No. There sincerely is nowhere to go. We have a son with Reactive Attachment Disorder. What does that mean? That he appears healthy and well on the outside and his inside is filled with rage and distrust of his parents. To others, he’s a sweet, charming, polite kid. To his adoptive parents, he’s a thief, a liar, a menace. And we took an oath and adopted him. Because of his early care…or lack thereof, he has decided he doesn’t want to love, so anytime, he finds himself getting closer to us, he does something off the wall to push us away. And, each time, the push needs to be harder.
As a toddler, it was little sneaky things, an extra cookie, a stolen video game. Now, as he approaches adulthood, it’s a stolen gun, a broken TV, and stolen car keys. No matter how much instruction he receives, it appears he will self-destruct in his own poor choices.
I’d like to say that this morning was a shocker, but this traumatizing event was just another day. Another day of lies, violence, screaming and a home ruled by mental illness. I’d like to say this is rare, but quite the opposite. This is how we live.
The aftermath leaves us bruised physically and scarred emotionally. He rages, goes to school and I receive a message that says, “Paul has arrived safely at school.” I reply, “Mom and Dad are traumatized at home.”
So, after a morning like this, what are we going to do? Should we heed the advice of many caring concerned people? “He should go somewhere. You can’t live like this anymore.” I agree 100%! He should go somewhere. Where might that be? There is no special place for kids with RAD. There is no known therapy that cures, there is no group home, there is no residential treatment facility with an open bed waiting for me in this moment. In this moment, there are text messages to friends who may or may not be able to help me today. A wait for a psychiatric bed in a hospital could be months, a call to the police would have them responding to a situation that would diffuse on their arrival. He needs to go somewhere. There is nowhere to go!
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a RAD support group meeting where I met 8 other families with kids just like mine. Amazing. We are not alone though society would think we were. We live in an isolated existence where no one knows what to say or how to help. We laughed, we shared war stories, we understood. Today I texted a few of those families and received cyber hugs & support. Today’s pain is raw and feels huge….however, when I am once again in the comfort of these special people in a few weeks, we will have a laugh over my husband burning my son’s mattress. We will joke about us finding the hidden cigarette lighters and stolen cheese. We will laugh on the outside and cry on the inside as we each lose a little more hope each day. Oh, how I wish that didn’t have to happen. That we could have hope.
A statement my 9-year-old reminds me of at times like these: “Mom, remember you always say, ‘You can steal my money, but you can’t steal my joy!'” Maybe I need to apply it to hope. “You can steal my cell phone, but you can’t steal my hope.”
This morning I screamed, I cried, I raged. Today I will post scriptures and messages about patience and will strive to look at things above. I will try to turn the events around so that I can survive another day, another evening…even another moment. I will search deeply for hope. It is my HOPE that we will all make it through. That we will somehow heal, somehow cope. There is no place to go. We have to figure out how to live and have hope here. “Be patient, then brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.” Someday we will be able to go there.