‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Ugly Face of RAD

When I restarted this blog last month, my plan was to write primarily about raising a child with RAD (Reactive attachment Disorder). I knew how important it was for me, in those early days, to have online friends to turn to when things were really rough. The thing is, Anastasia has been home for three and a half years. Alot of progress has been made in that time. I honestly don't think I would have had the strength to write about our life during the first two years. They were that bad. I lost friends, I lost faith, I lost my life as I had known it. I have grown so very much in these past years that I honestly do not recognize myself as the same person. There is me, and there is the pre-March 2005 me.

I guess I'm writing this post for several reasons:

1. I want to acknowledge that things were not always as positive and hopeful as they may now seem from my current blogging.

2. I want any struggling RAD moms reading my blog to know there is hope, even in the worst of circumstances.

3. I want to honor the journey I have taken these past few years. I am proud to have come through it. Not that we're done, by any means. I just mean I am grateful to God for seeing me through the storm (and what a storm it was) of the first two years, and for giving me hope that my daughter will someday, in some way, be ok.

I hope to blog over the next month about our first years home. It is hard to go back there, but I've been inspired by reading other blogs ,recently one called Life in the Grateful House at blogspot, that chronicle the really dark and painful stuff. (I tried to add the link to it, but it wouldn't work - sorry!)I so want to be a support to other moms just home with their little RAD ones ....or big RAD ones, for that matter.

My daughter is a far cry from the girl who hated me almost four years ago - the girl who hit me, punched me, spit at me, scratched me, cut me with sharp objects, pulled my hair, kicked me, destroyed my things, punched holes in my walls, ripped her clothes, ripped my clothes, ran away, tried to jump off the roof (often), strangled me, slapped me, strangled the dog, punched and kicked the dog, and the list could go on forever. The saddest part for me was not even all the abuse I took and witnessed. It was (and still is) losing key people in my life. As all RAD families know, no one, and I mean no one understands what we are going through. I lost friends, I lost jobs, I lost family members. God bless my family, I love them -- but most of them either do not understand or do not want to understand. My mother, I think, is simply too scared to try. She helps in ways she can handle, but was not and cannot be the kind of person you lean on in the dark times. Two brothers have been scared off by my daughter's behavior, and the one who sticks by her lives over 5,000 miles away in another country. Friends who said they would "do anything" to help when I was adopting scarcely talk to me anymore. But there are the others...

I now have two really wonderful friends who stick by me through thick and thin. One is an old college friend, Chris, who I reconnected with. Another is my friend Carmel who is going through her own private hell, but never misses calling me each day to see how I am and if I need anything. You really can get by with only one or two good friends like that.

So, enough rambling. I think I needed to vent. So much has been storing up in my heart and mind over the past few weeks. So much. I'll keep blogging about our present journey, but I think I will revisit the early days, for those who are up for it. If you'd rather avoid the gut-wrenching ugly stuff, I understand. Just skip over it. I'll make sure to label those kinds of posts so you can avoid them if you want.

Have a Glorious Day everyone. Be well....


  1. Huh, you and I must be on the same wavelength because I have been thinking about blogging about Year One with Tara. That was by far the hardest. Not only do you have to get used to being a mom, you have to adjust to losing everything and building it all over again. Not to mention the child who is scared and mad and distrustful and just wants to get it over with so they can go back to what they were used to. Our life is pretty tame now. But very different. I would love to hear how your first few years went down. If only to see if there are similarities. I felt so alone back then. No one to talk to. No one who understood. The beginning is very, very hard.

  2. Thanks for sharing all that you have been through. Honestly you don't know those things until someone is brave enough to share. I appreciate you keeping it real.

  3. i think that blogging the good stuff helps balance the bad stuff. i look back on my 7 years of blogging and am shocked at some of the stuff i went through with geoff but also horribly amused, like the time he jumped out of a tree with a bungee cord attached to the hoop of his pants and was dangling there for God knows how long before i knew it. it was funny, but it also could have been horribly tragic if he'd tried to put it around his neck.

    you need a record of things -- memory is a broken mirror. things don't always fit together the way you think or thought. and having a blog, for yourself more than for others, will help you process and remember the good and the bad, the successes and mistakes.

    and... it makes me feel closer to you, even though we're just down the road from one another.


  4. i'm blogging now for many of the same reasons! so glad i found yours. that whole "different me" thing is just darn hard. everything is completely different, but only for us, no one else sees it. i'm so glad for all the RADical moms i'm finding that are sharing the real stuff! it's sooooo helpful to me!


What do you have to say? Leave a comment!