Friday, May 21, 2010

My Dream ... My Journey: One


Everyone has a dream.  My dream is to someday write a book … hoping that its depth will awaken in you an understanding of a broken bond.  Perhaps, just for a moment, you will take off the lens you are looking through and see – with your whole self – that what you are judging is not at all what it seems.
  Many do not know our story.  It is one filled with both blessings and curses.  The emotions are still as fresh as the day two beautiful young children entered my life.  Yes, I have two adopted children.  They were born biologically to my youngest brother and his wife.  Caleb was two years old and his sister, Kaetlyn, a mere nine months old when my family welcomed them into ours. We never had fathomed, even for a single second, that they were to become ‘ours’. 
   My brother struggled with substance abuse and ended up incarcerated for a short period of time.  The children’s biological mother also struggled with drug and alcohol abuse and has spent the last nine years in and out of jail. 
   Caleb, who is now a vibrant 11 year old, suffers severe Reactive Attachment Disorder:
     Today, perhaps more so than at any point in history, kids are apt to be separated, ignored, or neglected by their birth parents, shuttled between multiple foster parents and day care workers, or traumatized by physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Even while physically present, some mothers are yet incapable of providing adequate care and attention for their children.
RAD kids have learned that the world is unsafe, and that the adults around them can’t be trusted to meet their needs. They have developed a protective shell around their emotions, isolating themselves from dependency on adult caregivers. Rather than depending on their parents or other adults to protect them, the protective shell becomes the child’s only means of coping with the world.
Dependent only upon themselves for protection, they come to see anyone who is trying to remove this protective barrier as a threat, not to their emotional well being, but to their very lives. They turn on those who seek to help them the most.
People require attachments with others in order to develop psychologically and emotionally. Attachment is the bond that normally develops between a mother and her child during the first few years of a child’s life. The quality of this bond affects the relationships that a person will have for the rest of his life.
Attachment develops in the early years of life when a mother responds to her baby’s cries by meeting its needs, appropriately feeding, consoling, soothing, and comforting, as well as keeping the infant safe from abuse and harm.
Fundamental to RAD kids is that they haven’t bonded and are unable to trust. They have learned that the adults in their lives are untrustworthy. Trust hasn’t worked for them. Without trust, there cannot be love, and without love they are emotionally underdeveloped. Instead of love, rage has developed within them.
In the first few years of life, at a time even before they have learned to speak, they have learned that the world is a scary place, and that they cannot rely on anyone else to get them through it.
Normal parenting doesn’t work with RAD kids. Neither does traditional therapy, since these therapies are dependent upon the child’s ability to form relationships that require trust, something that is at the root of the problem. Sticker charts and behavioral programs don’t work because the RAD child doesn’t care what you think about his behavior. Natural consequences work better than lectures or charts. Structure is a necessity, but only when combined with nurturing.
While these kids can be healed, they have to want it, and the prognosis is not good. Without healing, these kids grow up unable to form healthy relationships with other human beings. Too often, these kids develop into sociopaths devoid of conscience or concern for anyone other themselves.
     Yes, I cry myself to sleep every night.  As a mother, it is difficult knowing that I can not make my little boy ‘all better’.  I will pray that the Lord guides me as I continue this journey.

8 comments:

Marie said...

Here's something that I just read on RAD:
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/adoptive_families/attachment_and_bonding/reactive_attachment_disorder.aspx

There is always hope!

MaGoooo said...

Samie what a wonderful Aunt you are! Your love just pours out and it is so sad that we have so many children that have been put in this illness. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Chriserendipity said...

Sami, as a mother of two adopted sons, my heart feels your anguish, although I cannot know what it must be like exactly. It is very obvious you know a great deal about RAD, and are raising your son the best you know how. I pray that God will lift some of your heartache, and will also touch Caleb in a healing way.
Blessings,
Chris

Angel said...

Sam, you are an amazing woman! After reading the definiton of RAD, I have come to the realization that I suffered through the same thing as a child, adolecent, and still as an adult. I am always on guard, and hurt easily. I had never heard of RAD until now. Hang in there. You have always sent a strong sense of happiness. Without your knowing, you really helped me out after my anxiety when I was almost ran off the interstate.

Jans Stamping Jems said...

Sami,
I definitely think you should write a book. Your story was compelling and I just wanted to keep reading. I believe your son could not be in a better place. If anyone can heal him it will be you. I am the mother of a 32 yr old severely mentally impaired daughter. While a totally different situation I feel your pain. My daughter has had over 70 surgeries and watching your child suffer is hell on earth. I wish you luck and will remember you in my prayers.

Treasure Queen said...

Wow... you are the best auntie in the world... and the best mum to your brother's babies. I read a book about a RAD child a couple of years ago and immediately got onto google to find out more about it... this is the hardest most difficult problem... I wish to you the best in nurturing your family! You are amazing.
Jenny
in Australia

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness Sam...my heart just aches for you...You are truly a special human being, put here by God to help these children. You are such an asset to them...they will realize this...as for the other days blog..about your son not wanting you to craft alone says it all....You are giving them the nurturing they need to be vibrant human beings....Hugs to you Sam...I can't wait to someday read your book that you WILL write!

Lynette

Cathy said...

Samie I just read your blog... sending you prayers & hugs...