and techniques, given to us by our AT (Attachment Therapist) that we (try to) use...

Ineffective Discipline
(These are the more traditional parenting techniques that work beautifully
with healthy children and not so much with RAD kids)

Time outs

Avoid Control battles, Win the battles you chose to take
on. Pick and choose carefully

Effective Discipline
(These are the less than traditional methods that work better for RAD

Natural and Logical consequences
Control the battles you wage
Give choices when appropriate
Praise /Accountability
Reduced Anger
Humor and
One Minute Scold

Parenting skills

1) Joining in
2) Paradox (reverse psychology)
3) Natural and Logical Consequences
4) Prescribe
5) Flexible
6) Less talk
7) More action
8) Pick
your battles
9) Inconsistent consistencies
10) Restitution and apologies
11) Nurture ***** Especially nurture after confrontation.

skills are used to move the child forward developmentally. They generate
thinking and sequencing which changes brain functions and creates cause and
effect thinking!

Only work on 3-5 things at a time. Ex. Stealing,
aggression, and sexual behaviors. If you try to change 80 behaviors and you only
change 10 you are still losing the fight. If you focus on only 3-5 battles and
you win them all, then you are winning.

Most of these children are stuck
at the age of trauma. Often prior to age two, this means that they have no cause
and effect thinking. Therefore, you must direct a child as if they are the
developmental age that they are. For example, you would tell a 2 year to go pick
something up if they spilled or dropped it and you would watch or help them if

Use restitution as much as possible to kick start cause and
effect thinking. (tasks, fines, etc. ) Always have them apologize for
inappropriate behaviors even if they do not mean it.

How do I find help for my child with R/AD

10 years ago, when my husband and I were beginning the search for help, it was rare and expensive. There was not a single Attachment Therapist in our state. Thankfully attachment therapy is becoming a more widely accepted and used model of therapy. Some family therapist are even including attachment based family therapy in their offerings.

There are therapists, clinics and Attachment and Bonding centers all over the US now (I don't know beyond those borders)

To find an attachment therapist you can look through the online directories.

Find those that are in your area or closest to you and begin calling. These are only the clinicians who have taken the time to register. Many many more are not listed in these directories. Our own AT is not in the directories. She has a waiting list from word-of-mouth alone. So call and ask and ask and call.

You can also call your state and county mental health office.
Department of Human Resources or Child Protective Services
Children's Hospitals
Just call every counselor/therapist/child psychologist and psychiatrist that you can find in the yellow pages.

There is help and hope.

What is Attachment Therapy and what's the difference?

Attachment therapy is a model that focuses on the bonding and attaching of the client to
their family. It is truthful, respectful and hard work.

What Attachment Therapy is *not*...

Attachment therapy is not play therapy or talk/cognitive therapy. It does not have a goal of creating a trust relationship with the therapist. It is not client driven. That means the therapist is not going to begin a session by asking what the child wants to talk about and work on, they are more likely going to tell the child that they have an issue to work on then lay it out on the table and give them tools to work. It is not private between counselor and client. It includes rather than excludes, the parents/family. It does not walk softly, instead it is open, honest and direct.

It is also not "rage" therapy, "rebirthing" therapy or "restraining" therapy.

Attachment therapy does not harm children or kill them, it gives them life.

I feel a strongly about the subject ;o)

What if my child displays the symptoms but is not diagnosed with RAD?

A child can have Attachment Disorder and not be diagnosed. Just like a child can have the flu and not be diagnosed. The lack of diagnoses does not make the disorder non-existent. Just because there is not official diagnoses does not mean that they don't have Attachment Disorder.

RAD is the disorder or extreme end of the spectrum of attachment. If the left side of the curve is a healthy, bonded, functional child and the far right side (no political references intended)
is severe RAD, that leaves everything else in the middle. So even a child who does not have
the disorder, might have attachment issues that would benefit from Attachment Therapy.

On the other hand a child might have another disorder that shares the same symptoms. This is why seeking psychiatric help early, and from a Dr who is familiar with RAD, Pediatric Bipolar, ADHD, FASD etc., is so important.

Why does diagnoses make a difference?

Because treatment is driven by diagnoses not behavior. Behavior is a symptom and treating symptoms is never effective. For instance, a child who rages might have Bipolar Disorder, RAD or ADHD. Each of those diagnoses might include rages. Rages would be a symptom. But each of those diagnoses would have different motivations for the rages. Just like a sore throat could either be brought on by a cold or a bacterial infection. Treatment has to understand motive or cause, to be effective. If you suspect that your child has RAD (or any other
specific disorder) and your treatment professional tells you it doesn't matter because they are treating the behavior, find a new treatment professional. It does matter.

*I will add to this post as I see the need and have time.