Reactive Attachment Disorder: You need to know that most adoptive parents are dealing with this.

Special Full Episode 1546

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65 Responses to Reactive Attachment Disorder: You need to know that most adoptive parents are dealing with this.

  1. It isn’t just adoptive parents that get stuck with this, it is STEP parents too 😦

  2. Rick H. says:

    We went through this from 1997-2005. I wish the church had been awake then.

  3. Michelle Marques says:

    Any advice to adoptive parents whose child is now an adult and left his adoptive family to go back to the cruelty and choas of his birth family?

    • Angela says:

      Our adopted daughter did this the minute she turned 18. We just reinforced out love for her. Told her that she didn’t have to choose sides. With bio family, it was very much that way… They draw a line in the sand and make her choose. We told her why it made us sad (unhealthy relationships, continuation of addiction, disregard if sexual abuse from from her uncle, etc). Intimately, it is her choice who she will make her family. As long as she is unhealthy, she will not be able to maintain any healthy relationship whether it’s with us, bio family, friend or boyfriend’s. We just continue to love her and support her where we can.

  4. Tonya says:

    Typically these children dont ONLY have RAD. Add PTSD and ADHD and ODD and any number of other disorders to your challenges with these kids and then you can only begin to image a day in the life.

  5. Howard Sloan says:

    Our adopted son has aspbergers, ADHD, and. I relate to this.

  6. Truth2Freedom says:

    Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  7. lisa mootz says:

    I wish someone had told me about this in advance. Thanks for sharing and educating people.

  8. RaisingSeven says:

    I’m an adoptive parent. It’s not most adoptive parents. It happens, but not in the majority of cases. When you adopt, it is not the time to play the hero role. You need to take time to look at yourself very critically and be brutally honest with yourself what you can and can’t take on. Can I parent a child who has a cleft pallet? Can I adopt a child with AIDS? Can I parent a child with downs syndrome? Can I parent a child with emotional issues? PTSD? RAD? Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Autism? A major behavioral issue? These things happen. And prospective adoptive parents need to be prepared to parent a child as is. Not the child they want them to be.

    • Starr Pelc says:

      I completely agree! Saying ‘most’ is such a stretch. I have 3 adopted and none of them has RAD. None of them. I think in some cases it may seem as thought the child has RAD because the parent is actually the one that is not bonded (the parent is the one that has RAD) and the child feels this and then acts the same toward the parent. It comes across in very subtle ways but the child can feel it especially if there are other children in the home. I’m definitely not saying it doesn’t happen with some kids but to say ‘most have it’ is simply not true.

  9. John M Hewett says:

    Ok, I am sure this fellow is well intending and does share some good info on RAD, but he makes some generalized statements about adoption that are way off the mark. I am an adoptive parent of five ranging in ages locations and circumstances. Not one of them suffers from RAD. My oldest and youngest exhibit some attachment issues, but not to the extreme of RAD. I’m sorry but this video is wrong and misleading. I would say that 9 out of 10 adopted children are capable of at least mostly healthy attachment. To say that all adopted children are RAD is very misrepresenting if not a boldfaced lie. John M., MS, LPC

    • Dana says:

      I agree with you John. Although both of my adopted sons display some of these symptoms listed, they do not have RAD. I know many adopted kids that don’t have RAD. Come to think of it, MOST of them don’t! I think it’s unfair to label all adoptive children as having RAD. Although many probably do display many of the symptoms listed.

      • I would say 2 things as an adoptive parent of 2 and a TBRI trained therapist who works with lots of adoptive kids… 1. I agree that he should encompass a lot more than RAD. It would be helpful to talk about the behaviors and issues often displayed as a symptom of trauma, not RAD so it could encompass more adoptive families. I think it would be so helpful for more people in adoptive families lives to be educated on these issues, why an adoptive parent may parent differently etc. 2. In my experience, and granted that’s anecdotal, I would say that 9/10 or 10/10 adopted children are capable of *eventually* somewhat healthy attachment. But without the right help, techniques, treatment, awareness etc. it’s not happening. And in the majority there needs to be some level of intervention/help to get them to this healthier attachment level. Jackie Reitsma, MA, LPC

      • Terri Williams says:

        I have three. They do exhibit a lot of theses tendencies. One doesn’t have too many but a couple of obvious ones. Whether you call it RAD or not the tendencies are there. My sister’ s son too

    • Nate Bristol says:

      I am pretty sure you are right about the fact of most adoptive kids do not have the Diagnosed extreme of RAD. However, I know a lot of adopted and orphaned kids that have 15 to 20 of these symptoms because they have serious attachment issues. I have three adopted kids that each display 16-18 of these symptoms. Through much love and God’s grace they have worked through some of these issues but I love what this man is saying because he honestly addressed many of the issues that plague the adoptive parents who feel they are alone and hurting in this struggle. I love that it addresses the church and ask them to step up their game instead of being judgmental. Many of our friends and family only see symptom 20 the charming sweet side of RAD. and dont understand why things are so difficult. I commend this guy for what he is doing and while some things might be generalized as he is reaching a large audience it is quite a stretch to call it a “Boldfaced Lie!”

    • Marie says:

      Nine out of ten having healty attachments is the lie. Not all adopted children are RAD, agree

    • Starr Pelc says:

      I completely agree! Saying ‘most’ is such a stretch. I have 3 adopted and none of them has RAD. None of them. I think in some cases it may seem as thought the child has RAD because the parent is actually the one that is not bonded (the parent is the one that has RAD) and the child feels this and then acts the same toward the parent. It comes across in very subtle ways but the child can feel it especially if there are other children in the home. I’m definitely not saying it doesn’t happen with some kids but to say ‘most have it’ is simply not true.

  10. Mike Schedgick says:

    It is all true! We have 6 adopted children and all have RAD to some degree.

    • I am so sorry, I offer my prayers and *hugs* God Bless you and your family

    • John says:

      How could it be all true if you have 6 children and they all have RAD to some degree and I have 5 that don’t.. For one, you either have RAD or you don’t. There is a difference between attachment issues and RAD. RAD id CTREME attachment issues. I still he he makes some extreme generalizations that muddy the issue of adoption. The fact is MOST adopted kids do NOT have RAD.

  11. John says:

    Ok folks following is the clinical definition of RAD and not most or all adopted children meet this criteria. None of my five adopted children meet this criteria. Now, all of them have experienced the trauma that can lead to RAD, but not every child responds the same to that trauma. Granted, they all five struggle with attachment but do not meet fthe full criteria of RAD. This gentleman does not apparently know his stuff.

    Beginning before age 5 and occurring in most situations, the patient?s social relatedness is markedly disturbed and developmentally inappropriate. This is shown by either of:
    Inhibitions. In most social situations, the child doesn?t interact in a socially appropriate way. This is shown by responses that are excessively inhibited, hypervigilant or ambivalent and contradictory. For example, the child responds to caregivers with frozen watchfulness or mixed approach-avoidance and resistance to comforting.
    Disinhibitions. The child?s attachments are diffuse, as shown by indiscriminate sociability with inability to form appropriate selective attachments. For example, the child is overly familiar with strangers or lacks selectivity in choosing attachment figures.
    This behavior is not explained solely by a developmental delay (such as Mental Retardation) and it does not fulfill criteria for Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
    Evidence of persistent pathogenic care is shown by one or more of:
    The caregiver neglects the child?s basic emotional needs for affection, comfort and stimulation.
    The caregiver neglects the child?s basic physical needs.
    Stable attachments cannot form because of repeated changes of caregiver (such as frequent changes of foster care).
    It appears that the pathogenic care just described has caused the disturbed behavior (for example, the behavior began after the pathogenic behavior).
    Specify type, based on predominant clinical presentation:

    • I said this above but I don’t expect people to be looking through all the comments! — I agree that he should encompass a lot more than RAD. I think it would be helpful to talk about the behaviors and issues often displayed as a symptom of trauma, not RAD so it could encompass more adoptive families. I think it would be so helpful for more people in adoptive families lives to be educated on these issues, why an adoptive parent may parent differently etc.

      • Karen Martineson says:

        Our new psychiatrist just told us that RAD is a *spectrum* and attachment can occur on a line, and our child is about mid-line. Another seems very mild yet both exhibit some of 1-20. One has a few that are mild, one has most of them in a more severe way.

    • Susanna says:

      So yea for you and great that your five don’t have it. Just stop there. WHY are you trying to convince anyone else about RAD and their homes/experiences. I think you protest too much…. I adopted three and one has RAD and one has attachment issues, the other one has nothing. Be gracious, my goodness. You have no idea what others are walking through. RAD has been tossed around and redefined in the last 20 yrs. It’s still being studied. Autism 20 yrs ago meant different things and the spectrum wasn’t even being discussed. Autistm today is more far reaching. Why are you so intent on grinding your ax?

    • Alice reinhardt says:

      I struggle with your use of the word ALL. I struggle with your definitive statements using only the adoptive children you know. I have two incredible children adopted from Liberia. We have had our issues, yes, but if i used them as my barometer, it works be so unfair. It works be unfair to half of the parents in my Liberian support group that have had their whole lives ripped apart. It would be unfair to a dear friend to look into her wearied, broken eyes as TWO of her three adopted children have RAD so severe it has almost destroyed their family in every way, including the almost $3000 monthly they pay for the boys care or the guilt they live with knowing in two years, they are releasing two sociopaths into society.
      My question is are you an expert? How many adoption conferences have you attended where you look into the desperate faces of parents simply trying to survive their RAD child? Just how many adoptive families do you know across the United States? All of them? Surely you must in order to make the bold statements you have. Do you know families that have had to change churches multiple times because of statements like yours? Do your five or six adopted children qualify you to speak for ALL adoptions? I think not. Just as my family of soon to be 21 may give me insight and experience, but an expert on parenting it does not make. As much as i would like to say i hope and pray you never have the bitter taste of RAD in your mouth, for the sake of people i dearly love, i cannot say it to someone who makes such blazen arrogant statements.

  12. AMEN x20! Praise God for more light shed on this subject. I do not believe that Todd is saying that 100% of children have RAD, I think he is saying that potentially you can adopt a child with 100% RAD. We have adopted 6 and #7 is on the way. Not only did our first 3 have RAD to varying degrees but last year we specifically adopted a child diagnosed with RAD from an adoption disruption. RAD behaviors are REAL! Yet let me point out that Jesus can heal and release the bondage of even RAD!!! The hardest part of adoption and RAD is loving a child that does not reciprocate any form of love, but isn’t that the gospel! Jesus loved us, a people that did not reciprocate His love yet He filed for our adoption anyway! We then love Him because He first loved us! That is the story of RAD, we as parents get to live on the front lines of the gospel and sacrifice our lives and love with sometimes no reward. We do have hope even with RAD, we have Jesus. Also, the best biblical resource for parenting children with these symptoms is “Parenting the Difficult Child” by Linda Rice. And here is our blog: 5kids6months.blogspot.com and we have posted often on RAD.

    • John says:

      No. He said in th very beginning, “This (RAD) is a malady they accompanied every adoption.” He developed and reiterated this misinfostion throughout the video. BHe is wrong. The statistics sre more like 10%. RAD is a clinical mental disorder that interferes with the daily functioning of a child, making it difficult To to function productively in society.. In many if not most cases RAD requires inpatient treatment. A RAD child is incapable of carrying on a normal relationship and will likely never be able to develop intimacy. It is fair to say that most adopted children are affected by attachment issues and that a large percentage of RAD kids and adults were abused snd/or abandoned as children. Most adopted children are not affected by RAD though.

      John M Hewett, MS LPC

      • John says:

        Sorry for the typo. He said ‘This is a malady that accompanies every adoption.”

      • I don’t want to argue your point but 6 of the 6 kids we adopted have some varying forms of attachment issues and have all fleshed out at least 5 of these 20 symptoms but often many more. Four of ours were diagnosed with RAD but two of those four couldn’t be rediagnosed this past year and were considered healed. Jesus can make the blind see, He is certainly able to heal RAD, which I view as less of a clinical diagnosis but more of a clump of behaviors that point to a wrong heart motive and thinking developed by years of inconstency, neglect, trauma and abuse. As an adoptive parent I do believe that 100% of adopted children will experience attachment issues at some point in their life because adoption is born in loss. We love adoption. We love our kids with RAD. We love our kids with attachment issues. We love the main point of this video which is that the church needs to be aware that these behaviors and struggles for the parents exist so that they can come along parents like us in our beginning years and encourage us to love and parent our children well. 🙂

      • s says:

        However, mr.ms LCD … When you live with a RAD kiddo trust me…it feels like every kiddo has it…. And when you find one that dosent, you feel like crying. Just from the normalcy behind them. So unless you have sacrificed your lifestyle for a kiddo with RAD respectfully keep your mouth shut about statistics. Because when you give the church an ounce of leeway that it might not be happening… They will jump all over it and say, well how was I supposed to know… And claim ignorance.

      • Ugh, I don’t know how to get this reply below chronologically but with a LOT of HARD work and intervention MANY children with RAD can be healed to the point they no longer qualify for the diagnosis. I have worked with lots of kids diagnosed RAD and rarely, if ever did any of them need inpatient. With TBRI especially, much sucess has been seen (backed up by research). Yes, without serious intervention lots of these kiddos would end up in residential/inpatient of some form, but that in no way needs to be the case.

  13. Here is a video of our kiddos explaining their behaviors that stem from attachment issues and RAD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbYIeeOD3MM

  14. Kelly Jo says:

    John-as a MS LPC and adoptive parent you can know and understand what he is saying. Of course is he over-generalizing; not all have RAD, but there are varying levels of attachment issues. Clinically do they all have RAD? No-but a video like this is set out to make draw awareness. And it has done that. This is being posted and discussed, Just like every single thing out there, you take what you can from it. I appreciate how he explained the 20 things. Again, not true of all of course, but it is a step towards education.
    My husband made this comment:
    “This is something the church really needs to wake up to. Most parents won’t talk about what they are going through at home. Why? Because it’s hard, embarrassing, you don’t want to feel judged, you’re tired of getting stupid advice from people who don’t understand, you feel like you’re failing/drowning and you don’t know how to ask for help anymore. And what really sucks is your marriage suffers and if you have other kids they suffer if the support is not there. It is a little long, but worth your time if you are considering adoption or if you want to serve and love on families who have.”

    And someone wanted to know who we feel judged or how the advice is “stupid”. So I added:
    “I realize stupid comes across as a harsh word, but I won’t disagree. Honestly, unless you have lived with RAD and/or early childhood trauma, or have taken the time to thoroughly educate yourself on it (which would involve time spent with families who have) your advice isn’t what I want. Don’t you dare mention sticker charts when there are sporks nearby or you will find my eyeballs on the floor!
    Part of the point on the video is to educate on those special needs before you say anything to someone. In this case there are some churches who call their members to adopt without being informed and prepared to love them through the ugly. I really don’t need or want your advice. What I want is to not be judged. The best thing someone said to me when we came back from Africa was “I obviously have no idea what you have gone through or are going through right now but I want to be here with you.” (Better stop there because missionary care is a whole other thread!).
    I feel judged when I have to have my child within arm’s length on a Sunday morning because he has “the look” and I don’t know if or how long until things blow over. When you ask why I don’t need to hear about “boys will be boys” or “all kids do that”. Maybe just let me vent away a bit or just say, “wow, that is hard.” Or say “I will stay with him while you go to the bathroom” but then don’t give my kid attention while he is being superficial charming to you so I look like the meany.
    In our church there are families who are having hard times, but they don’t talk about at church, most will never know. Get them in a room with others with just a taste of their shared experiences and the flood gates open. We have to know we are not alone in what we are doing-but we are often too afraid to even tell one person. And that person may be just the one to connect us to someone we need. We feel guilt, shame, fear and really, most “advice” people want to give, they think they are trying to help…but they just reaffirm to our hurting hearts that we are not doing it right.
    What is the solution exactly? I don’t know. Start conversations, get educated, spend some extended times with families who parent trauma…then you can walk with them, even provide respite. Not just anyone can do that-much of what we do can seem 2 steps forward, one step back and even respite, while while needed, causes more regression, so many parents are afraid to do it.”

    So while we can take the time to argue about whether each adopted, fostered or traumatized child has clinical RAD or “just” attachment issues, we would being missing the opportunity to use this as an educational tool. It’s not about every child having RAD. I think he does do a good job addressing issues and opening eyes, bringing up possible scenarios and explaining them well. I doubt the ppl I know watching this believe my child or any other has every one of these things to a large extent; I have a little more faith than that in their discerning process.

  15. RADmom says:

    Reblogged this on Musings of a RAD Mom and commented:
    This is a really good video discussing what it can mean to be an adoptive parent. If you’re thinking about adopting, know that not all adopted kids will exhibit all the symptoms and those they do exhibit will come in varying degrees of severity — but all adopted kids have experienced some measure of early childhood trauma that will have an impact on them.

    If you’ve already made the commitment to raise a child through adoption, you may see your own situation in this video. I know I did. Hang in there. You’re doing a great thing!

  16. Jill and Howard Lochren says:

    I’am speechless ! We have a RAD diagnoses on one of our adopted children. We see some of the symptoms in all I them ( 7 total ) we have recently been praying for help not to give up on this one child she is 9 and has made out home sometimes a living hell. I can’t believe she fits every signal symptom magnified and this gives me hope ! We don’t have support at church as we have been shunned and given dirty looks by others so we don’t go anymore:( but this word today is our life completely ! I have never heard of wretched network but I’am a thankful I feel as a new page has started with just this word and that RAD is real not just some phony excuse for what we are going through ! Jesus is our hope and I am thankful for this new site and information ! We really have been fighting our family who says we need to relinquish the adoption because it’s so bad for all he other children .

    • Hi Jill and/or Howard! Absolutely have hope. Check into TBRI, the founder Karyn Purvis of Texas Christian University, is convinced that there is no child beyond help. The book The Connected Child gives an overview and the site empoweredtoconnect.org has lots of resources. I mainly commented to say, look around you for churches with Adoption Support Groups or Adoption Ministries to find a church you won’t feel shamed in and can find some great support. – Jackie Reitsma, adoptive parent and MA, LPC

      • Karen Martineson says:

        I’ve seen TBRI a couple times. What does it stand for?

      • Karen Martineson says:

        I recently attended an “Empowered to Connect” simulcast (of TBRI), sponsored by ShoHope. Very enlightening! I’d encourage everyone to seek out the information/resources that Jackie mentioned above! It made all of this much clearer…… discussing “connection” vs. “attachment”, and “hard places” vs. “abuse/neglect” . It addresses the “spectrum” of the results of “trauma” vs. the correct definition of the words in the diagnosis. And includes “hard places” like difficult pregnancies, early hospitalization, etc. (many causes, not just abuse and neglect), sensory issues, behaviors that look like ODD, Aspberger’s, etc., but are a misdiagnosis of connection/attachment. Keep seeking the answers!!!

    • Ann says:

      I feel your pain, we were not aware of these potential behaviors either and went through our own difficulties. the church also rejected us and I was told not to discuss these difficulties in a group called “Forever Families”. They were a group promoting adoptions!

  17. Monica says:

    Interesting video. Interesting delivery. I actually just used that list of 20 symptoms is a blog I wrote last month. Where did Todd find his list? What sources did he use? I agree that parents need more support and understanding. We often feel so alone!
    http://emergingmama.com/attachment-disorder-spectrum/

  18. Robert says:

    This is not a message of faith in God. If you accept the doctrines of men, then adopting could turn your life into a living hell. If we are Christians, we won’t have faith for these children to be cursed with “RAD”. We know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, they just need Jesus, and we walk in faith that God is their healer and their deliverer. My children were adopted as older children after having been through multiple homes. ALL of my adopted children exhibited MOST of these symptoms (including the worst ones). But as we walked in and spoke faith, Christ was formed in them and they have ALL been delivered of these anti-social behaviors. If you believe God’s word, then adopt, and bring the gospel to these children!

    • Anna says:

      You are a works based person. Do you also heal cancer by a spoken word? How about diabetes? We gave our child Jesus, in bucket fulls. He still told me he was going to slice my stomach open while I slept. YOU do not have a message from God. What doctrine of man is this? Is cancer a doctrine of man? You have effectively said that anyone who has a RAD child or a hard adoption accepts false teaching. There are plenty of CHristians and non CHristians who have RAD children. My place in Christ is not based on whether or not I have faith enough to keep a child from living with RAD.

  19. Michelle says:

    I’m very thankful for this video and the intention behind it. No, not all adopted children have RAD, but that is something you do not know before or even during the first honeymoon months (if you’re lucky enough to get a honeymoon). I don’t want the message of this video to be missed by everyone debating God’s ability to heal or if every word in this video is true. I have shared this with our family, friends and church group because it does a wonderful job articulating what parents may encounter. And because we don’t know before we welcome them home, this awareness is so important. I appreciate that the content was not solely focused on the reasons and traumas experienced by their behaviors, because there are many wonderful books, videos and conferences available for parents to access to learn more about healing and attachment parenting.
    As an adoptive parent with a RAD child (only 1 of 5 adopted are RAD) I’ve often felt alone because others only saw the child’s hurt, not the pain the rest of us were experiencing too. Even 1 out of 5 with RAD is enough to seriously affect a family. Thank you Wretched for this video, promoting awareness and being a voice to the church.

  20. s says:

    I usually don’t do internet videos. This was an amen. From the bottom of my heart. Well done. Well said. We have adopted 4 children through foster care. One in particular who is a RAD kiddo. We pray it through everyday. Everyday we pray for our church to step up and stop complimenting our ‘pretty frosting deeds’ and actually care. Connect with us. Be brave. Get dirty. Listen to our stories. Instead we get the cheerful smiles and the phrase ‘I could never do what you are doing’. Your right. You probably couldent. Your too scared to even be a support to a family who is doing it. Everyone loves to be the one to jump up and say, ‘oh! A family from out church have adopted through foster care! Four times!? Isn’t that sweet, the whole widow and orphans thing!?’ … Umhum… Uh huh… Yeah… That thing… Step it up churches!! We are waiting…. For that weekend that we don’t crawl into bed in exausted tears because a door knob went through the freshly fixed drywall… Again…. Or hear the exAusted sigh when the church members say “oh what a sweet kiddo!?’ Here we are, we won’t beg for help from in unwilling church, but really, should we have to beg? – waiting for God to move in the hearts of the church…

  21. Dan says:

    I hear those who say not all have RAD and I tend to agree; however, I also know of the many families in our adoption support group, many families who have dissolved their adoptions, and state and court Agencies who told us how every child has emotional and mental issues created by the system alone.
    Our child had all 20 symptoms listed and more. Pets were killed, our lives and other children terrorized to the point we had to question if loving this child was doing irreparable damage to ourselves and other children. Physical attacks, mental hospitalizations, threats from the state to take our other children, threats of criminal prosecution, and being forced to install motion detectors and alarms and sleep in the hallway just to protect our other children from physical harm. This is the life we lived for more than 5 years. We were told by “experts” the best we could hope for was to keep our heads down until the child was 18, then kick him out of the house so he could commit a crime and be imprisoned for life. That is not a solution!
    The church for us was a place of judgment and seeing others who were easily conned by the superficial charm into thinking it was all our fault. When we finally did have an expert willing to diagnose our child as RAD, we were met by the church with fear an apprehension. My children lost all their friends, and we were kicked out of a Christian homeschool group. My children experienced far too young the underbelly of the church and hypocrisy of “Christians” who love Jesus as long as they can keep Him in their little box. To this day, my bio-children struggle with church and God due to their treatment by those claiming to be Christians.
    To those who find themselves dealing with this type of child, please know, there is hope. When every expert tells you there is no hope and when every “Christian” tells you it is your fault, or to terminate the adoption, or turns their backs on you and your family, know that God is still God. Draw closer to your spouse, lean on them, pray with them, and cry with them. Something like this can tear you and your marriage apart, so don’t let it. God is King, God is good, and no matter what anyone says, stubbornly decide that God is true to His Word. Be stubborn, be pig-headed, stay committed and pray. Breath when you can. Get help where you find it. I cannot say you will have a happy ending, but you will know you fought for your family every step of the way.
    P.S. Our whole family continues to heal. All the “experts” who wrote off us and our adoptive child, now marvel at how far we have come. The state doesn’t like it when we give all glory to God.

    • John says:

      I know I am being criticized for my criticism of this video. Please at least try to understand my perspective. I am not down playing the impact RAD has on the families of RAD children. I have spent my life recruiting and supporting foster and adoptive families. I have been involved with literally hundreds of adoptions. I have always been forthright with the risks involved. I have currently have 5 adopted children of my own and am closely and actively involved with the familie of over a dozen more adopted children. Of these close twenty adopted children not one has RAD.

      I promise you I have witnessed the pain of families dealing with RAD. I am not down playing the severity of RAD. I am simply saying that MOST adopted children do not have RAD while this fellow says ALL do. In an attempt to prepare families for adoption he is wrongfully scaring people away from adoption. There is a big difference between ALL and 10%.

      This is similar to saying all law enforcement officers are corrupt because a few are or all bankers are crooks because we have heard of so much corruption. The fact is most adopted children adapt very well and be some productive citezens. My 27 yesr old is now regional director for YOUNG LIFE, a ministry to unchurched children in the Dallas area. My 15 year old is currently preparing for a preaching competition.

      You can hate me as you wish, but I am standing up for the reputation of adopted familes and children around America. Adopted children can be sweet caring individuals and adopted families can be high functioning as most are. According to this gentleman, that is not possible and yes that offends me. My kids are adopted but my kids are not RAD!

      • Karen Martineson says:

        John, I don’t get the impression he’s saying RAD children can’t be sweet, caring, high functioning. He’s educating people to the reality of RAD and the symptoms and, most significantly, the need for the church to come alongside families who adopt and help them through the difficulties. He may scare people away from adopting for a while, but if they are called to adopt God will continue calling them, and they will be looking to learn all they can about such an issue. We were scared off for a while by the myriad of issues we learned of in a required course for foster care adoption. A few years later we adopted internationally.
        However, I think that not only the church, but people considering adoption, need to know more than they do about attachment issues. Specifically, signs of the *spectrum* of RAD. That somewhere on the line is still an attachment issue. Adoption Parenting discusses “The Attachment Spectrum”. We’d be in a much better place by now if we’d understood that it is a spectrum, as our new psychiatrist just told us, vs. all or none.

    • John says:

      I know I am being criticized for my criticism of this video. Please at least try to understand my perspective. I am not down playing the impact RAD has on the families of RAD children. The impact is tremendous and my heart goes out to them.

      I have spent my life recruiting and supporting foster and adoptive families. I have been involved with literally hundreds of adoptions. I have always been forthright with the risks involved. I currently have 5 adopted children of my own and am closely and actively involved with the familie of over a dozen more adopted children. Of these close twenty adopted children not one has RAD.

      I promise you I have witnessed the pain of families dealing with RAD. I am not down playing the severity of RAD. I am simply saying that MOST adopted children do not have RAD while this fellow says ALL do. In an attempt to prepare families for adoption he is wrongfully scaring people away from adoption. There is a big difference between ALL and 10%.

      This is similar to saying all law enforcement officers are corrupt because a few are or all bankers are crooks because we have heard of so much corruption. The fact is most adopted children adapt very well and become productive citezens. My 27 yesr old is now regional director for YOUNG LIFE, a ministry to unchurched children in the Dallas area. My 15 year old is currently preparing for a preaching competition.

      You can hate me as you wish, but I am standing up for the reputation of adopted familes and children around America. Adopted children can be sweet caring individuals and adopted families can be high functioning as most are. According to this gentleman, that is not possible and yes that offends me. My kids are adopted but my kids are not RAD!

      • Arabah Joy says:

        Nowhere in this video did he say adopted children cannot be (in your words) “sweet, caring individuals” nor did he say adopted families cannot be “high functioning.” I think your personal feelings are caught up in your assessment, you are placing too much emphasis on your credentials and the clinical definition of RAD, and are not hearing the overall message of the video. Of course he would have been more accurate to say most adopted children experience some level of “attachment disorder” instead of the term RAD, but this doesn’t negate the message or validity of his points.

      • Alice reinhardt says:

        I argue with your use of the word MOST. That maybe the case for the hundreds of cases/families YOU PERSONALLY have seen. What about the thousands you haven’t? Did you treat lydia schatz’ parents/family before she ended up dead and the parents in prison? What about the families that have fostered her bio sister since the incident? If i were to use the families i have worked with/known/support, i could just as easily say 50% of adoptive children have rad. I Won’t make that claim. It is not that i disagree with your analysis, it is that you cannot make those claims without a bigger base and margin of error factor and all kinds of statistical boundaries. To make a definitive statement that 9/10 don’t have rad is a slap in the face at minimum to 50% of the adoptive families i know. It minimizes their pain and their reality when they already are battling more guilt and exhaustion than i can fathom. It only reinforces the message church after church has sent them. You are a failure and there is no safe place.

  22. Becky says:

    Thank you. This is the TRUTH and FEW churches talk about the truth of adoption. We had a failed adoption. Most lonely 2 years of my life in church. Nobody understood. They all thought she was SO SWEET and could not see what we lived with. No support: condemnation. Both painful and validating to watch this.

  23. Karen Martineson says:

    Thank you for this video! One of our children was just diagnosed with the *spectrum* of RAD…..this video made clear what the issues are, and he has many of the 20! No one knew what we were really dealing with! Including. us. Because he seemed to have some attachment……

  24. Pingback: Reactive Attachment Disorder: You need to know that most adoptive parents are dealing with this. | slk1shiloh7's Blog

  25. Pingback: RAD: It’s what we have been doing | Well Trained Family

  26. Karen A says:

    I am a parent suffering alone with this RAD child for 14 years with no help from anywhere. She cannot be left alone 24/7. I have lost my entire life…no friends, no respite care, nothing. Church doesn’t come up with help when i plead for a break. It has destroyed me

    • Karen Martineson says:

      Oh my, what a nightmare you must live! What state are you in?
      Find Dr. Karyn Purvis’s work. A book, “The Connected Child”.
      Here’s the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/connectedchild/?fref=nf
      Go to their website, too. They have counselors listed that do “Trust Based Relationship Intervention”, although I don’t know how up to date it is, because I just found one in our area and it wasn’t on the website. We hope to get help from her.because I don’t feel like I have the energy to do it on my own.
      They also have “Empowered to Connect” seminars around the country, and DVD’s of the seminars. There is hope!

  27. Pingback: Reactive Attachment Disorder – Me Myself and Fostering

  28. Jim says:

    Twenty seconds into this video I thought this fellow was kind of a fruitcake but very soon I realized that he’s right.

    RAD is mysterious, at least for now. Nobody knows why some adopted kids neglected during age 0-3 have it and some don’t. RAD kids run a spectrum of a little quirky to quite dangerous. As I understand it there currently is no universally-accepted diagnostic for RAD, but it is real. The web has countless RAD checklists with 10 or 29 or another number of items. This fellow has 20. Sometimes the difference between lists is a matter of rendering as opposed to substance. His list lines up well with others I’ve come across.

    We did not suspect RAD in our teenage adopted son until recently when some heartbreaking behavior prompted us to look at his previous behavior in a new light. What I previously thought was teenage-itis fits the RAD checklists. His lifelong habit of lying now has some explanation. We anticipate that a recently-engaged therapist will speak to his RAD and we tend to predict that his case is to the mild side of middle, but we are not experts. It’s a little scary to note that our generally well-regarded son who until recently never got into trouble outside the home has never displayed personal remorse.

    We need to appreciate Todd Friel’s call for the church to be supportive of adopted families, notable families of RAD kids. It’s been hard on us, and some families in our church have it worse than we do, partly because conditions additional to RAD complicate the mix. I bet there are others in our own church we don’t know about. Let us come alongside one another to comfort, encourage, offer material help, and pray.

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