Two days after we were told our daughter needed to be admitted into a facility to be evaluated...
Once our daughter was admitted we didn’t hear from her for two days while the doctor and therapist on site evaluated her. We had all kinds of emotions, but I think the most was hopeful, hopeful that this might give us some answers and help our daughter and our family understand what is going on.
When the doctor called us, we put the phone on speaker, as my husband and I were answering his questions we were staring at each other with hope in our eyes. This doctor seemed to know exactly what was going. I felt like he knew our answers before we answered and our questions before we asked.
He said I believe your daughter has reactive attachment disorder, my husband and I looked at each other confused. What is reactive attachment disorder? How can we fix it? Why has nobody mentioned this before? We had so many questions, and this doctor had the answers.
The Dr. went on to give us suggestions on what could help but explained this is not something that can be cured. It is manageable through therapy, and medications but is a disorder that is formed within the first few years of life and can’t be reversed. He suggested weighted blankets, weighted jackets, music, journaling, and an adjustment to her medications. We were confused, she has been diagnosed ODD since she was 7. How could all the best doctors in our area all have the same diagnosis and all be wrong for so many years? How as her mother, did I not know this?
The range of emotions after that phone call were ALL over the place. How could we never of heard of this before?! We still haven’t talked to our daughter at this point, so we still don’t know how she is feeling or what she is thinking. I’m doing as much research as I can and all I can think about is” she’s alone right now.” I pray that she is not scared, she is safe and that she knows we love her. I feel guilty for being angry with her. I know her hitting me is not ok, I know her breaking my wrist is not ok, I know her not feeling bad about it is not ok. So many mixed emotions, I’m angry that she could care less about hurting her family but she’s still MY BABY no matter how many times she is hurtful.
The therapist called the next day and gave us some books that can help with some of our questions (listed on helpful information tab). She said that we are not alone, other parents are going through this exact same situation and finding a support group will be helpful.
I started to research immediately to find out as much as I possibly could. Turns out, there’s not a lot of information out there. Not a lot of support groups and absolutely no books on how this disorder effects other relationships in the family. Aside from the child suffering with the RAD and their target/person this effects so many more relationships in the family. The entire family has been manipulated, many marriages don't make it, siblings suffer.
In our case I am her stepmom but because I started raising her when she was 5, she calls me mom, her father is her biological father, so nobody even considered RAD since most cases of RAD children are children that have been adopted.
It makes me wonder how many other families that are out there are in a similar situation as we are. I hope that by me sharing our story that it is helpful to even just one person. Just one person to not feel alone, to know that this is not your fault, to know there is help.
For a list of the books and information that I have found helpful check out the helpful information tab above.
Please share anything that you have found helpful as well.
Together, we are not alone.