I get asked many times why I feel that the people in power over parents of children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) have lost their compassion. The reason I feel this way is because I have personally experienced being treated as a bad parent with no proof except for the way my daughter behaved.
No one, including myself, had a clue about Kara’s history of trauma when she first came from India. I didn’t learn her history until she had been with me for 3 ½ years. By that time, she had experienced more trauma than anyone should ever have to live with.
I tried to convince her she could depend on me, but she had nothing to relate the word “trust” to. The school district decided we had to have some help translating my desire to help her. This turned out to be an amusing incident.
We assumed she was from Calcutta, but she was really from Bangladesh. They don’t speak Bengali, the language of Calcutta, in Bangladesh. The language she was used to was Hindi.
The couple the school district found was from Calcutta. Kara, my daughter, wouldn’t even look them in the eye. The couple, who only spoke a few words of Hindi, tried to use that language to get her to interact. Nope! She was having no part of that.
We left that exercise without getting anything from Kara. I don’t entirely know what she was thinking, but it may have been that she was afraid the couple wanted to take her back to India. It’s something I never pursued.
Kara’s first pregnancy:
When I realized my daughter looked pregnant, I took her to our regular family physician. I almost fell on the floor when the doc informed us she was 6 months pregnant.
My first run in with an insensitive power person came when the doc insisted, I leave the room so they could question her alone. To this day, my blood runs cold thinking of how she must have felt with these strangers playing detectives.
Kara was so scared of those people; I had a hard time getting her prenatal care done. I put her into a young mothers’ school program where she finally began to get a decent education. That describes the final 3 months before the baby was born.
I promised Kara I would be with her and take care of her when she gave birth. I always wanted her to trust me. When the time came, I sat with her all day and into the night. She gave birth about 3:00 pm and I held her hand all the time. I really felt she was beginning to trust me.
My next run in with insensitive nurses and hospital rules was when I was forced to leave her in the care of the hospital staff at 10:00 pm (this has changed since that time). They insisted she would be all right.
Kara was not kept on the maternity ward, because the staff didn’t want her being stressed due to her decision to place the baby. She was placed on a medical ward and ignored.
At 3:00 am I was awakened by a phone call from the hospital. My 12-year- old daughter had been raped in the hospital. My thoughts were ‘hospitals were supposed to be safe.” Evidently not! When I arrived at the hospital, the police were going gung-ho looking for evidence. I could see how terrified Kara was.
She was sitting in a chair crying. No one was paying attention to her. When I walked in, she grabbed on to me like she was drowning. I had to find out what happened, but the police ignored me.
A plainclothes cop came in and told us, Kara had to have a rape kit done at the children’s hospital clear across town because she was under 13. I questioned why we had to go that far when she needed to be watched after giving birth less than 12 hours before. I was told, “That was the rules.”
Insensitive police and their rules didn’t help Kara’s situation. The rape kit done; we were carted back to the first hospital. I stayed with Kara all day, but had to go home at 10:00 pm. I didn’t sleep well that night.
The next day the doc decided she should stay another day. So much for that requirement. The next crazy insensitive power person was the social worker from the adoption agency. She had to take Kara to the agency to sign the papers to place her baby. WHAT? She’s supposed to stay in the hospital another day. The social worker signed her out and would not let me accompany my daughter who had just had a traumatic incident with the rape and now she wasn’t allowed to have her support system when she relinquished her child.
Once she was home, the plainclothes cop called and notified me, she had really been raped in the hospital. He came out to question Kara and anyone could see she was afraid and had difficulty relating what had happened.
After a few weeks, Kara went back to regular school. She was now in junior high. She had no clue about what was being taught. The only class she didn’t fail was one on Utah history.
The idiot history teacher told me I could help her with her homework. I answered the questions and she had the highest score the teacher had ever seen. I still laugh at how ludicrous that was.
One day Kara told me she kept running into the same plainclothes cop that had been to our house. I called the attorney we had hired and discussed the issue. He said it sounded like they were investigating her because they felt she had invited the rapist to come to the hospital.
I still, to this day, think men should not investigate rapes. No one in their right mind would say a woman invited a friend to come over to have sex less than 12 hours after giving birth.
All the above made me question why power people do not take into consideration the feelings of the child or the parent. They still, some 30 years later, treat parents like they do not exist except to blame them for the child’s problems.
People in power try to tell the families raising children with RAD there is no help for their children. After all it’s the parents’ fault their child behaves this way. This is an excuse power people use when they are not able to “fix” the child’s problems.
It makes me sick to my stomach to hear a therapist tell some parents that they should place their child in a residential treatment facility until they reach adulthood. They do this because they have no idea what can help the child. I call it an abdication of responsibility.
I’ll take on that responsibility and say we need to take into consideration that children with RAD can and do change when placed in a family that is totally aware of the child’s behaviors. It may be the only way to keep the children from turning to criminal behaviors.
Closing the book on a child whose RAD behaviors are not what families can handle, is just so sad. If I could, I’d put my life out there to help every child living with RAD in an RTF to find a new family.
LOOK OUT WORLD, HERE I COME!!!!
Thank you for reading. Here’s a link to my book:
N. Ann Lamphere, MSW