Monthly Archives: January 2016

Dear Parent of a RAD Kid,

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Oh Dear Sweet Parent of a RAD kid,
I write to you as I would write to a friend, because even though I don’t know you, you are my friend. This journey you are on is not for the faint of heart. It was your heart in many cases that got you into this situation. Many children with RAD are adopted and come from trauma backgrounds and you and your good heart just want to give this challenging child a chance. You were called to meet a deep need for a child in need. Your intentions were right. Your intentions were pure. They still are. I know. But, your reality has changed. You have gone the route of conventional parenting, conventional medicine and anything else described as typical and your child has not responded. No matter what you attempt, traditional or non traditional, he seems to be on a different path. He is. He is coming from a place of trauma. His brain is different, his responses are different. There are loads of people who are trying to help him (you’ve hired so many you can hardly count.) There are loads of people trying to figure it all out. (Because quite honestly, this Reactive Attachment Disorder diagnosis is extremely fascinating if you aren’t living with it.) So, lots of people working on this. Great. But, YOU, it’s YOU I want to talk about. YOU dear parent in the trenches with me. You need to spend as much (if not more) time figuring out how YOU are going to cope. He will be instructed and taught and given tools to deal with his mental health. Will you? Will you take the time to listen? Will you read books for your benefit or will you spend every hour of every day researching ways to help him connect the dots. I want to encourage YOU to work on YOU.
As a parent of a kid with RAD I recognize the ups and downs, the good and bad, but I also recognize that it appears (after 15 years of effort) that little changes. Little changes regarding his behavior. His behavioral goals appear to be the same though now they are attempting to be mastered by a teen instead of a toddler, but really, very little has changed. An unknown author once said, “Sometimes the things we can’t change, end up changing us.” Dear struggling parent, I plead with you to get this. “Sometimes the things we can’t change, end up changing us.” So, you have probably been trying to change your child, trying to change your parenting, trying to change your situation and maybe….just maybe, those things can’t change, but I assure you, something is changing…YOU! You are not the person who started on this journey. You are learning and growing each day and your reading this post this far says you are interested. You are engaged, you are trying and you are doing. Has his behavior changed? Maybe not, but you have changed. You might not be able to see it now, but I promise you, if you have stayed faithful to your mission and your family, you are a success! You are a better person because of all of this. You are more caring than you ever dreamed you could be. You are more patient than you ever thought you’d be asked to be. You are parenting this difficult child and you are doing a great job of it. Now, I’d like you to attempt to embrace this change a bit. I encourage you to start working on you and start now. Spend some time studying your behavior, your goals, your future. Yes, your child still needs you and you will continue to work on those same things for him, but don’t forget to seek them out for yourself too. Get help. Get rest. Give yourself time to think and to process. Give yourself a break. Give yourself hope. Get yourself a friend who understands. Recognize what this disorder has done to you and for you. I sincerely want the best for your child, but equally, I want the best for you.
I want you to have hope. Hope that something good will come from all of this. That changes will occur, but I want to caution you that the changes might not be in your child, they might be in you….and would that be such a bad thing?

God Bless you as you go forward on this path. You are not alone.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.    –Jeremiah 29:11

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Pray for Bird Watchers?

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I just finished reading my daily devotional from The Upper Room.  Every morning I open this little booklet, read the suggested scriptures and the accompanying devotional.  It always includes a title, scripture reading, key verse, thought for the day, prayer and prayer focus.  Today’s prayer focus is: Bird-Watchers.  Really?!  The devotional made the point that we can see God in situations if we look closely and that sometimes bird watchers can see birds that others miss because they have trained their eyes to spot them.  Hence, if we train our eyes to look for God we will see Him.  Good message.  Then, the prayer focus….bird-watchers?  It kind of gave me pause.  Since it said I should pray for bird-watchers, I did, but really I have no idea why!  Then, it dawned on me.  I just prayed for someone that I don’t know.  I prayed for an unknown group of people for unknown reasons.  Lord, Bless the Bird-Watchers.  It made me realize that other days on other prayer focuses, someone is praying for me!  I don’t fit the bird-watcher category, but I fit many others:  Mothers, Those who are worried and stressed, Those struggling with envy, Someone who feels forgotten, Those discouraged about helping others, Someone learning a new skill. Some categories may include:  Those who are weary, Those struggling to understand, Those who help their kids with homework, Those doing home repairs.  The ideas are endless.

So, today, I’ll heed the prayer focus.  May the Bird Watchers feel blessed.  And, tomorrow, I may feel an unexpected boost as some stranger may be lifting me up in prayer.  Go ahead, pray for me, I appreciate it!

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  —  James 5:16

 

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The Silly Games We Play

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Snap!  Oh, good one.  I check the corner of the sliding door on the linen closet and yes, sure enough, there it is, a party snap taped delicately in the corner of the door.  It surprised me just as it was supposed to do and these little wads of balled up paper intended to be thrown onto a hard surface to make a snap have been showing up in odd places of my home for 4 days now.  My sister-in-law strikes again and I have to say, this one has been a very clever prank.  One of her better efforts.

I can’t remember exactly when or how it got started, but the back and forth pranking may even predate me as this older sister and baby brother battle it out to be even more surprising each time. When I met the family there was a gag gift that was passed around each Christmas.  (A strange lobster like creature with Spanish Moss hair on a cork stand holding a flag? I so need to get a picture of that next year!) The recipient ended up storing it for a year and then regifting it to someone else the following year. I believe many families may do something like that, but this sibling group goes beyond that and each prank and each year brings on more surprises.  Sis has retired and my husband is semi retired now which give them both more time to be even more creative.  Their antics have given the whole family something fun to talk about and share with others.

One Christmas Eve we returned from Candlelight service and as 6 year old K is heading up the stairs she looks at our beautiful lit Christmas tree and exclaims, “We’ve been burgled!”  Instead of my angel on the tree, there was a strange tree topper sporting a ceramic dog head, long velvet dress complete with cowboy boots.  (This topper was bought in a store!  Where do people come up with these things?!)  To retaliate, the following year our family took life size ugly pictures of our faces and placed them as ornaments on her tree, those same photos wound up copied in multiples and appearing inside cabinet doors, toilet seat lids, drawers and even on display inside stockings on mantles.  Every time you opened a closet door, there we were! One Christmas our family strung marshmallows on fishing line and created a beautiful snow scene mobile (I saw it on a DIY Home program).  We hung this display from her ceiling on Christmas Eve and took photos of how pretty it looked.  It was a beautiful thing….until she turned on the ceiling fan when she got home and had tangled fishing line and sticky marshmallows everywhere!

Post Cards have come through the mail letting us know that our Herpes tests have come back clean, toilets have become lawn ornaments, ceramic frogs have visited bath tubs, balloons have filled rooms, signs have been put on display in yards, rice in beds, hidden remotes, cans without labels, the list goes on…

We just returned from a trip to Punta Cana and the sweet sound of “snap” that greets us makes us smile.  Probably as much as the gold fish in her drinking glasses made her smile when she returned from her last trip.  We are all getting excited around here because she leaves today for Florida!  We have 5 full weeks to give our plans serious thought and implementation!  This is a good reason to lock your doors…..and leave your key with a “responsible adult.”

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On a Scale of 1 to 10…

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On a scale of 1 to 10 how hard is it to raise a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?  The obvious answer is 1,432 because it is MUCH harder than you think, however each day could be rated differently. No matter the number though, it is always HARD.

There are days that fall into the 1 – 5 category.  Days full of shirts not tucked in, fingernails dirty, teeth not brushed, food spilled, dirty dishes, homework battles, inappropriate remarks, small things broken, lies, arguing and small time defiance.  These are a given.  These are EVERY day.  Every. single. day. Then there are days that a scale of 1 to 10 doesn’t even touch the surface. These include behaviors like fits of rage, breaking banisters, pulling wall paper off of walls, reporting parents to authorities, stealing money, cutting arms for attention, stealing weapons, punching holes in walls, throwing furniture, ripping cabinets off of walls, lighting matches and dropping them inside the house, threatening classmates, shoplifting, pornography at school, etc.  These things don’t happen every day, but they happen more often than most RAD parents let on.  Generally speaking, I would say that parenting a RAD kid is usually a 5-6 with a 10+ thrown in here and there.  It is hard.  Always hard. Chronic.

When a doctor asks you to rate your pain and you have to try to figure out a number you want to just scream, “I don’t know, it’s pain!”  We wonder why we have to rate it at all.  The same is true for why you would even struggle with trying to rate your “hard” as you parent your kid with RAD.  “I don’t know, it’s hard!” It’s for perspective.  It’s to see things a little differently.  Maybe objectively instead of emotionally.

I can tell you that yesterday was a 10+, my house & heart have the scars to show it.  But, today he’s in the shower, he’ll go to school and I have hope that it might be a 2 or 3.  More than likely it will be at least a 6 or 7, but I doubt it will be a 10.  That’s something.  That’s progress. We wake each day with a new scale, yes, there is some leftover “hard” from the day before, but generally, we get to start again.  May there be some relief.  May you have a “good” day….shoot for an under 5!

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Book Club Cancelled

book club imageSnow has cancelled our monthly book club today but that doesn’t mean I won’t take some time to reflect on reading and the books I am enjoying.  I thought that perhaps you might be somewhere where the snow has changed your plans a bit and you have a minute to enjoy a virtual book club moment in Blog Form.  So, Welcome!
A friend and I both report that we enjoyed The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark.  A fun, easy read mixing mystery and humor.  Mystery is something neither of us tend to read, so this was a fun and simple introduction.  I admit I had read it before and wondered of course, if the rest of the group were enjoying it.  Have you ever done that?  Recommended a book to someone and then been on pins and needles waiting for their response once it was read?  A book you loved with characters you enjoyed might just annoy another reader.  Oh, the pressure of being the one who makes the selection!
Our next selection is The Memory of Old Jack by Wendell Berry.  The back cover says, “In a rural Kentucky river town, “Old Jack” Beechum, a retired farmer, sees his life again through the shades of one burnished day in September 1952.  Bringing the earthiness of America’s past to mind, “The Memory of Old Jack” conveys the truth and integrity of the land and the people who live from it.  Through the eyes of one man can be seen the values Americans strive to recapture as we arrive at the next century.  I am looking forward to reading this American tale.
I also thought I’d share what I’ve been reading.  First off, I read Belles on Their Toes by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. It was a companion to Cheaper by the Dozen by the same authors.  This family and their stories are fascinating.  Published in 1950, the family antics are even more interesting as you recognize the signs of the times.
I am currently reading The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer.  A group of Christian friends and I are reading this book and plan to discuss it soon.  I must admit that this book was recommended to me by a friend a few years ago and it has sat on my shelf waiting for me to open it.  Once I opened it I recognized that this is not a book to take lightly.  It is rather convicting at times and may need to be taken in and absorbed in small parts.  I am excited to hear which chapters struck a nerve with my friends. This group of friends are not a book club, but we are just a group that gets together for some “godly gabbing.”  This is only the second book we’ve done.  (The first one was my all time favorite, Loving God with All Your Mind by my “friend” Elizabeth George.  I don’t know her but I quote her so often that people think I do!)
I am also 308 pages into Jan Karon’s 511 page Mitford book, Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.  A gift I received last year for Christmas.  I can’t tell you how happy I am to get reacquainted with these Mitford folks.  Love, Love, Love them!  And, Father Tim gives some great quotes and scriptures that are entertaining and informative.  Like I have called it before, “Fluff with Stuff.”  Really enjoying this read.
Well, my tea has gotten cold and book club is ending.  I’m glad you’ve joined me here for a bit so I could reflect.  Now it is time for me to switch a load of laundry and read a few more chapters!  Til next time!

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