‘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, January 30, 2009

RAD and the Prevalence of Disruptions

I've been quite sad lately, learning of yet more disruptions in the world of older child adoption. It devastates me. Don't get me wrong -- I do not judge any parents who decide to disrupt. I am just so incredibly sad for the children. Something needs to be done about the number of disruptions that occur in this country. Pre-adoptive parents are not being properly prepared or informed of their child's potential needs. I wasn't. Not one parent I know who adopted an older child was prepared in any way for what was to come. This should not be.

I know that parents of older adopted children are wary to post too many negatives on chatboards, forums, etc, for fear of scaring pre-adoptive parents, but this is not fair or just. Even adoption magazines and other media shy away from the truth. I have submitted a few articles to adoptive magazines concerning RAD and the difficult first few months home with an older adopted child -- I was politely informed that my words weren't 'appropriate" for their venue. They were too "graphic" and if I could write a more "upbeat" piece on older child adoption, they would be more inclined to publish it.

Children coming from institutionalized care, however "ready" they may seem, are traumatized. Even if they did not experience the severe abuse and neglect my daughter did, they did not receive adequate care by any means. They are bringing with them a litany of fears, sorrows, challenges, concerns and significant needs that most parents are not equipped to deal with. Even the most prepared, experienced parents will experience a long adjustment period with an older IA child. If only every parent truly understood the potential issues they'd be facing, disruptions might be less prevalent.

Anyway, there is so much I want to say about this subject, but it's too much for one post. I just needed to vent a bit. Every time I read of another disruption, my heart aches. I want to find a way to do what I can to help prevent them. I've read of so many lately, it is making me feel a sense of urgency about finding a way to help. I know many of you feel the same way.


  1. Anonymous11:17 AM

    keri -- I think it is indicative of America, that so many parents (adoptive and birth) and so many PEOPLE just want to see the happy. The perfect. Everything will be perfect. Everything will be just right and just so and picket fence la la la.

    Our expectations are set to perfection, and so when anyone shatters these expectations or messes with the perfectness, it's unacceptable. the magazines that refuse your article(s) because they aren't "UPBEAT" enough are ridiculous. how about your article is REALISTIC enough. Truth. reality. fact. honesty. preparation.

    Such disruptions occur when people are not prepared. they have a vision, and when the vision is destroyed because their expectations are not met, they bail. Americans BAIL when things are not working out. And that includes parenting.

    I think if I had known some things beforehand with Geoff, like if the kid came with a manual, i would be far better prepared. NO ONE told me that my son would be as big a challenge to my life as he is.

    But i'm not bailing. and i'm glad you don't either. and i wish others in parenting circles would be a lot more realistic about things beforehand.

  2. Amen, Keri, amen.

  3. Ok, sorry for the venting in advance! One of the problems I have is parents (especially new foster parents) don't seem to believe me when I try and lay it out. Its almost like they think I'm trying to scare them out of it and so shut out what I'm saying. Other times I do end up scaring them off and that isn't good either because my kids still need homes! Other times due to my relatively young age, and experience level, etc. they tune me out because they know better. Some of the worse offenders I've worked with are other "professionals" who believe they know how to "cure" this child when others have failed. One family, who had some experience working BD kids felt if they just loved the child enough all would be well, and then when it didn't work out, it wasn't their fault, the child just couldn't feel love. URRRGHHH

    I don't know why they don't do more research and figure out what they are getting into! That is super frustrating for me because it often leads to disruption which just ends up hurting the kid, and the foster parent never wanting to do it again.

    Anyways thanks for your blog, I'm always looking for resources I can point people towards and this is a good one!

  4. It's too sad for words Keri, i feel so useless and impotent when i hear about all these children who need love and understanding and patience it makes me so very very sad. I know that these words themselves are also useless but they're all i have to give xXx

  5. Keri,
    I share your frustration and I too think that there is too little pre education and too little post adoption support education. I sat with a couple today who were BLINDSIDED by what they are experiencing. They are angry, sad, and unprepared.
    I truly hope they make it. The couple in front of me was getting ready to adopt a 7 year old from Foster Care. This seminar was their first. After a few scenarios were taught, they kept looking at each other and I could see them getting visibly nervous. I think they left scared to death.
    They are the lucky ones who are informed. :)
    It is a two fold problem. People don't seek out education and agencies don't educate.
    There needs to be a change for the benefit of ALL.

  6. It really is very sad for all involved. IF there was more support out there and guidance for these families, then i can think it would hold the family together.

  7. This post spoke to me. Not that I've witnessed any disruptions, or that it's even an option in my home, but I can feel your frustration.

    I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar while I was fostering my son where I learned so much about RAD and techniques we can use to help nurture them, and give them times to regress so they can have experiences that they missed out on when they were very young.

    Some of them worked on some levels. Some of them were just fun, and a chance to interact one-on-one. Some of them were bogus.

    I remember thinking that this should be a mandatory meeting for anyone considering foster care or adoption (domestic or international). There are so many layers to RAD that sometimes there simply isn't enough time to help the children fully attach before they become adults.

    I also understand the criticisms that come with speaking openly about raising children who are struggling with RAD. No one wants to hear that it's challenging, and downright heartbreaking at times. Everyone wants a "happily ever after" story. Unfortunately, in many cases, that isn't how the story ends.

  8. I agree but i also feel that we go into adoption with rose colored glassess on. We come from a place of belief "love will cure everything" when in fact it doesnt. I have come to believe that we hear what we want to hear, or believe we want because it makes sense that way. I feel the only way to stop disruptions, is give the family more support. It seems when you need DCF the most, is when they are always to busy. I can think of quite a few things that we could of used that we had to spend hours fighting for. I agree with everything you say, disruptions, just when i hear the word, makes me feel real sad because I do believe if there was support in place, and it wasnt to hard to find, then we would see less disruptions.

  9. ok, im a loser, i already commented on this post....see, thats how much it spoke to me..lol. Did i mention that having two looney kids made my brain go mush....sorry about that. Love your blog by the way.


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