This is, to date, the most difficult blog post I have written. Why? It's open and raw. It will be the cause of a lot of opinions, judgements, harsh comments, and gossip. But it's true. And I promised to be open and honest here. At the same time, I know all of my children will read this some day. I'm going to try to tread carefully.
Alan and I have been debating on how much information to share about our family. It's hard to get personal, because you open your family unit to so much criticism. At the same time, it has been extremely frustrating to try and find out information about our situation. What I would like to concentrate on in this post is information and education.
In the above picture, do you see that sullen boy to the right? It's our oldest son.
Our oldest son has a severe case of Reactive Attachment Disorder. Our youngest son has a mild case. This is an introduction to RAD. http://www.attachmentdisorder.net/What_is_attachment_disorder.htm
These are the symptoms and causes: http://www.attachmentdisorder.net/Symptoms_Causes_Research.htm
If you really want to know a little bit about life with a RAD child, here is a letter to an adult that may work with that child, like a teacher. I include it because Yohannes does so many of the things she talks about in this article. Please read it if you want to become informed!!!:
In the previous article, we are seeing the following (one of many), which she mentions:
"What you may see as a teacher is a child who is, initially, surprisingly
charming to you, even seeking to hold your hand, climbing into your lap, smiling
a lot, you're delighted you are getting on so well with such a child. "
Our sons can definitely be charming. It's a classic symptom of RAD- Indiscriminate affection. Paulos, especially, will hug anyone and go with any person. He has not made sufficient connections with me and Alan yet. Yohannes will obey and smile at people for a while. Then, once he feels comfortable with you, will begin controlling and manipulative behavior.
"They may express an offhand or even seemingly sincere "sorry,” but will likely
do the same thing again tomorrow. They are not motivated by self or parental
pride, normal reward and punishment systems simply do not work. "
Oh yeah, we experience this every day. The way we parent our bio children just does not work with a RAD child. That is difficult to explain to anyone.
If you'd like to know how I'm feeling, read this page: http://www.attachmentdisorder.net/You're_Not_Alone.htm
Alan and I are between numbers 6 and 7 on the grief scale at the bottom of the page.
I could share all the gory details about day to day life with our son. In the future, I may do a "day in the life of a RAD child" post. The wild-animal-like screaming and thrashing, throwing furniture, knocking things off tables, sending items flying across the room, punching and kicking furniture and walls, yelling at his brothers, hurting himself, the list goes on and on. For hours. Tonight I'd like to ask for prayer. PRAYER.
It has been difficult to have counselors tell us that they wish our son had been placed in a home with no other children because he needs 24/7 one-on-one care that we can not give. That our choices are: to let the other 4 kids go and focus solely on him, focus on the other 4 and try to get through the next 7 years until he turns 18, look into residential care when he hits adolescence, or consider an adoption disruption and put him with another family who can give him the round-the-clock focus he will have to have to heal. Paulos is headed down the same road, but we are praying that earlier intervention will help him.
What do we do? We don't know. We just honestly don't know right now. Of course we want to fight for Yohannes. But what does that look like? We have no idea.
Read and pray. Feel free to ask questions, but please try not to judge what you think we are doing wrong/right with our parenting. It's hard enough with loving support, much less with criticism. If you think you may know another family who has a child with RAD, look into becoming educated to be a safe listening ear. Safe people are few and far between.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all
without finding fault, and it will be given to him." - James 1:5
Please join us in praying for wisdom for our family. This is spiritual warfare, friends!! If you have a church prayer list, please add our family to it. If you are a member of a small group, please pray for us in your group, especially Yohannes. If you do personal prayer time, please, please pray for our family. I would love to come back a few years from now and tell you how much prayer changed our lives.
Will you stand with us? Will you intercede for us? We need you, body of Christ. We can not do this alone.