What Happens When Adoptive Parents’ Love Is Not Enough?

a happy couple cheering for their son riding a bike
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Parents go into adding to their families by adoption for many reasons. Those reasons may include: they like kids, they are unable to have children or they want to give a child a better life.

Most families go into adoption feeling they have a lot of love to share with children. It can be a shock to these great parents to be rejected by some severely traumatized children. The families are often made to feel their child’s behaviors are all their fault.

The crises these kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) can cause  the parents to re-think their adoption options.

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The majority of children with RAD, whose families have reached the end of their ropes, find themselves being displaced into new places. These places can be residential treatment facilities (RTF) or boarding schools or inpatient therapeutic hospitals.

How long do these facilities hold these children before sending them back to their adoptive parents? The time depends on many things like how long the kids are allowed to stay, how long a therapist needs to claim the child cured or how long can the parent leave them in the facility.

What happens when the child is pronounced “cured?” He or she is returned to the adoptive parents to start the process over again. This is what is known as a “revolving door.” It’s not really emotionally satisfying for either the children or the parents. The costs can really be extreme and difficult for families to continue paying.

When it turns out that the situation becomes impossible for the family, they start discussing what is going to be best for their child and others in the family. Those discussions can be emotionally draining.

Some families know it would not be safe for their child to return home, but they believe their child would still benefit from being a part of a family, just not in their family.

Making such a change in their family is really tough. It’s always important to involve counselors or therapists for their input and suggestions whenever possible.

Choosing to dissolve their adoption and allow another family raise their adopted child is very traumatic for some adoptive parents.  Many don’t want to place their child because they don’t want to inflict another family with what they have lived with for many years.

Sad Face

The original adoptive parents cannot fathom that their child would behave differently in another home. This is a problem that keeps perpetuating the problem over and over. For one thing younger children ages four to ten do really well in a different family, like about 95 to 97% of the time. 

According to information about older children with RAD, they do well about 75 to 85% of the time when placed in a different home with different rules and situations.

The hypothetical question is “Would a new family be better than a lifetime in an RTF, boarding school or therapeutic inpatient hospital? Only parents with an out-of-control child can really answer this question.

When you can answer this truthfully in thinking about your child’s needs, reach out for help. It’s out there.

Thanks for reading my post.

My Email: lamp1685@yahoo.com My FB page – My Adoption Life

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

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