Saturday, September 27, 2008


I'm really rethinking the therapist Olivia is scheduled to see, and we haven't even gone there yet. My friend J and I had another foster parent training today, with the same RAD specialist as two weeks ago. She spoke today for a while on a child's issues with being controlling and bossy to others!!! Hmmm... In addition, I didn't realize that she contracts through our adopt unit to provide services locally for children with attachment issues!!! I talked to her a little today about who we are going to and she didn't say much but did say that that person will use a psychological approach as that is what she knows. She went on to say later that if we're unhappy to contact her.

J and I ordered FOUR different books on attachment, especially pertaining to children from foster and adoptive backgrounds and we received them this week. We both began a different book today and have been on the phone a few times already tonight sharing things we've read. I LOVE the one I'm starting with... Parenting Other People's Children by John L. Stoller. I've only read the Preface and Introduction so far and SO EXCITED to continue the book. The book came about as he researched ways to teach his foster son's teachers about RAD.

Sections I've LOVED so far...

"The ability to trust or mistrust as appropriate is a survival technique. The RAD child learns to mistrust his caregiver as a survival technique, and this negative lesson learned at an early age becomes deeply entrenched in his emotional core. Once learned, it is very difficult to unlearn. It is very difficult to retrain a child to trust. It takes years of quality parenting to rebuild the lost trust."

"The psychological community... is poorly trained in RAD... has little experience in identifying RAD and has not reached a general consensus on what constitutes a RAD diagnosis... in general does not understand the relationship between the early pathogenic care the child received and the child's symptoms... has not developed generally accepted treatments specific for RAD."

"The few experts who are successfully treating RAD all seem to agree that the parent must be present at therapy sessions. Along with the idea that developing the relationship between the parent and the child is more important than developing a relationship between the therapist and the child (after all, that is the attachment relationship in RAD that has never formed and needs to form now), having the parent present keeps the child from lying to and conning the therapist."

Yes, that all makes so much sense!!! And while I do not think Olivia has RAD, that term is usually reserved for the most severely affected children, John Stoller argues that a more appropriate term is Trust Disorder, stating that unformed attachments come about from a lack of trust to begin with, and states that this covers a wider "spectrum." I believe more and more that Olivia falls into this category. And I want to be a part of her therapy. My guess is that that is NOT how the person we are seeing on Oct 21 treats patients.

I'm seeing more and more of her behavior in a new light with these books. It's quite eye opening. Everything from how she was stiff as a board when picked up and hugged as a child, and still not truly comfortable with hugs now, bedwetting (J's book says angry children often "pee out their anger", being controlling/bossy toward others, manipulation that mostly the prime caretaker alone sees and understands, charming to "outsiders," lying, stealing, whining (but not just typical whining), saying I don't know when asked why? - they truly don't know as these connections just aren't there, and I could go on...

And as for the therapist, I don't think she is going to be what Olivia needs. I'm going to honor our first appt, and ask some hard questions, and then most likely switch to our RAD specialist. I want help with attachment issues and I don't think that's what I'm going to get. But I'm glad I'm finding things out now and not later.

A very good training again today, and some great books that we've found!!!


Torina said...

Getting a good therapist that is experienced in attachment difficulties is SO important. I'm glad you are going in with eyes wide open. Olivia's got a good momma.

Sara said...

I find all of this so very interesting, and may have to look into the book you are reading! What you said about Olivia being stiff as a board when held and how she is not truly comfortable with hugs now...that is so, so, so true about Kai.

There are not a ton of symptoms in Kai, but there are definitely a handful that stand out to us as possibly being related to the broken trust when both of his birth parents died, and then when his uncle placed him at the orphanage.

I would love to understand more about where he is coming from....

Rebecca said...! Did that open my eyes! With Anna her therapist made me leave and I really felt that Anna then controlled the whole thing! I felt like Ihad to compete to get Anna to respect me--this all makes so much sense now! Her therapist has been on sick leave for 2 months now and this is the most progress that Anna and I had made since she arrived!

If you do not mind could you emal the list of books? I think that I need to get deeper into all of this. The therapist wanted to put Anna on medicine for her behaviors. WHile I believe that there are times when medicine is needed, I did not feel that Anna needed it.

Thank you so much for writing about this! My email address is

Julie said...

I would really like to know more about the RAD from the womb thing- It has got me thinking about Gs behaviors-
I really think you should go with your gut on the is therapist thing- it makes a HUGE difference in who you see- if you trust them and their process. :) I would go ahead and make an appointment with the other one. :)

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I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

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