Letting Go!

This is the last blog I’m doing that mentions my daughter without mentioning her name. For the last 37 years, I’ve been living the nightmare of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I’m sure there are readers out there who can identify with this statement.

Any parent with an adult adopted child that exhibited unexplained behaviors may have figured out how to handle their feelings when dealing with that child. I, on the other hand, had not until this last weekend. Every time my child or her children contacted me, I experienced PTSD. I couldn’t help it, or more likely didn’t want to understand how to help it.

Today, I know what I’ve been missing, “What I was always hoping for and what never happened.”  That may sound contradictory, but I continually experienced hope and then disappointment.

I help adoptive parents place their child with RAD transition to a new family. The parents often try to convince themselves and the new parents that they loved their child, but also wanted him out of their lives. The new parents, at one point, thought about not taking custody of the child, because the parents were acting like they wanted him back.

I put myself in those parents’ shoes and realized I had never given up hoping that my child would really love me. Yet, every time I’ve had contact with my daughter or one of her children, they’d say they loved me, and I never wondered at the time about the sincerity of that statement. That comment was something to say, but I’ve not had any contact with these people except by phone or email, for over 37 years and I felt there was something missing.

What I realized was it was something to say to manipulate me. Since then, I’ve been removing the blog posts that mention my daughter, her husband and their kids. I removed my books and any posts that I could find.

I’ve decided to never respond to any of that family again. I actually felt release of an invisible elephant around my neck. I don’t feel that I failed because of the families I’m helping now. I feel it’s just time to let go of the past and look to the future.

Families that place their child with RAD in another family may experience some guilt for looking forward to a time when their child’s behaviors are no longer disrupting their lives. I don’t ever condemn them for feeling that way. I understand totally. 

I’ve suffered guilt for being happy when she wanted to get married and I allowed my daughter to marry an abuser. I’ve lived with that guilt for many years, but I’m no longer going to let that rule my life. I’m free now!

I’m finally understanding why some parents place their child in a residential treatment facility (RTF) rather than giving the child a new family. There’s very little guilt attached to the RTF, but there is a feeling of failure and/or guilt if placing that child with another family. I really wish these parents could get past those feelings because so many children do well in a new family that understands what it takes to parent a child with RAD.

If anyone reading this post wants information on placing their child with RAD Teen Adoptions, please email me at radteenadopting@wiaa.org.

Thanks for reading my blog.

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW CSW

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