I witnessed a conversation with the sister of a boy who had been adopted at the age of 2 years old after being abused by his biological parents. As an adult “he has always been in trouble with the law and has been in jail.” Upon hearing this, a deep sorrow enveloped me. I have such empathy for that child, having three of my own adopted at a later age. It was with a sweet naiveté that I had them join our family, believing that love can cure all. Despite our family’s best efforts, love did NOT cure all. To pretend that it did does a disservice to all of those families living with similar children. As brightly as I may portray our family, (and they ARE wonderful children whom I have never regretted adopting,) they have serious disabilities when it comes to social norms. They have reactive attachment disorder.
To quote from Wikipedia, “RAD arises from a failure to form normal attachments to primary caregivers in early childhood. Such a failure could result from severe early experiences of neglect, abuse, abrupt separation from caregivers between the ages of six months and three years, frequent change of caregivers, or a lack of caregiver responsiveness to a child’s communicative efforts. The AACAP guidelines state that children with reactive attachment disorder are presumed to have grossly disturbed internal models for relating to others”
I have worked hard to form attachments to my three youngest children, and, while I like to think that I am a “normal” mom to them, I have to admit that they may have difficulty controlling lying without remorse, stealing just because they want something, or acting out if they do not “get their way”. My son who has autism and RAD has always acted out, kicking the occasional hole in the wall or breaking a window. Such behavior can be tolerated as a child, but when that child becomes a young adult, such behavior is considered “domestic abuse” and “vandalism”. My youngest daughter with RAD sometimes would see something she likes in Walmart and slip it into her pocket, thus necessitating a trip to the manager to give it back. I like to think that such life lessons have sunk in, but I cannot guarantee that, as a adult, she wouldn’t resume just taking things she wants. My kiddos with RAD are chronic liars. I can tell they are lying by the vast amount of details in their stories. They didn’t just lose a school book on the way home, a masked man followed them all the way home, hid out behind the maple tree, jumped out at them when a car drove by and stole their book to use as material to start their fire. Their stories, which they steadfastly stick with, are creative and imaginative and complete lies, and lying is a typical behavior of a child with RAD.
I am convinced that their brains are wired differently. As infants and toddlers, they were not able to form emotional attachments with caregivers in order to feel secure. When their little brains were forming, and those energy cells which would turn into concepts of how the world works, theirs determined they could not count on anyone but themselves. They can be self-centered, unfazed by conventional ideas of right and wrong, and often willing to do anything to get what they want.
Dealing with such children is a life long challenge. I have done a fair job of instilling right and wrong in my children, not because they really believe in right and wrong but because, by habit, that is how we behave in our family. Yes, they love me, but let another “parent” come by who offers them a kitten, and their love will quickly switch. (True story…my daughter almost went to live with a strange couple who tried to kidnap her by promising her a kitten!) Having the social skills to have real friends eludes them. RAD is a devastating disability which affects all aspects of their lives.
My heart goes out to all of those children out there who were unloved in their early years. It is NOT something they can just “get over”. I see people on tv who are arrested for this and that, and I hear their stories. 9 times out of 10, they were abused or unloved as children. I am convinced the loss of that initial security forever causes a permanent rift in the psyche that is contrary to the “norm”. To expect them not to be affected is naive.
Consequentially, a large percentage of people in prison were abused or neglected as young children, and I grieve their loss of “normal” lives, forever damned to seclusion from society as the result of their initial inability to form secure relationships in a loving family.
I apologize…this post is so unlike me, but I felt the need to discuss the issue.
Please join me in listening to my favorite song by clicking on the “Song by JJ Heller”. It is a song that addresses this very issue with a love that I feel in my heart. I hope you feel it also…

If you have time, please listen to my favorite song, “Love Me”, by JJ Heller. I have included the words. It never ceases to bring tears to my eyes…

Song by JJ Heller

“Love Me”

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, “Dear God won’t you please
Could you send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner
Then he would’ve stayed
And she says:

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me?
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said
“I know you’ve murdered and I know you’ve lied
I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I…”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew



The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane
Authored by Linda Petersen
The link to the book:


Comments on: "The Truth about Reactive Attachment Disorder" (238)

  1. What a beautiful and touching post. The song is a perfect compliment. Thank you for sharing and God bless you 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on Through the Eyes of This Calvinist and commented:

  3. Thank you, so much, for this wonderful post.

  4. That is one of the songs that has deeply touched me in my music ministry and is one I have shared at my church. Every year in my classroom there are little ones who enter through the doors unloved and uncared for and it breaks my heart. I truly believe God has placed them in my care for that time so that I might intercess on their behalf. I cannot solve their problems, but I can show them the love of God in the time we have together. Bless you for your compassionate heart and your loving spirit.

  5. What a wonderful post. Your children are lucky to have love in their life. It saddens me to think where their life would have led them if not for you.

  6. I really enjoy your blog. This one in particular is so informative and as my husband and I get ready to become foster and adoptive parents, it was an eye opener. Please consider putting some “share” buttons on you blog…it would make it easier to forward to others and I think other people really would enjoy your posts as well.

  7. A beautiful, heartfelt post! I read a book not too long ago written by an adult adoptee with RAD. Here’s my review of that book: http://delanasworld.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/into-the-mind-of-a-child-with-rad/. Our first few years with our daughter were full of moments quite similar to ones you express in your post. One of those difficult days, I wrote this: http://delanasworld.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/heart-tears/. May God pour out his blessings and love and wisdom and strength on you and each of your children.

  8. Steve Evans said:

    Thank you for sharing. This information and the love, compassion, and grace of God that you provide to your kids and share with us is helpful in living in a manner that is more worthy of Christ.
    Bless you.

  9. This is so well written and such an important topic. Thank you.

  10. Thank you for taking the time to give with such clarity the challenges of rearing and of being one with RAD. For some reason, even though I have never met you, I found myself in prayer for you last night. Your writings have touched a deep chord in my heart and I have deep admiration for you and the choices you have made. I’ve also guessed at some of the challenges, and this was one. We, especially we who have known intimately the love of God, do naively think that “love conquers all” but when the early childhood damage does actually change brain wiring, there are limits to the conquering power of love.

  11. This post is very helpful to me. While I do not have anyone in my life with RAD, I received a lot of valuable information from your blog, and it will help me when I encounter someone who has suffered from childhood neglect. One hopes that someday we’ll find a way to heal that early trauma; we have found ways to “re-wire” brains of dyslexics… perhaps there will be a way with chanting or synchronized movements or skin-on-skin touch (like most newborns get with their mothers). We’ve learned that ADHD comes from a lack of dopamine reaching neuroreceptors… not to make parenting just a science but maybe we’ll discover that some emotional healing can occur with other stimulation of neurotransmitters! Anything is worth rebuilding the life of a damaged child.

    • I worked hard early in their lives to make them feel secure and loved. Even when they were 5 and 6 I would wrap them up in a big, soft blanket, sit them on my lap in a rocking chair, and watch our favorite nature channel on tv. Deep hugs, always doing what I say I’m going to do, never finding fault, and just love love loving them has had somewhat of an effect. I believe they DO love me in their own ways, but their emotions are still not the norm. They “behave” and they don’t “steal” because those are the rules in this house. If they were on their own, I don’t know how they would act…

  12. Thank you SO much for stepping out of your usual character to share these heartfelt thoughts! This is so good, and the song is very touching. I’m going to share this with my husband who is doing an internship in counseling.

  13. You are so right with this post. We adopted one of our sons at the age of 5, prior to which he”d spent bounced to six different homes from the she of 8 months. It can be disheartening at times to feel as if no matter howich love you extend, you can only achieve just south in the way of them attaching. Nonetheless, it’s not about us but about them.

  14. Absolutely a great post. My heart is touched- thank you so much for sharing this. and I love JJ Heller songs.

  15. I am so thankful that 3 out of our 4 kids with RAD have healed. They now have remorse and empathy where before there was none. There are so many people including professionals that don’t have a clue about this disorder. It was a RAD forum and the parents there that taught me. I am thankful that there is more out there now on the internet about it. There are many facebook support groups.

  16. Beautiful post, with such honesty. Thank you for addressing what happens when these children become adults. They don’t simpley “grow out of” things. You posting points to why it is so absolutely critical to care for children we bring into this world.

  17. As always I believe you’re a wonderful person for adressing these subjects, you truely have the biggest heart and inspire me. 🙂

  18. I had never heard of RAD before – I’ve heard of attachment theory though so it sounds like the long term effect of attachment going wrong. Really interesting and lovely post, it’s touching how much you clearly love them all. Xxx

  19. This post really got to me, and may have helped explain something I’ve been wondering about for a long time now: the increase in violent crimes. Many of these people I see being arrested have parents who grew up in the “ME FIRST” era… many of whom didn’t want the children they brought into this world. How many of these people have RAD? No empathy, no emotion beyond their own will and desire. Unfortunately, no quick fix if any fix at all.

    You continue to astound and inspire me with your love and understanding in a sometimes thankless task.

  20. Reblogged this on Shadow in the Mirror and commented:
    How heartbreaking. I can say if it wasn’t for my siblings loving me I would have grown up so much worse. Even now I still have difficulty with social situations and trusting others. There’s this wariness that never ebbs completely. There’s this expectation that everyone will let me down eventually because no one is really that kind, no one is really that good. There are things I will never understand about the ways people interact, things that were denied me that I’ll never get back. My partner always wanted to try to fill that hole but that is impossible. I only know that something vital is missing that can never be restored. I cannot write about normal people because I do not understand normal. I cannot relate. Maybe this means I miss out on a lot but luckily I have found other ways to go on. I have found other ways not to lash out at others or myself. I’m working toward my own balance even though it will never look like most people’s.

  21. great post on an important topic – and the song is the perfect accompaniment to your words

  22. smile breathe and go slowly said:

    Who will love me…my favorite song by JJ Heller 🙂 you really put my life into perspective as I struggle with my own kids and their varying degrees of anxiety… thank you

  23. What a beautiful song. Thanks for sharing. And for your empathic description of living with RAD.

  24. May God bless you for the time you have spent with your children and for the patience you continue to show. I hope some of the message you are teaching gets through, for your sake as well as theirs.

  25. this post made me really appreciate the wonderful job being done by foster and adoptive parents, it is just such a shame that we have to wait until children have been so badly damaged before they can be removed from abusive or neglectful parents. As you so rightly point out the missing connections in their brains cannot just be replaced and the best you can do is to train them to behave in a normal fashion. Fortunately nothing is impossible for God and I am sure that the prayers and the spirit led love you lavish on the children does make a huge difference. I wish you and your family all the best in the future, with God’s help they will grow up to be a credit to you.

  26. Thanks so much for the enlightening post. I had never heard of RAD before, but you helped me to quickly recognize that this is exactly what has happened to my niece. Born to a drug-addicted mother, neglected and placed in a foster home at the age of two. An adult now, and still an inveterate liar. I now have the insight that I lacked. I believe you will open the eyes of many others with your good works and good words. God bless!

    • I have such empathy for your niece…she is so similar to my own adopted children. It is easy for people to be angry and indignant that relatives with such a history turn out the way they do. It is only by understanding that their brains are wired that way can people possibly be a little more understanding.

  27. Good words of wisdom. I recognise the challenges with stealing. Friends our adopted a Chinese girl, but despite pouring in masses of love she took this trait into adulthood. Did they fail as parents? I think not, like you say the damage was done in those first tender years with her birth parents.

    Other friends used to foster kids born to young Mum’s in prison. They went on to adopt one. They struggle daily Attention Deficit Disorder, but the root cause here was alcohol whilst the babe was still in the whom.

    Real love keeps on giving, but not many of have that inner strength to keep on going.

    And don’t get me started on the damage caused to kids by smoking parents…..

  28. Thank you. As a child welfare worker, I saw so many children like this. Families that took them in were stymied by the youngster’s lack of response to the love lavished on them. I saw goodhearted caregivers reject these children because they could not cope with their behavior. I imagine they suffered guilt and self-doubt as a result. If these parents were given more information about RAD, they could better cope. People with RAD don’t need excuses for being like they are, but they certainly need compassion and understanding. Thank you for sticking by your children despite all they put you through.

  29. Very moving words to the song. I understand the behavior symptoms you write about. Can you link this to adults who abuse their wives, children and parents? Strange that rage in adults often continues well into their senior years when you would expect them to have figured out that anger and evil behavior only makes people avoid them more. Reading your post, I have to wonder…

  30. couldn’t agree with you more…the experiences in first few years of a child’s life will determine who the child is as an adult…sadly so many people either don’t understand this or aren’t in a position themselves to care!!! great post…

  31. Your children are very lucky to have a mom who supported them and worked so hard to help them feel love and accepted. I myself was adopted when I was two years old. My mother had to give me up for adoption after my biological father had tried to take her life. The adoption agency never told my adoptive parents about my families history. It was unfortunate, I think they could have saved a lot of heartache in our family.

    My adoptive mother felt that she was never able to bond with me because I was already bonded with my biological mother. She had difficulty accepting any challenging behaviors I presented with. She once told me that she was “hoping for a lovely little girl that she could bake cookies with and have fun doing mother-daughter things.” She said instead “she got this dysfunctional little girl who she was never able to form a close relationship when I was young.”

    As you can imagine, it didn’t make for the best childhood, but we have since moved on. My mother says had she known about the abuse in my family prior to my adoption perhaps things would been different because they could have gotten us all therapy. She said it also explained many of my behaviors as a toddler.

    I was lucky to have a strong support group outside of my family and grew into a healthy adult. Your children are lucky they will never have to reach outside the loving support and understanding you provide for them every day.

    • Ohhhhhhhh, I have such empathy for you. I hate to think that adoptive moms like yours are the norm, but all too often I hear such moms complain about the behavior of their kiddos…
      Congratulations on finding good supports outside of your family. I don’t even know you, but I am proud of you for overcoming it to be a healthy adult!

  32. Thank you for more than a definition or explanation of RAD, but for the personal stories of what it means in a person’s life. I wholeheartedly agree with your idea about the baby brain not being properly wired when it doesn’t get what it needs during the first several months of life. The song you shared is more than beautiful; it left me in a puddle of tears. Thank you.

  33. A beautiful post about a topic I knew very little about. Thank you for writing about this and sharing your knowledge and experience on RAD. There is so much below the surface we can’t see and as such, we should not judge.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head. When I see a lone gunman who shoots down a group of people, I not only see a murderer, but I also see the tragic beginnings which “made” him. Not that it is any excuse or excusable, it just “is”.

  34. My ex husbands family is a hodge podge mix of 5 kids from 2 marriages his mom had, and 2 additional step siblings in her 3rd. All these kids are now adults, and a few of them have children. My ex husband and I brought 3 into the world. The youngest son from their family has a daughter who is 2 and a half. She was born in Colorado, and last year the small family moved back home in with his parents. Immediately noticing that the couple was on a down hill spiral with drugs, and the baby was very obviously in some mental distress my ex in laws called Cps workers in and became the rigorous task of becoming the babies legal guardians, and letting the state manage and mandate the parents program to get their lives right and be the kind of parents their daughter deserves. Well, both parents have throw up their hands and walked a way. Neither had any kind of visible bond with the baby, and were in no hurry to form one. They aren’t even in the same state anymore. But, I have a wonderful relationship with my ex in laws and am quite involved in my nieces life. She is on her way to becoming adopted by her grandparents. But her diagnosis is RAD. At first she called every woman she encountered mom, the men dad. It was heartbreaking to watch this baby on her seemingly endless search for her parents. And because she had never had those child/parent formative bonds with her parents she had no clue what she was looking for. With her diagnosis we all had to learn how to interact with her to help her learn to form bonds with everyone. We reaffirm and are repetitive of our names and titles, like I am aunt Jeni, my daughter is cousin Jaymi, the little girl from daycare is friend Kate. But because of her dissociation with Mom and Dad, those titles were pushed to the side and Grandma and Grandma were brought forth and great emphasis was placed on them.
    Any how to end my ramble I will tell you what my observations have led me to understand. When you cannot associate an emotional response to people, their titles, the place they hold in your life it’s headed to find a guilt response to lying, or stealing, or harming them. Almost like there is no conscience or feeling of remorse. I just hope that it was caught early enough in my niece to help turn it around. For her benefit. Because no matter what happens I won’t give up on her, I just hope I never have to hide my silverware from her. ….j/k. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you for sharing. You are so right about the absence of remorse, no conscience. I guess to have a conscience would be to admit that you care what other people think, and for infants and toddlers who weren’t loved, they had to turn off that response because no one DID care!

  35. You are describing my 18 year old niece and former foster child of mine to a T. She has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and had she been diagnosed early it would be RAD. I tried everything I could to help her but she is living with an abusive man now having miscarriages and doing drugs. So sad. What hope do they have? You sound like an amazing person.

    • Yes, Borderline Personality Disorder “nails” it…no remorse, think they think the world revolves around them, no concern for others. It is a sorrowful disorder…and everyone else around them just has to watch as life dissolves…so sad.

      • I got her into McLean Hospital in Boston for a month of intensive DBT. I learned DBT as well and it’s beautiful when it works. She was using it and getting results. Once she turned 18 she dropped everything and refused to go to treatment and take any medications. Without DBT she will never get better.

      • I am so sorry to hear that. Someone in my family has been involved with McLean Hospital also…fabulous place, but, as you said, once they turn 18 they have the right to choose. It is so sad.

  36. Linda, I must take a few moments to share with you the incredible testimony you have provided with your post. As I have already explained, I love your post and the insights you provide. But this went a step further.

    When I first read your post, I skipped over the lyrics and the link to the song and went on to other things (I don’t click on links all that much). But something drew me back to your blog. I couldn’t help thinking I needed to listen to that song. And I did so.

    Well, if you read my blog, you know that my wife and I are currently living with her mother, who pastors a small church. On Friday, she shared with me a little about the sermon she was planning to deliver on Sunday. The next day (Saturday) was when I was drawn back to your blog and the song. As soon as I heard it, I thought “That’s it! The essence of Mom’s sermon.” I handed her my headphones to listen to the song and she agreed. I typed up the lyrics.

    Now, keep in mind that I had never heard this song before and never heard of JJ Heller. Mom phoned one of the parishioners who has two teenage daughters to ask if they could perhaps learn and sing this song at the service. Turned out they were already familiar with this song! They performed it in church this morning and it sounded just like the angels. Afterward, Pastor Mom read the lyrics and referred to them several times in her sermon.

    And so today my hat is off to you and I thank you deeply for your influence on our congregation this morning. It goes to show that you never know what positive things our blogs will bring to people we don’t know who live thousands of miles away! God bless you.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this song…I got goose bumps reading your message. This song never ceases to bring tears to my eyes, and I am so thrilled that this loving message was shared with others.

  37. This is a beautiful and very eye-opening post. As a teacher I have seen so many of these RAD kids, and so many of them run afoul of the disciplinary systems schools put in place. More room needs to be set aside for helping these kids to make their way in a world that is not always kind to them. I am really impressed by how many lengthy and heartfelt responses your post has generated. Thank you for sharing with me.

  38. As an adult who was adopted at 2, I have always struggled with what today is called RAD. Back when I was younger it was called an ungrateful brat, a selfish young lady. My mum was considered a saint. What a wonderful thing she did, giving me a forever family. And only to have me act out the way I did. Looking back I can’t imagine what it was like to have to deal with the crap I did. I will harbour guilt for that. That being said only once did anyone ever acknowledge that my behaviour stemmed from those traumatic first years. And that person was told that I must have manipulated him. I give u kudos for understanding that though some reactions and behaviours are ingrained in “us” we are still worthy of love. Hard to explain, but reading your words made me wish that my mum and the professionals got what you got figured out. 🙂

    • The reason I wrote the post was because of what you described, being called a “brat” and so forth…I would love adoptive parents to know that it is not a choice to behave that way, but just the way it is wired in the brain. You have nothing to feel guilty about, and I hope that you have been able to carve out a nice life for yourself where you can feel loved.

  39. Lovely post. It has always seemed cruel to me that there’s a magic age at which children are expected to become ‘responsible adults’. Some children need a bit more time before their tantrums are called ‘domestic abuse’.

  40. Reblogged this on Handicap and commented:
    Why do some people fail to give other human beings what they need, or what they deserve? Is this a learned behavior, yes. And sometimes we are not the ones that instilled that behavior in somebody, but yet we’re the ones that have to deal with it. That can be hard for everybody involved. Even though we try to make a difference, no matter how hard we try it’s going to be an ongoing battle and in this case it’s going to be a little bit here and there a constant back and forth action. Kind of like a teeter totter. The problem with a teeter totter is it’s not equal. So you may feel like your getting nowhere, but yet you are.

    • Although many of our kids that have RAD learn many bad behaviors that isn’t the problem. Our kids that don’t have RAD pick up things too. The difference is that our kids with RAD have no remorse or empathy. Therefore they aren’t sorry for the things that they do and they don’t care what consequence you give them. This is because the front part of their brain didn’t develop. Also our kids have done many things that they learned on their own. Like peeing in her vents or pooping in her dresser…..

      • Behavior disorders have to be the most difficult to deal with. Especially when they don’t respond to any discipline or any consequence you try to give them. I don’t know much about RAD, but if you ever need just a sounding board to talk about any ideas you may have I know sometimes two heads are better than one, and sometimes it just takes someone from the outside to see something you may be missing or you may not have tried. I know my family has been willing to try everything for me. I’m pretty sure you are that way to and sometimes it just takes a fresh head to think up stuff of things that might work. I admire you for having the patience to deal with a disease like RAD. I know some of the most difficult diseases can be the most rewarding at times and can be the most difficult at times. That’s where your patience comes into play. It has to be the most difficult thing to do not losing your patience at times. Again I admire you for having the patience to be able to deal with this sort of thing.

      • I lose my patience plenty of times lol and yes we always need fresh ideals that is what I love about the support groups on fb but at the same time being in them you have to becareful because some will dash your hopes. Our kids can heal!!!!! Our kids have healed because we pray over them. Our 18 year old said one thing that helped him was I always spoke life over them. I alwats said they would heal. No matter how rough it has been I never started counting down days until I was no longer responsible. I don’t look down on anyone that does because this is hard………

      • It is hard but it’s never hard when you are doing it for the Lord. You are doing it for the Lord for some reason he makes your struggles seem like nothing, not at the time your going through them. But when you have time to look back at them like “why did i think that was so hard”, it was hard but it was easy because you had God as the main emphasis. You always have to have God as the main emphasis otherwise you do fall in that slump where your counting down the days until your not responsible, but the truth is you may never not be responsible because they may never get your trust enough to leave them out on their own. That always has to be in the back of your mind…”will I ever trust them enough to be on their own?” But the truth is you can’t worry about that, if you did you will always be worried. God will take you and them where he wants you to be. You may not understand that at the time but you will understand that eventually. I know because there’s a lot of things I didn’t understand, and now I understand them. There’s a lot of things today that I don’t understand and I have to look at them with faith and courage that they turn out the way that God wants them to be.

      • With God all things are possible……and that is a big thing that I have worried about….. when they are on their own and how will they do….. our oldest has PSTD I worry about him being alone and having flashbacks…… every parent worries about their kids but you are right God has got them ……

      • God is got him tightly in His arms and won’t let him go. You just have to step back and let him go when the time is right. If you have a decision to make, in that matter consider pondering it over very carefully. If you don’t have a decision to make in that matter you just have to let it go and trust in the Lord. He will take care of him and provide for him. I know that maybe the hardest thing for you to do in his lifetime. But it will be the right thing to do.

      • I just thought of something that might help all your kids. Have you ever heard of an organization called Canines for Independence? Your family might not be a candidate for a service dog but they have another list for release dogs. They are fully trained but they have been released from the program either because they were too old to be placed or they did not pass the physical which they must before placement. Otherwise they are perfectly behaved and great champion dogs. I know this because I have one that is working for me presently. He is my third working dog.

      • You know I was thinking the other day that he needs a service dog that way the dog would help him …….. I will check and see if maybe he can qualify for one but if not like you said maybe we can get one. Or even train one of our dogs……. we have one that I think could do it…….

      • We just went through some really hard times. My husband was in a wreck and it triggered lots of flashbacks and now he has had so many so close together that he has started having seizures. He will blackout and we can’t get him to respond but then he will start shaking and we can wake him up and a service dog could do that or even be trained to get him out of a flashback……

      • That is the agency I went with. If this agency does not have what you want, I am sure they would help you find what you need. Be sure the agency you go with uses an animal that is neutered. Because some agencies don’t require the animals to be neutered. The agency I went with neuters all their animals. I would not recommend going with an animal that has not been neutered. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

      • Thank you so much!

      • Yes! A wonderful idea. I would recommend getting one trained, however. A “regular” dog is good, but is not trained to respond in certain situations.

      • So now please pray that we can do this for him …..I know it’s expensive because I have a friend that is trying to raise money for one now …….

      • I have to tell y’all that God healed our son at church Sunday morning. All of his seizures and blacking out has completely stopped!!!!


      • That is such a great suggestion. We had a service dog…she was actually a 6 year old retired Guide Dog that someone gave to us because of Marie’s difficulties. The dog geared herself towards my son with the “worst” disability, (Dissociative Identity Disorder,) and she was amazing. When he was having a particularly difficult time she would lay by his side. This wonderful friendship lasted until Angel graduated high school last year…that German Shepherd lived to the ripe old age of 16 and a half, and passed away a few months after graduation. Here is a link to the story if anyone is interested.


  41. I have a dear friend with a daughter with RAD that has been dealing with situations like this over and over. I pray your dear daughter will somehow understand your love, see God’s love for her, and allow Him to work in her life. The song lyrics also touched my heart, thank you!

  42. Wow. Just wow. I really didn’t know this.

    Is RAD “permanent” in that they will be like this their entire lives? It seems like in most other ways childrens’ brains can be “rewired” to some extent, especially regarding trust issues and right and wrong, well into the 20s. Are there established treatments?

    • I am not too familiar with the treatments, except what I’d practiced when they were younger, swaddling them, rocking with them on my lap, making eye contact and telling them they are loved. I think it did assist my children in feeling a little bit more connected, but the symptoms of lying, stealing and being ego-centric have remained, and I am convinced as adults they will be the same way. They have been taught to think of others, (an attempt to get them to feel empathy,) but, if push comes to shove, they will chose themselves each and every time.

      • Our oldest son’s RAD was only moderate he had no remorse for anything but he did have empathy. He is now 18 and almost completely healed from his RAD not only does he have remorse when he does something wrong but also takes ownership. Last Christmas while we were at my brother’s house he had a funny look on his face and was really quite. I kept asking him if he was ok and he said yes. When we left he sent me a text message and he said mom I really do love them now. For the first time I really love nana and papa and he named everyone else. He had been with us for 13 years but didn’t love them.

      • Thank you so much for sharing. That is a wonderful story…

      • Now 3 to go…….. lol

  43. serengetipoodle said:

    Reblogged this on Serengeti Poodles and commented:
    A very touching personal point of view on Reactive Attachment Disorder. It’s good to hear an opinion from someone so close and caring for people with RAD, so we can relate more of our experiences to them. Thanks for posting! 🙂

  44. amazingopportunitiesnresources said:

    This is a very nice post. Thank you for sharing your experiences! It is encouraging to know that someone out there is experiencing similar issues you find yourself faced with.

  45. Can I share this on our open Patches Family Foundation- RAD facebook?

    • Most certainly! It sounds like you have more experience with it than I do! I appreciate the support, and I love to hear of other people’s stories. (I only have my own to compare it to!)

  46. Hey Linda, This is Christine Sun from eBook Dynasty here. This is a wonderful post, and the second time I hear about this song “Love Me” in the recent month… Can I have your permission to translate, publish and promote this post in Chinese via our website and associated social media platforms? More people need to know about this and care. Looking forward to hearing from you! Cheers, Christine Sun.

  47. What a calling. God knew who to put in their lives! I also love that song 🙂

  48. May Jesus heal every broken heart.

  49. This is such a touching post. I can’t wait to read more from you.

  50. Thanks for your post as it may have helped me to realize one of my youngest “issues” that she is going through and the cause – I also mentioned you in my Blog – and linked you in for this to direct others..

  51. You really nailed it here. I have a child with RAD. We’ve been in therapy with a RAD specialist for about 8 months now. I can relate to most of what you described. She follows the rules because those are our house rules. If I let her go with my parents for an afternoon and they aren’t careful she will make her own rules. She regularly asks to live with friends and family whom she believes has “better” toys or less supervision.

  52. I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. If you choose to accept, you will need to tell us 7 things about yourself and nominate 15 other bloggers for this award. Details here: http://amapofcalifornia.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/the-versatile-blogger/ Congratulations!

    • Thank you so much for the nomination! I am, however, limited in my time and I would not be able to complete the award requirements as indicated. Thanks for the thought, though!

  53. Thank you. This post rings every bell.

  54. From an ink smeared page said:

    You’re right about the brain being wired differently. But after recently attending a course as part of foster care training the instructor encouraged us all with a comment about ‘neuroplasty’: where the brains CAN be retrained. It sounds like you’re doing an awesome job with your kids. As someone said to me, “nothing you do for these kids is wasted.”

    • I am thinking that this “neuroplasty” (which sounds GREAT!) would be best done when the kiddos are small and their brains are still developing. That is wonderful news! One problem may be that parents don’t recognize RAD as RAD, but rather as willful, disobedient, lying unloving kids. All three of my youngest adopted kids were not diagnosed with RAD but with a whole slew of other things….

      • From an ink smeared page said:

        I don’t know all the facts about RAD but I do want to say that you are making such a positive difference in your kids lives.

  55. Oh the lyrics to that song made me cry.

    I think its great you have brought this issue in to the open. I think I know some people who have this problem. Thanks again for sharing.

  56. It is so true, many people with troubles as adult have RAD, often never diagnosed. I work with families of such children sometimes, and I have to say that I deeply respect the work that you do as an adoptive mom!!!

  57. As an adoptive mom of twins with RAD, thank you for this post!

  58. There are two really positive and successful modalities that work to rewire the brain of someone with RAD: neurological reorganization and neurofeedback. You can google each to find out more. In our situation, my son was about 80% cured of RAD with NR. He still lies and has some problems with impulse control, but he’s held down a job for 2years, is graduating high school 6 months early and has 3 job offers. Oh, and he also just made Eagle Scout. He started NR when he was 15 so the brain can change at any age. Prior to NR he’d been in Juvvie for a summer, skipped school nearly daily, stole a car, dealt drugs and attempted suicide. Change is possible, but in my experience you have to look beyond conventional therapies to find the right help. Most doctors don’t understand RAD and haven’t researched options for healing. We just have to do it ourselves.

  59. You did a great job of explaining this issue in a personal way that helped me to understand the challenges. Thank you for your openness.

  60. I completely agree with you here! I have often come to the same conclusions on this subject.

  61. My heart goes out to you, not for pity as I know you don’t want it, but as filled with joy, this was very heart-felt. Thank you for taking the time to write this and giving us a small piece of insight into your life. I have 2 daughters, both with disabilities. Fun times I always say.

    • Thank you for such a nice comment. You really do “get” me!
      Having kiddos with disabilities is a real challenge for sure…but I always tend to focus on the positive things. If I focused on the negative things #1 no one would ever want to read my blog and #2 I’D GO CRAZY!!!!!

  62. What a post and what a song! How positive and strong you are! Those kids are very fortunate to have you instilling all those amazing values in them. You are an inspiration.

  63. I was always moved by the concept of loving those who are not always able to love us..the ultimate expression of God.wish i could say i was like that andi do try to be…it takes a strong human being to do that.

    • I think my ability to do so stems from my childhood and my mom’s example. We traveled almost ALL the time so I wasn’t in school much. I had to learn to just make friends and not care so much what they thought. It is easy to love my kiddos unconditionally because I have such empathy for what they went through when they were young. My youngest 3 had lives you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Understanding where they are coming from makes it easier for me not to feel bad if they don’t love me wholeheartedly.

  64. This is a beautiful post. I have nothing but admiration and respect for you in caring for these children. It must be so difficult and frustrating at times and yet you never give up. Your RAD kids may not understand “love”, but you do with all of your heart.

  65. Thank you for a balanced and informative post about RAD. There is so much misinformation about it.

    Just wondering if you have come across the work of Dr Dan Hughes? He does work with foster and adopted children addressing guilt and empathy within a family therapy context.

  66. You opened my eyes to a lot. My gratitude is big as the moon.

  67. Hey there! I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award, please know that you are amazing and keep up the good work! 🙂 Here are the rules: http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/vba-rules/

    / Jessica, host of mewethem.wordpress.com

  68. Thank you for this powerful, honest post! I’ve learned so much about the unconditional love of God as He enables me day after day to love kids who are so afraid to trust, so terrified that love will go away. You are an inspiration to me to keep going!

  69. Thank you for this post, even if may be out of character for you. I never had children because it isn’t my calling. But it’s never been impossible. Yet I’m afraid I wouldn’t have loved them. I had no idea of the repercussions which you’ve described here. I might have given my children RAD. I am so thankful to understand that my decision was so strongly in the best interest of those children never conceived. You are amazing and wonderful for loving those who were just born to the wrong people.

  70. I am inclined to agree with you. That abandonment complex runs very deep. Affecting all future attachments. Thanks for sharing.

  71. This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

  72. very important information everyone should read and be aware of.
    a friend has been struggling with his on/off relationship with this girl, i’m thinking it has something to do with this disorder….

    • Most likely…my son Steven is having problems because he always thinks of himself first, he can’t empathize and he has absolutely no conscience for doing something wrong, (always blames something or someone else.)

  73. I feel very humble. You are an inspiration.

  74. I am so sorry that you have to shoulder this huge burden and thankful that you feel compelled to share your pain…I can see the strength in you driven by your love of your child and it is sad that because of RAD your child cannot appreciate or see what a wonderful person and mother you are…good luck and thanks for sharing again…so much to learn from your experience.

    • I shared this experience because I know of several adoptive parents who treat such a child as “bad”. Such children will inevitably grow up to be completely dysfunctional adults. It’s so sad.

  75. Thanks for connecting and visiting my blog. I can’t wait to take some time and explore yours, especially this article. If you’d like a free copy of my book to review on your blog, let me know. It’s small but, I think, informative.

    Nutshell Newsletter Press

  76. Thank you for sharing! I know it is different than what people go through but I suspect dogs also experience it as well. I adopted my Yorkie at the age of 10 so will never know what his beginnings were really like. I think he was from a loving home because he is so loving now but others out there aren’t as lucky. I feel for each and every soul that isn’t given a chance to start the world being loved.

  77. What a beautiful post. LOVE the words of the song you share at the end. Thank you.

  78. Wow! Absolutely beautiful!! Thank you for sharing your journey, what a privilege to meet someone like you.

  79. […] The Truth about Reactive Attachment Disorder (5kidswdisabilities.com) […]

  80. One of my favorite songs and a perfect attendant to your post. Thank you for sharing your story. What an inspiration you are!

  81. You obviously love yourself enough to show such deep respect and gratitude for your role in these children’s lives. You are operating at a high level of consciousness and it is noticed and inspiring. Thank you.

  82. Praise be to God for you! You are an angel in disguise.

  83. Reblogged this on A Little Bit of Everything and commented:
    This blog post touched my heart. Please read!

  84. keeping it all together with 7 kids said:

    Thank you for the explanation of RAD. so many people don’t know about or understand this condition. I have a friend who’s foster daughter was diagnosed with it. Prettiest little girl who was so abused by her mother and to look at her you would marvel at how well she’s handling things…

  85. I am glad you liked one of my recent blog posts and I now came across your site. I have three children with special needs. A five year old high functioning autistic child. He is our biological son. Two adopted children from Moscow. The 12 year old girl was adopted when 1. She is RAD, bi polar, ADD, aspergers. The 16 year old boy was adopted at age 1. He has ADD, depression, anxiety, a past history of stealing, lying. I will read through your posts. Thanks.

    • I suspect that the tiny brains of children who were not loved and cared for as infants generally develop neurons that switch the brain chemistry to learn they cannot depend on adults, so the only way they can survive is to tell themselves it doesn’t matter, and therefor learn to only care about themselves. It’s not their fault any more than it is the fault of someone who has schizophrenia to have that disease. I suspect your 16 year old also has RAD, thus the lying and stealing, (classic symptoms.) I have such empathy for you raising your kiddos…

    • Do you have a support group for your child that has RAD.

      • I have never heard of a support group for kiddos with RAD, although I’m sure they exist. I think many times it goes undiagnosed…in my mind, if the kiddo sincerely thinks it is okay to lie and steal, and they did not have a warm and fuzzy infancy, they have RAD. (I know it is an oversimplification, but it explains why so many prisoners had horrible childhoods!) A support group would be great because it is such a frustrating condition…you can love them to pieces, but their little brains have taught them they can’t depend on others. Those early years are SOOOO important.

      • I am an admin in one support group in fb but there are quite a few. You are right that many go undiagnosed. So many professionals are clueless. The parents knows more than most therapist and doctors. Most support groups are closed that way you can come and vent to people that understands and no one else can see it. We also have an open group called Patches family foundation – RAD . The closed fb support group for patches is Surviving Reactive Attachment Disorder and the one I am an admin is Reactive Attachment Disorder …. be sure if you go to this one to let me know because we try to keep it small. There are several good ones but some harsh ones as well ……. sometimes we feel a lone on our Journey. Of course we always have God but there are so many that just don’t understand.

      • Do not. However have a close friend with a child with similar issues. We talk and support each other. We also have a therapist and behavioral specialist.

      • I am glad you have a friend that sure helps …..if you would like to be in a support group let me know. Does the therapist know what RAD is and how to treat it? A big way to know is that they should never be in therapy without you. That’s a big clue. Our kids were in therapy and dx’d with RAD for two years before I found out what it really was. A really good book that will give you hope is De-tached by Jessie Hogsett he is a RAD survivor

      • We have been through some extremely difficult times when I did not know if we would make it. Right now we are in a good spot. The oldest two are very loving to us and attached to us. They also both are very close to each other. We just kept loving them and disciplining them and getting them the help they deserved. My daughter had to spend 1 1/2 years outside of the home from age 7 to 8 1/2, a dozen hospitalizations along the way and a 90 day stay in residential. I have shared this site with my wife too.

      • That is awesome! So many families have no hope. All of ours has healed a lot. Last year my husband was in a wreck and it caused our 10 year old to regress really bad but I know how he was before so I know he will bounce back.

  86. I just wanted to say that I have been quietly following your blog. This post really spoke to me because I was of the exact same thought process in 1999. I expected abused and manipulated children to love me because I loved them. I was young, idealistic, and didn’t have any understanding of how to work with trauma. Now, thirteen years after helping my husband get custody of his three children, I have a broken home, a wrongly imprisoned man to support, no income, and my own two boys sexually molested by their step-siblings.

    It is very hard to get beyond the ‘drama’ of this terrible hurt, and to get to a place of love and understanding. With God’s help, I am much closer, but still can’t write about our experiences, so it is both sad, yet uplifting to see your posts.

    I see that your blog is an outlet for folks like me to help make people aware of how important this type of love is, yet it is a very hard load to bear, and an unconditional love that doesn’t develop overnight. Through this type of suffering we are more receptive to humanity as a whole, and it helps us to connect to each other in a new way.

    Thank you for being strong enough to carry through with your work, and for allowing us to share in this journey with you. It strengthens my resolve to carry on, and help others as I continue to heal, and still find ways to love …..

    • Oh my word I am so sorry…… I can’t imagine what you are going through. I will be praying for you ….. I hope you have support. Do you still have his kids?

      • Oh no…this all started in 2009, and was so contrived and just a very strange tale of racial profiling, discrimination and unconstitutional in and of itself, but the children were just pawns of their mother. I have learned many things and have grown tremendously, and we look closer and closer to perhaps getting a retrial. Yes, prayers are great, and much needed to help him survive. blessings, Rochelle

      • We will be praying for y’all ….

  87. I appreciate your candor with this post. RAD is a major concern of mine as I embark on the adoption process. I hadn’t considered a 2-year-old an “older” child, but frankly by then the damage is hard to erase. 😦

    • RAD is a spectrum disorder and can be mild to severe. Knowledge is power. So you will be able to be more prepared than most. So many times parents go into and don’t have a clue that their child is even RAD and it may take years before they find out. Time is precious so study on it now so you can be prepared. RAD isn’t a death sentence …… we would do it again. We have 4 that have/had RAD. Two have healed completely…..one almost healed…..sigh one to go…..

  88. I believe that you are right about the brains being wired differently. I am very sure that mindfulness training may help.
    Prayers for you… and wishing you all a very happy New Year
    ~ Eric

  89. Having worked in a Special School in Canberra, Australia; I could always tell which children had been loved. We had many intellectually challenged children who had not experienced love and their difficulties were always greater than the loved child. Amazingly tragic stories, and as you say so many end up in jail. I do admire your persistence in sharing your loving home. Blessings and love! Barbara

  90. lucywatson676 said:

    Thanks for liking my blog post. I just wanted to say that one of my children experienced the loss of his Father and stepfather in his life. He is a wonderful, happy and well adjusted little boy but he has had one constant in his life and that is me. I think the love of a parent can shine through and with consistency they will know, deep down in their hearts that somebody loves them and always will. The song moved me to tears.

  91. Beautiful, heartfelt post. I enjoyed it very much. Your children are blessed to have you in their lives.

  92. So blessed after reading this and thanks for sharing this issue so close to your heart. When God is real in your children’s lives, anything will be possible! Keep sowing into their lives!

  93. […] around on various topics to hear what this Mama had to say, and I came across this post about the truth about reactive attachment disorder.  I felt I was reading my own thoughts, my own heart.  She linked to a song at the bottom of the […]

  94. BeckyInTexas said:

    I am new to blogging and read very few blog posts on a daily basis, as my time is limited. For some reason, this one popped up as a suggestion for me to read. I didn’t know what RAD was, but started reading. I was completely mesmerized as I realized how badly I needed this information. RAD completely describes my dad and his 5 siblings – all but one who died before the age of 57 years old. It all makes sense now. So many puzzle pieces about their behavior and downward spiral, both individually and collectively, now seem clear to me. Thank you for a fantastic article and for explaining this issue. I have learned something today and I am so grateful for it!

    • Thank you so much for reading. RAD is an insidious disease that is caused by a lack of early emotional attachment. Babies who don’t learn to love and be loved have a very hard time loving and being loved as adults.

  95. antioppressionista said:

    Great post, very interesting and captivating. New learning for me – thank you! You’re an awesome Mom!

  96. […] Third, I found this excellent set of insights from a blog I enjoy following called five kids with disabilities: […]

  97. Thanks for telling your story. It must have been a heart-wrenching experience to be continuing to love the people who lie to you. You are such a patient and compassionate person.

  98. Thanks for visiting my blog. I raised a grandson with RAD, now 23, He came to us when he was 7 and the jury is still out whether he will live life in or out of jail. After 6 months in, he is certainly trying not to return, out almost a year, but his impulsivity and his inner rage are just more than he can sometimes control.

    The rage is like screaming in words what the little baby was screaming without words when no one would come, I think. He was chaptered out of the Army and has never held a job for very long… currently he is attending a community college.

    There were times I thought I would go crazy. There were times I locked myself away just to get 5 minutes of space where I could calm down. My own upset helped nothing. There were times I phoned another family member during a meltdown and just help up the phone, no on would have believe me otherwise.

    His wife recently did the same, called me and just held up the phone. Well, she was crying and screaming herself. Yes, wife. I don’t know how long it can last. And there is a beautiful baby.

    We had to call the police several times as he was in his later teens because he was so scary, and the rest of the family will have nothing to do with him after he stole from them and intimidated them. They won’t even talk to him on the phone, including both of his parents.

    A friend of mine adopted 2 Romanian orphan and wrote to me just today that she has been in the hospital after her grown daughter assaulted her.

    Reactive Attachment Disorder is a very tragic problem for everyone involved. Thanks for writing about it.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. My son, Steven, has a fiancé and new baby also. While I am thrilled that he has an adult life which resembles “normal”, I, too, worry about how long the union will last. It is a disorder that lasts a lifetime.

      • I know.
        Always happy to find a fellow traveler on this road. It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t been there. Thanks for posting.

      • Our oldest son has healed completely through prayer. Now 3 to go …. I am believing for their complete healing too ………

    • My husband told me that I needed to call his mom and let her hear our daughter. So I did……. but …… I dialed the wrong number. I hope she had a good therapist. LOL! You are right though most just don’t understand.

  99. I loved this post. One of my kids once asked to go home with a lady in the grocery store because she liked her cart better. I understand.

  100. […] The Truth about Reactive Attachment Disorder (5kidswdisabilities.com) […]

  101. Haywood_Ja-Blome said:

    What is wrong with you? Get educated. You have adopted two children with a major disorder. Instead of meeting them with compassion and reaching out to answer it, all you can say is a sob story about how it has effected you? The very premiss of the disorder is that one is unable to form a secure attachment with people because of what has happened to them in early childhood. Did you ever consider picking up a book on the disorder? not an online webmd type book, like a legitimate research journal from an actual developmental expert? I have no sympathy for someone who adopted these people and was not willing to except theselittle individuals for who they are. Sure it is easy to love a child with problems but once they get older and are adults, the fact that you were unsuccessful in equals forbearance of that same “unconditional” affection?

    • I apologize if you got the wrong impression. If you had read my book or the rest of my blog, you would know that I am NOT a complainer at all. I’ve raised and loved these kids, and accepted them fully. Our lives are changed drastically in order to provide a stabile and secure home for them. It has been very difficult but it has been worth it. At this point in time, they are functioning young adults with relationships with significant others. I would like to think that it has been my parenting that has led to their success. The reason I blogged about the whole RAD issue is because I didn’t want people to get the impression that raising them was easy. I write this happy joy joy blog and I was concerned that parents would think they were doing something wrong if their children behaved the way I described mine. This post was just an affirmation about the realities of RAD, even if you ARE a diligent, accepting, loving parent. It was to let them know that they are not alone…
      And I would never use the term “unsuccessful” to describe parenting children with disabilities, ANY disabilities. Parents try their best in their hearts to do what is right. Families need to work with what they have and, whatever the outcome, there is no looking back and saying “what if?” There is only moving forward in a positive, accepting manner.

    • Another small point to your comment is that my children were placed with us a “healthy”, (i.e. no problems.) It was therefore a surprise when RAD showed its head. When it did, I did do research, and actually worked on making them feel connected and loved, to the point of swaddling them in a blanket and laying them on my lap while I rocked them in a rocking chair, singing soft song, an activity they still remember with fondness. Again, this post was a description of the reality, despite having a loving, accepting mom. It was meant to validate the reality other parents of RAD children were living.

      • Gerry Straatemeier said:

        Everyone else on both sides of my grandson ‘s family refuse it have anything to do with him. They call him “damaged goods” because when he visited he lied and stole and made up fanciful stories and had rage attacks, and as an adult was intimidating. He scares them He scares me too. At 72 I do everything I can to help from afar, I will support his family when he spent all the money impulsively, talk with him on the phone and counsel with him when he is in jail, when he’s fighting with his wife, intervene to try to get him back on meds, but he cannot come back to live with me. I am not strong enoiugh physically. I lived with fear every day, and so did all the other people who raise RAD kids. People are traumatized when they pour all their love into such a child and get back things like “you’re going to wake up one morning with a knife in your back.” Or, when he was a teen to come home and find everything valuable has been sold. You work every day to love them anyway, to be there for them and try to reach their guarded heart. Like every Parent, you want the best for your child. One friend poured her retirement resources into treatment programs for the child who now as an adult just put her in the hospital after a brutal assault.
        If you have not been there, you have no way to understand, but believe me, all of us love our children, desperate to somehow avert tragedy, to try to make right what they did not receive. We need to support each other to love another day.

      • What a heartbreaking story. thank you for sharing. I think that their little brains were so damaged that they do not have the capacity to love others and to feel empathy. It is not their fault, but neither is it the fault of well meaning parents who try their best to try everything in the world and then some, to correct the situation. Heartbreaking all around. I would bet that 50% or more of the people in jail have a semblance of this disorder. You are right that we need to support and love each other…only those who have such children can truly appreciate the heartbreaking work that it is, often with no satisfactory end. My simplistic truth is that these parents will be rewarded in heaven. I also believe that the traumatized child who developed RAD through no fault of his/her own, and led an awful life, will also find peace in heaven.

  102. Thank you for posting this courageous story. You’ve helped me identify the problems with my nephew, a child born thousands of miles from me to parents who couldn’t find the time to care for him. They expected adult behavior from him when he was an infant and he learned as a baby that he couldn’t count on them for basic needs. He started showing quite young the actions of a seriously disturbed child, often being violent with others. He bit my mom, pinched his infant cousin, and was out of control at school. His parents forced him to fulfill their needs rather than helping him with his. Eventually his father went to jail and his mother gave him away. He is now under guardianship by a person who cares for him and has tried to integrate him equally into her family. I fear it was too late and that he may become an aggressive, violent adult.
    Your children are so lucky to have been adopted by you.

  103. RAD is extremely tough to work with. I commend you for making the effort. My kids don’t have RAD, but I have many of the same behavioral issues with my son damaging property and my daughter taking what she likes. Some days I just want to sit down and cry from how challenging it is, and I only have two children!

  104. Thanks for “liking” my recent post. Hope you get a chance to read more. Thanks also for your post about RAD. I have a close friend who adopted from China. One of the girls has RAD and basically split up the family. So serious! So sad! Hang in there! Blessings to you!

  105. Wow. Thank you for writing about this. I hadn’t heard the term RAD but the concept completely resonates. Wish we could do more as a society to educate and support people in responsible parenting practices. The consequences of ‘bad’ parenting (or lack thereof) truly do last a lifetime. I’m inspired to hear of your love and care for these children

  106. […] The Truth about Reactive Attachment Disorder | Raising 5 … http://5kidswdisabilities.com/She's the woman whose husband has run away. She'll go …. Even when they were 5 and 6 I would wrap them up in a big, soft blanket, sit them on my lap in a rocking chair, and watch our favorite nature channel on tv. …… That is wonderful news! One problem may be that parents don't recognize RAD as RAD, but rather as willful, disobedient, lying unloving kids. All three of my youngest adopted kids were not diagnosed with RAD but with a whole slew of other things… […]

  107. Noelene said:

    Thank you for sharing about RAD and your experiences of raising children! It has given me a far better insight into one of the members of my extended family. I enjoyed reading your blog so much.

  108. Thank you for the honesty of this post. How sad for these children and how hard it must be for you to continually love someone who may never return it. What I see hear is an incredible example of unconditional love in action.

  109. Beautifully honest, raw post. Thanks for sharing. I know others who are going through what you are. I can’t imagine how difficult it must sometimes be but would think knowing that your child(ren) have real, (I think too) physiological reasons for the ways in which they behave would at least make it easier to understand and deal with. God bless!

  110. Hello! You recently started following my blog, Waiting For Home. This was the first post I saw in connection with your blog and can I say, YES. As I was growing up, my family did foster care. We had teenage girls in the house most of the time, and some younger kids as well. No matter how long they were with us, no matter how close we grew,…. The RAD always came out. It came out in lies, in theft, in cutting words, in pushing people away because they were afraid to feel close. Or the very quick bond, superficial relationships that are over the top and have no depth. It was one of the most difficult things, especially with the ones who were deeply ingrained into our hearts- part of the family. I still have the hardest time explaining RAD to people, because they think you’re simply not loving the child enough. Thank you for hitting the nail on the head with this one!

  111. This is the first of your posts I have read so I don’t know how out of character it is, but it’s certainly very interesting and heartfelt (thanks for the link to the song). I have worked with a number of children in care as a teacher and although at times you see a great foster carer or adoptive parent can make the world of difference, there are certainly times children and young people come in with the most incredibly supportive and loving parents but simply can’t seem to ‘unlearn’ some of their more difficult behaviours. Really interesting to read about this form a parent’s perspective. Thank you.

  112. All I can think is what an amazing mom! You opened your heart and home unconditionally. Inspiring!!

  113. What a great and informative post. I’ve always wanted to adopt at some point and it’s great to have bloggers like you who provide insight into some of the things to expect and prepare for. All the best to you and your family.

  114. Wow, this is so heart breaking. It’s crushing to think that you can love and care for a child, but that doesn’t necessarily cancel out trauma that they’ve suffered in their early years.

    Thank you for sharing!

  115. Tanya Johns said:

    What an amazing feat you have taken on. Your struggles with children who have RAD is so courageous. So many people abandon children who are not “normal”. I work with children in group homes who suffer from various mental health issues and I also have a daughter who has probably inherited my fine genetics. It’s hard everyday, living in the moment and trying to figure out what comes next. Know that our difficulties today will bring hope for the future.

  116. I am glad you liked my blog. I have had attachment issues my whole life. However, today I am so grateful that I have someone who loves me for me, not for what I do or how I look. I didn’t think I would ever have these gifts in my life.

  117. My God…this is beautiful…YOU and your words and sharing…much needed this night! Thank YOU!

  118. Reblogged this on johannisthinking and commented:
    This is beautiful…all I can say…the courage and determination of this parent…for her children and all children…Please direct your likes and comments to: http://5kidswdisabilities.com/2013/11/09/the-truth-about-reactive-attachment-disorder/#comment-13346

  119. […] This is beautiful…all I can say…the courage and determination of this parent…for her children and all children…Please direct your likes and comments to: http://5kidswdisabilities.com/2013/11/09/the-truth-about-reactive-attachment-disorder/#comment-13346 […]

  120. This is incredibly heartbreaking and I feel for all of you. Prayers…

  121. This is such an interesting topic. My latest post is about children and resiliency. I would love to hear your reaction to my post.


  122. Your words resonate deep as I have two adopted children, one, my 16 yr old boy, who has been diagnosed with RAD, learning disorder, autism and a handful of other issues. My heart breaks for the reality of his friendless future and painstaking endeavors to function in our society. Thanks for sharing!

  123. Reblogged this on Crystal Adoptions' Blog and commented:
    What a wonderful post to go along with the one I posted recently about children with special needs. Please visit this blog if you have the chance! http://5kidswdisabilities.com

  124. Reblogged this on Good Parenting at Every Stage and commented:
    This is a great article.

  125. This is an incredible post. I’d never heard of RAD but it makes perfect sense that tinies end up losing themselves when they’re starved of human interaction. You are doing an amazing job for your kids and thank you for educating me. Very best wishes xx

  126. […] As brightly as I may portray our family, (and they ARE wonderful children whom I have never regretted adopting,) they have serious disabilities when it comes to social norms. They have reactive attachment disorder. To quote from Wikipedia, “RAD arises from a failure to form normal attachments to primary caregivers in early childhood. Such a failure could result from severe early experiences of neglect, abuse, abrupt separation from caregivers between the ages of six months and three years, frequent change of caregivers, or a lack of caregiver responsiveness to a child’s communicative efforts. The AACAP guidelines state that children with reactive attachment disorder are presumed to have grossly disturbed internal models for relating to others”.  READ MORE HERE… […]

  127. Thank you so much for your honesty and openness about living with RAD children. We adopted a 4 year old girl from China a little over six years ago and have experienced the same things you have. I think the aspect of RAD that really bothers me is the chronic lying. I weep for my daughter that one day she will be set free from all these lies and know she is truly loved unconditionally. It is nice to know you are not alone in the journey.

    • Yes, the lying….I think they actually believe what they say! And will fight and argue to defend that the lie is the truth! I can tell they are lying by the extent of the arguments that are full of details!

  128. 5288chandler said:

    Reblogged this on fromtheheartx2 and commented:
    This hits so close to home. I can not say it better.

  129. 5288chandler said:

    Thank you for sharing. Words cannot express this feeling to know I am not alone.

  130. GODSAVEDME said:

    I am a recovered RAD child. I know that being a RAD parent is hard. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work. It took me 14 years to recover. I am now at a collage prep high school and doing very well. Although I would not be here with out the help and millions of dollars, and hours of work and money my parents put into me. Yes, my childhood was traumatic, one can not change what is done to them, but they can control how they respond. I think your post was beautiful. Good job mom! You have done all that you can, and know that that is all you can do.

    • Congratulations! I am so happy to hear you are doing well. My own children are doing well, also, but their RAD sneaks up on them sometimes, (mainly the attachment issues.) I love them to pieces no matter what they do, though.

  131. survivor@mail.com said:

    awesome post. I have three children, and my first born had RAD, traumatic birth, and we were separated. My daughter was a home birth, charmed life, everything went right as far as I could tell, until she entered 1st grade, at a public school, and had limited experience dealing with bullies, adversity, racism, and frankly, not a challegning school academically come to find out. [she had gifted abilities].. She also started acting almost identical to my son. I took her out of school, as she was there for three years, and finally came up with another solution after realizing what was going on. It only made sense after a period of time, since she and the teacher and everyone else were all pathologically lying to me, but eventually I figured out. I homeschooled her, and the walls started to break down. It took a year. She started to gain her self confidence back, and in snippets she would finally tell me the truth about what happened in school. The world is the way it is, and she has better understanding of the nuances out there. My son, is now in college, and he acts like he is a lost cause. I dont know if he is goign to make it. But he has gotten a lot better if I look at his progress over his life time. RAD is a spectrum disorder. And over time, these kids do get better. Its not so much an attachment issue with others, as it is a trust issue with themselves. My daughter lost the ability to trust herself and her confidence, and she felt vulnerable at the very fact, that there are mean people out there. A kid may push you for no reason, and there may be no consequences. There are 30 kids to 1 teacher, and on the playground, the ratio is more. And I am a success story. I was in foster care for the early years of my life, and I dont act like this.

    there are people with charmed lives, that still have RAD. I am not condoning toxic situations for children, but hardly do all abused kids act like this. In fact, there are a lot of abused kids that are the exact opposite.

    It has more to do with personality, and having a weak or strong will. Its human nature to be lazy. Not to work in relationships. My son is very grandios, and expects people to flock around him. He has just now started to learn, that nothing is given, but earned. You have to train and work hard. Deep down inside, I can tell that he resents it, as he thinks as god, he doesnt have to do these things.

    He is in and out of clarity. He is getting better with age, but still horribly deficient. He makes catastrophic mistakes, and he will probably get kicked out of this school over something stupid, but it coudl be worse.

    RAD does get better.. It gets better with intelligence, as these kids develop stop using their animal part of the brain as the boss.

    It does get better.

  132. Do they blackout I have kids that has this I am trying ro understand them

    • yes, 2 of my children with severe RAD can dissociate,(black out) and become violent. if you can, buy my book, The Apple Tree Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane. It explains all the details.

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