Options for Parents of Children with R.A.D.

Are you an adoptive parent of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder? Have you considered dissolving your child’s adoption? I can hear the protests now. “Why would anyone consider getting rid of their child?”  

As a former parent of a child with RAD, I know why parents do consider placing their child with another family. I lived with the off-the-wall behaviors. I saw what my daughter was doing to my whole family. It wasn’t pleasant.

Those parents of children with RAD know what I mean when I say these kids can tear families apart.  I got so I hated birthdays, any kind of family parties and especially Christmas.

My family always went all out for Christmas. We decorated to the hilt, but by the time my daughter moved out, I had reached the point where I just wanted Christmas out of my life. It has never really been the same for me.

Believe it or not, I enjoy decorating for Halloween over decorating for Christmas. There is just so much pain associated with how my daughter disrupted Christmas that I think it brings on PTSD when I see red, green and gold decorations.

Would I have placed my child with another family, if given the opportunity? I can’t say for sure, but the answer would probably have been “yes!” I’ve always felt she would have done better in a two-parent family.

No family should ever be condemned for placing their child with another family that is better prepared for their child’s issues. This is not a selfish act!!! The placing families want to give their children the best chance for success in life.

Over the years, I’ve heard stories of families whose former adopted children successfully turned their lives around to the point where anyone who knew them before, would not even recognize them. This really is for real.  

When a family finally reaches the end of their rope, as the story goes, then they make the life-changing decision to find a new home for their child. The older the children become, the more difficult it becomes to find a good placement for them.

The family’s options are finding an agency to work with them or a permanent boarding school or residential treatment program or a family member or a friend to take custody of the child. It’s always in everyone’s best interests to make sure all parties are protected.

There are many reasons why a family feels that it’s in the best interest of everyone in the family to dissolve an adoption. Children with RAD often lie, steal, manipulate physically attacks family members, runs away or otherwise cause havoc in the family.

When the child with RAD attacks other family members either physically or sexually, it’s time to make a tough decision. Does this mean the child is unadoptable by another family? No, a different family with a different set of rules and ideas, can and do adopt children with RAD very successfully.

I advocate for older children with RAD. They deserve a safe home to grow up in. Placing families need to understand that their choice of a family for their children needs to be re-evaluated according to their children’s personalities and needs.

Some of the most difficult things to remember is what some of the triggers that cause their children difficulties in their current home. Some of those triggers are:

  • Same age biological and adopted children
  • Adopted children with a trauma bond
  • Large families of both biological and adopted children
  • Biological children younger than adopted child
  • Jealousy of biological children by adopted child
  • The mother/caregiver figure
  • The current family’s rules

There are other triggers that can be specific to a child. The miraculous thing is that once the children move to another home, they do very well for the most part.  The older the children are the more difficult it is for some of them to learn to trust the new adults in their life. The rate of success in older secondary placements is between 75% and 85%. There’s always going to be children that nothing will work for them at any given time.

If you find yourselves wondering if your child could be helped with a new family, please email me at radteenadopting@wiaa.org.

Thanks for reading my post.

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW    

Anyone Here Experiencing Burnout with R.A.D.?

I just heard a song that I feel says it all for me today. “Stop the World and Let Me Off!” With everything going on in the world, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), seems like such a minor thing. For families dealing with their children with RAD and associated behaviors, their world is a day-to-day existence and who cares what’s happening elsewhere?

I’ve experienced something this week I never thought would happen to me. I experienced a major headache and psychosomatic pain that was so debilitating I couldn’t walk. What caused this? I think it’s called burnout!

I’ve been working practically every day since last April. I started writing a course to reach professionals and people who’ve never heard of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).  I have part of the course designed for un-informed family and friends ready to go.

In May, Wasatch International Adoptions’ director and I discovered that our Second Chance Program was no longer taking children over nine years old. We decided to start an adoption program for children nine years old to 15 years old. Trying to get this program functional has been a challenge. We call it R.A.D. Teen Adoptions.

WIAA Ogden

This last week one of our first children is being adopted. Getting all the paperwork required became an issue.  At times I felt that I was not up to the job of running this program.  The whole week has been one stressor after another.

Today, I’m feeling a little more encouraged as the whole situation is going in the right direction.  The placement will be happening next weekend. When it’s completed, I’ll breathe a sigh of relief.

Love

My next serious project is finding new homes for children that our program wants to help. We’re looking for all kinds of families: traditional (moms and dads, non-traditional (single moms and dads) and really non-traditional (same-sex couples).  We are also looking to recruit families of all ethnicities.

If you know someone that would love to help a child, would you please share this post.  

Check out our Facebook page: RAD Teen Adoptions for profiles of available children. We are looking to have a couple more children listed in the next week or two.

Thanks for reading my post. My email is: lamp1685@yahoo.com

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW  

If Only I Were Younger!

I wish at times that I were younger. Every time I work with a family who says they can’t parent their child any longer because of their child’s sexualized behaviors, I want to yell, “Send ‘em my way!”

These children are just children that an adult or an older child has sexually traumatized. These kids are survivors. They may act out in sexualized ways, but they need guidance and love as any other child.

I always advocate for these children because I’ve had an adopted daughter and a foster daughter who were both abused by their fathers. I know what each of them went through. Neither’s life was what would be regarded as normal.

Kara and Susan 1980

I don’t think living with a single, never married woman would be considered normal either. I believed then, as well as now, that validating their histories and showing acceptance for who they were, was essential for their psyche.

Over the years I’ve been asked why sexualized behaviors have never bothered me. It never has. My parents were very secure in their sexuality and answered me and my sister’s questions rationally without having apoplexy over the subject.

There are times when I think back to my mother’s stories of the early 20th Century. She said men weren’t supposed to know what women looked like under the long dresses until they were married. She told me my grandmother said that was as stupid as people thinking women never needed to use the outhouse.

two brown wooden cabins in green grass field
Photo by Karan Sharma on Pexels.com

My mother grew up on a farm with farm animals, she said the children on the farm always knew what sex was because they saw it all the time with the animals.

I think people are still living in Victorian times because basically I see prudish behaviors towards a child being sexually reactive. I know, I know, the question isn’t “could I live with that?” But “what would my family, my neighbors, or my church think about it?”

It’s hard on a child when they get mixed messages, because they get the impression that wanting sex isn’t normal. This escalates their crazy behaviors because they know it bothers the parents.

I’m always willing to talk to parents about their children. Please email me at lamp1685@yahoo.com

Thanks for reading my post.

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

Are you ready to learn more about Reactive Attachment Disorder?

In just a few days, when my brain and computer work together, I’m going to be launching the first part of my on-line course called:

“Opening the Eyes of Professionals to The Realities of Reactive Attention Disorder in Children”

A Course for Physicians, Social Workers, Teachers, Police, Judges, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists

This course is really designed for adoptive families to introduce what RAD is to disbelieving family members and friends, as well as the professionals.

Here are some chapter titles that might interest you:

Session 1: What Is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Why Is It

Important?

#1-A What is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?

#1-B Why is it important for professionals to listen to a RAD child’s  parents?

#1-C Describe different RAD behaviors.

Session 2: What Factors Lead to Reactive Attachment Disorder in Children?

#2-A What events can lead to RAD behaviors in children?

#2-B Identifying triggers to behaviors.

#2-C Listen to parents’ concerns.

There are six sessions to this course, but we want to share the first part of it with our readers right now. The first four parts are really designed for everyone affected by RAD. As an freebie, we will be offering “Molly’s Story” for free when joining our email list. The introductory course, which will include Session 1-A-C and Session 2-A will cost $49. Once it’s downloaded, it can be shared with anyone who needs to see it for free.

When the course is totally completed, the regular cost will be $500. Those who have paid for the introductory course will be able to purchase the rest of the course for $200 (this equals half-price off the whole course.)

For more information, please contact me at lamp1685@yahoo.com.

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

My Adoption Life – Heart and Hands

I’m working with the R.A.D. Teen Adoption Program of Wasatch International Adoptions. Off and on, I will be posting some of the children in need of new homes. If you or someone you know is interested in more information about these children, you can inquire at: radteenadopting@wiaa.org.

Meet Lacey. our newest RAD Teen client. She’s a young girl we call “Lacey” because we need to keep her name private. She is 12-years-old. We are looking for a home study ready (or one that can be quickly updated) single mom or two-parent family with no other children in the home or other girls over the age of 15.

The family believes it would be good for Lacey to have a church to go to. She was baptized Catholic, but they have no preference as to denomination or if any. The family believes Lacey would do well with either a stay-at-home parent or working parents. They have no preference as to the age of the new parents. If you fit what we are looking for, please write to us at and request her full information. radteenadopting@wiaa.org/

Lacey was adopted from Bulgaria when she was 7. She blames her mother for things her biological mother did. She would like a different parent. Lacey is in need of a new adoptive home. The family tells us that she is intelligent, but doesn’t do well in school. Her mom got her an IEP to help with her education services.

Lacey loves sports. She plays soccer, basketball, volleyball, and swimming. She loves playing on teams She likes music, art, drawing and movies of all types. Loves dancing and singing with her friends. She enjoys watching cooking shows. She has a love of nature. She likes animals of all kinds, especially dogs.

This is a private adoption, so a state or foster care home study might not work. A state authorized private domestic or international home study is generally required. You will need a current, updated or new home study for this adoption. Due to state laws, we are unable to place this child in CT, MA, NY, FL, DE or WI. If you live in OR, you may need to travel to the child’s state to finalize the adoption. I

f you haven’t started your home study, please contact us for information on how to begin one. However, if we have home study ready families for this child, we will consider them first. Therefore, if you are willing to take a child between the ages of 9 and 15, we suggest you begin the process as soon as possible.

We know that adopting a child over the age of 9 is going to be difficult, but we feel confident that there are parents of all types, single men and women, traditional couples and same-sex couples out there who love kids and would love to add them to their families.

Adoption is a legal process so there will be costs associated with them. This adoption may qualify for the IRS Adoption Tax Credit. Contact us if you have any questions. Our email is radteenadopting@wiaa.org/ (This picture is not of the child, if you would like to view her pictures, please email us.)


Role Model Therapy

Today I’ve invited JENNY DEW to be my guest and post about a unique therapy for children with Reactive Attachment Disorder that she and her husband used for her two kids with RAD. Thank you, Jenny.

Explanation for Role Model Therapy

I had a few people ask me about how I talked my therapist into joining me for a 504 plan for my two children who were suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder and other personality disorders. We were discussing whether a parent should try for an IEP or a 504 plan in the educational systems for children with Reactive Attachment Disorder. I mentioned how I managed to talk my children’s therapist into joining me for a school meeting and some of the parents on the Facebook advocacy group wanted to hear more.

This is my explanation of why and how I started to think outside of the box:

History of why and where it all began

My husband and I are not perfect people. It’s ridiculous to think how it all started. We were both forty and on the verge of divorce when my seventeen-year-old daughter came to us with an idea that raising more children would help us find a reason to stay together and help some children while we were working our problems out.

Silhouette of children

As insane as it sounds, we fell for the idea and started to search for our last two children. We found Joey (3-and-a-half-years-old) and his half-sister Katrina (2-and-a-half-years-old) from the Division of Child and Family Services in Utah. I have changed their names for reasons of privacy purposes. From the very beginning, the legal problems involved with gaining the rights to raise them became a very difficult process for our family.

We had a newly married son, a daughter in her senior year of high school and a thirteen-year-old son in middle school at the time our last two children came home to us. It was interesting trying to blend a new daughter-in-law and two small children into our family at that time. Joey and Katrina came home to us with some pretty severe behavior problems and we thought it was because of the many traumas they had been through before coming home to our family.

Kids and parents

Katrina never smiled and was oppositional about absolutely everything we tried to offer to her. Joey was suicidal and like the Tasmanian Devil cartoon. As the parental deprivation trial continued forward against the birth mother for the first three years after the children entered our home, it seemed impossible to move forward with our own lives until we could get our rights back to live the way we wanted to live without social workers continually coming to our home to disrupt the feelings of the two we were trying to adopt. We realized we had stepped into a mangled mess.

After the final adoptions took place and the children were legally ours, we realized that they needed a lot of therapy to repair the damages they had experienced in life. It took the final adoption process into our family to get them the needed therapies. The therapies were never ending and many of the therapists we visited had no idea of (or refused to recognize) Reactive Attachment Disorder.

I finally found a seminar where a lady, by the name of Nancy Thomas, shared information about Reactive Attachment Disorder. She explained exactly what was happening in my home. The behaviors of my two children were being explained perfectly to me.

I was exhausted from the behaviors of my two adorable kiddos and it was so nice to finally hear why they were reacting to the traumas they had experienced in life. I realized that their brains had been affected by that trauma.

I met my attachment therapist at that seminar. We worked for years together to help my daughter, but we didn’t see the simmering problems with my charismatic son at that time. My boy was a sex addict and became a predator toward the little ones in our neighborhood and our family by the time he was 12.

Both of my adopted children had such severe problems they both ended up living in residential treatment centers and proctor homes while we tried to figure things out. My son was placed in sexual offenders’ programs by the courts and nothing seemed to be helping my two kids.

After watching the different programs my two children with Reactive Attachment Disorders were placed in, I noticed some problems within those programs that would never be able to help my two kids. The first problem was rooming these kinds of kids with other kids? This was a huge mistake!

The second problem was trying to “talk” my two kids out of their brain problems. You don’t “talk” children out of brain disorders. The third (and worst problem) was that my kids had plenty of chances alone with the group home therapists to triangulate them against the parents.

After watching the many failures along the way as I was raising my two kids, I decided to try my own method of madness and I asked my daughter’s therapist, Max, if he would support me by watching over this therapy with me. I made and gave my plan to Max and we started to decide when to bring my two children back home to try this new method on them.

P

I decided it would be best to tell my two kids that we were asked to do a special project with a college team of people who would watch over the project. I told my kids that I would have to follow their instructions and report back to the team. My kids liked the idea that I was not in charge and would have to follow the directions of the team. This took, (what my kids thought was), the responsibility of raising them from my shoulders. I honestly think they thought it was a great plan to throw mom under the bus one more time.

Role Model Therapy

We paid Max to train a seventeen-year-old male role model for Joey (17) and a twenty-three-year-old female role model for Katrina (15). He had them read books about Reactive Attachment Disorder before the parents hired them for the job. We paid them an amount for reading the books and information to learn. Max also attended a 504 meeting at the schools with me, to help teach the teachers about our project. The teachers were excited to be involved in helping with the project. We did each therapy session individually for each child and started with Katrina first.

Contract: The children and mom signed a contract including what would be involved with this new study. Mom’s contract included being the instructor for the 5:00 AM exercise program each morning. Their contracts included exercising with mom as the leader, making and following their own morning routines, checking their backpacks by themselves before leaving for school and leaving on time with the ‘Role Model’ who was assigned to take them to school and bring them home again.

Routine charts: The kids made morning routine charts to follow. They also made a night time routine chart to follow before going to bed, such as; brush teeth, take shower, do homework… Mom would print off the kids schedules and the kids would check off their schedules and give them back to mom for the (pretend) “study team”.

Role model job: The role models were chosen for their remarkable qualities. Joey’s role model was the high school quarter back (because Joey loved playing football and the coach at the high school allowed Joey to be on the team). The QB was also a straight A student and a good member of Joey’s church.

Katrina’s role model was a twenty-three-year-old girl who had substituted at the high school and knew many of the students there. She was also a neighbor who was looking for a part time job so we paid her minimum wage to help us. Both role models understood the reasons Joey and Katrina could not be left on their own during the schooling hours. Katrina’s role model was introduced to the other students as a college student doing a study for her college and Katrina was helping her with the study.

Joey’s role model just acted like his friend who walked him to his classes, drove him to and from school and football each day, and ate lunch with Joey and the other members of the football team. Joey’s teachers were informed of his deviant behaviors and they weren’t supposed to let him leave their classrooms without contacting the school counselor first.

The hopes for the role model’s positions were to teach through example while Joey and Katrina walked around with them. We did not ask Joey’s role model to keep notes each day or to give Joey any instructions. We did ask Katrina’s role model to use her laptop and record Katrina’s actions throughout the day. If Katrina acted out in problem behaviors, her role model would record it and calmly ask her to think if there might have been a better way to handle those problem situations.

Katrina was not informed about the role model recording her behaviors. The role model was never supposed to try talking Katrina through the situations or give her ideas of how to handle those situations. Max (the family therapist) and the parents would do those teaching moments later, without telling Katrina about the role model’s notes.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

Exercise program: We felt it was important for the mother to be the instructor for the exercise program each morning. It was about a 20-minute routine with a warm-up segment, a quick paced run-in-place segment and some funny routines in the middle with a warm-down segment at the end. We felt it was important to use the mom in a way the child had to follow her exact directions, in order to incorporate the mom/child interaction that had not been established in the children’s brains in their first three years of life.

The kids were told that mom had to follow the study team’s exact directions, and that if Joey and Katrina could do the exercises exactly like the mom, then they would not have to do the exercise routine with her anymore. The one mistake to this directive is that Joey caught on immediately and did the routine exact within the first week. Katrina, on the other hand, enjoyed watching her mom get exhausted as she planned to fail the exercise routine toward the end every time, but finally toward the end of the study Katrina followed along just to show mom how she had out-smarted her.

Equestrian therapy: We found a friend of ours who wished to train her horse to do equestrian therapy for us. Nancy Thomas had a daughter who had created a therapy involving the use of the horses to teach children how to trust. We bought the video guide from her and our friend went to work on training her horse for this particular therapy. The equestrian therapy became part of our role model therapy because the parents were used as role models to help with the horses as our children attended the different lessons involved. There were about nine lessons in all.

Graduations from high school: Both Joey and Katrina had been taking courses at their residential facilities. Neither child realized that they had been earning credits toward graduating. Both Joey and Katrina self-sabotaged every aspect of reward system in life we could think of, so it was evident that they would both fail at graduating from high school without some sort of a plan in place.

As graduation approached for both of these kids, and the teachers started discussing graduation plans at the school, both kids decided they were going to drop out of school or try failing their last few classes to avoid the stigma of becoming part of a society expectation. Joey started sluffing his classes and we were called to the school to decide what to do.

The counselor was surprised when we produced the records showing our children already had enough credits to graduate and so we withdrew them from the school so the teachers and counselors did not have to witness their scheme to ruin the graduation excitement for the other students. The graduation process was not fun for the parents or the kids but we got through it.

We did the role model therapy on each child for a six-month period of time. We didn’t have the monies to continue forward. We feel it helped us get our kids to the graduation goals we had for them and we also helped them attain a driver’s license.

By the time the two children reached the age of eighteen it was important to allow them to leave home for their own adventures in life. Joey went into a life of drug and sexual addictions. He has not stayed near our family. Katrina continues to come home for family occasions and enjoys being a member of our family. She still has some major issues and personality disorders, but she works hard at her construction job, pays for her own car and insurance and lives in her own apartment.

Jenny and Larry Dew helped to start a non-profit organization called CARES Meadow. (Children at Risk Emotionally Safe Meadow) There is an amazing Executive Board carrying the dream forward.

For more information, you can message her on Facebook: Jenny Youngberg Dew

Reactive Attachment Disorder (R.A.D.) Course

Help needed! I’m creating an online course about R.A.D. I’m looking for 20 people to do a quick 15 to 20 minutes of market research interview on the phone.  If you are willing to get on the phone with me to do this quick market research, please email me at lamp1685@yahoo.com. Much appreciation in advance.

Love

I know this is a bit strange for my followers on this page, but I’ve been working on this course for several months. Now I’m almost ready to get it completed. I am excited to get it into the hands of professional and the families they work with.

I feel if families trying to adopt can use the course or foster care workers will benefit from the course, it will serve it’s purpose of introducing new parents as to what to expect if their child has some of these behaviors.

Thanks for reading and responding to this post.

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

What Happens When You Have to Interact with DSS?

If there were one group of people that should help families in distress it should be someone from the Department of Social Services in your state. RIGHT?

Yeah right!!! I know. The sad stories of adoptive families who reach out for help, show they get kicked in the teeth with disbelief, blame and threats. Yep, I said “threats.”

There have been families who can no longer allow their adopted child to remain in their home. “Which way or where should we go?” Is the question. Their child, because of really diverse behaviors” is endangering one or all family members by remaining in their home.

What does the DSS worker do? He or she says “We have to investigate this situation.” “How long will this take to investigate his behaviors?” you ask. The response the families get is “We’re investigating you!” WHAT! “It’s not us, it’s his behaviors!”

Nope! The families get investigated because there’s something they’re not doing right. There must be! This is where the DSS worker has the nerve to tell the family they don’t love their child enough. THAT’S REALLY INSTRUCTIVE, ISN’T IT!

To families in distress, who have tried everything they know how to help their child with therapy and/or medicines, this lack of understanding is just another burden they are forced to carry.

Another thing that always makes me upset is when I hear a DSS worker tell the family if they take the child into state custody, the family will lose all the other children to the state as well and the couple will be prosecuted for neglect or abandonment of their child. This is still blaming the family for the child’s behaviors.

If the family has these types of responses and they don’t agree with them, they’re told the best thing they can do is find a residential treatment facility (RTF) or a permanent boarding school. RTFs and boarding schools have a particularly bad reputation. They’re poorly staffed and bad kids become worse kids the longer they’re there.

Is there anything that can be done to help the families? I know there are several Facebook groups offering support to families of children with R.A.D. These groups are extremely helpful offering support and giving families a place to vent their frustrations.

Do those groups offer solutions to the DSS issues? They really don’t, because the problems stem from a lack of education to DSS staff. From the top executives to the peon foster care workers, the effects of Developmental Trauma Disorder, which I feel is a better description of the children’s issues, is never taught.

Photo by Enzo Muu00f1oz on Pexels.com

No one in the foster care system really understands what these damaged children go through in their young lives. Since there is always a turnover in foster care workers, I feel it is important that each new worker be trained in what effects trauma has on children and how to treat parents of these children with respect and understanding..

Thanks for reading:

Please email me if you have any questions or suggestions for new posts. My email is: lamp1685@yahoo.com/

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

Update: Murder and My Adoption Life

On Tuesday, August 10th This post was viewed over a hundred times by people in Norway. I think that was one of the top posts for the year. Since I wrote and published this blog post, I realized I needed to do an update for people who might be interested in what has happened these last few months.

The prison where Kara is serving her sentence now has an email process where we can connect without her having to pay for phone calls and being limited to 15 minutes.  We’ve had several interesting exchanges.

My granddaughter called me and told me what was happening with her father’s case. John E. Sansing has been on Death Row in Arizona since 1998.  He has finally run out of legal options and he will receive his execution date sometime this fall. The deed will probably occur in 2022.

I was asked what happened to the four children because of their trauma. The oldest boy was sent to a boys’ residential treatment facility. He has spent his life in and out of prison.

The other three children were placed in foster care with a single mother who adopted them. The two boys were difficult children. They’ve been in jail frequently and into drugs or alcohol.

My only granddaughter has a criminologist certificate and is using her skills to help children who have been victims of crimes. She is the only child allowed to visit her mother. She also keeps me updated on what’s happening.

I’ve been working at Wasatch International Adoptions for over 13 years. The last 11 years, I’ve been the social worker on the agency’s Second Chance Program This program helps parents of children with traumatic behaviors find new families for their children.

Now, I’m working for the Agency’s R.A.D. Teen Adoption Program. Our goal is to help families of older children place their difficult children into homes that are better suited to handle the diverse behaviors these kids have. We are taking children from nine to fifteen into the program.

If you would like email notifications for this program sign up at the following link:http://eepurl.com/hFp6zn

The Original Post

The last day of 2020, one of the worst years of my life on record is a good time to get rid of what has dragged me down for over 30 years. The devastating loss of my fairy tale adoption brings me sadness almost every day, but I refuse to let it get me down.

I adopted my daughter, Kara, from India in 1980. In 1984 she met a young man named Johnny Sansing. She married Mr. Sansing in 1985.  If I had been a psychic and could have seen into the future, I would have tried to find a different answer to my problem of living with a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

Instead, I let her marry this cute blond, blue eyed murderer. Johnny was a true sociopath. He was charming and could make you believe he really was a good person. 

Kara and Johnny

When he was first arrested right after he married Kara, the police admitted they couldn’t get a handle on what kind of person he really was. My best friend Janice who supervised him while he was out waiting for his case to come up, said he was really difficult to read.

Johnny was a petty criminal.  He stole money to pay for his drug habit.  Kara worked and he would take her money and use it for drugs. He sold drugs as well as used them.

When they were first married, Kara had a trust fund.  Johnny couldn’t get his hands on it.  The trustee would pay their rent until they would get thrown out of the apartment for various reasons. Then the trustee would help them with money for a new place.

The trustee would buy them a new washer and dryer every place they moved to. Johnny would turn around and sell the set and use the money to live on and buy drugs. This went on for several years.

The trustee finally had enough. She bought them a mobile home, paid 6 months’ rent and closed out Kara’s trust fund in 1997. When that money ran out and they couldn’t pay the space rent, Johnny, Kara and their 4 kids moved to Arizona.

Johnny’s sister Patsy had moved to Arizona. She was Johnny’s go-to person when he was in trouble or needed a place to stay.

Kara always kept my sister, Myra informed on where she was and what was happening in her life. I pretty much washed my hands of her and Johnny when I tried to get her help through the Women in Jeopardy program run by the YWCA. Kara called Patsy and escaped from the program. She went right back to her abuser.

The Call That Almost Destroyed Me

A call from Myra one morning in late February, 1998, ruined all hopes and dreams that Kara would leave Johnny and get her life straightened out. Johnny and Kara had been arrested for the murder of a volunteer church worker.

Police officer

I cannot describe my emotions at that time. I think I just went numb. The question in my head kept repeating WHY? WHY? WHY?  

Johnny had called a church for food and some cash assistance for bills.  When the woman arrived, Johnny attacked her, raped her and killed her. He stole some jewelry she wore, took it out and pawned it for more money.

When he came back from the pawn shop, he dragged her body out to the back yard and covered her body with cardboard boxes. Kara was trying to protect the kids, but they witnessed what was happening.

The police said Kara was just as responsible for the murder as Johnny because she didn’t try to stop him or get help. Both Johnny and Kara went to jail and the 4 kids were placed in foster care.

Johnny was sentenced to death and Kara received a life sentence. Johnny is still on death row, but Kara’s sentence was changed to 25 years. She will be released sometime in 2023.

I have had PTSD from this episode.  Every time I turned around, someone was contacting me for information. Usually they wanted to know what I knew about Johnny. Did I know his history? Did I know his family? Why did I let my daughter marry him?

Did I know his history? No, I did not.  I met Patsy his sister.  He worked for his dad. I eventually found out that he had spent time in Juvenile Detention and his mother sent him to live with his dad because she couldn’t control him.

Did I know his family? No, I only knew his sister Patsy.  She never told any of us of his run in with the law back home.

Why did I let my daughter marry him? That is the hardest question.  Kara was not an easy child.  She was the victim of child abuse and had a lot of emotional baggage she received while in India. I was exhausted trying to parent her.  Besides she was pregnant with Johnny’s baby.

There was someone who wanted to write a book about the murder case. I wasn’t ready to have my name popping up somewhere.  News people would get my number and call wanting an interview. Lawyers or paralegals kept calling wanting information.

This went on for years. I expect it will continue until I throw in the towel and go meet my maker. A few years ago, in 2014, I was visited by a police officer who wanted to know what kind of car Johnny drove in 1991.

How the heck would I know? I gave Johnny and Kara my old white Dodge Charger in 1985. That car went by the wayside a couple of years later. I wasn’t having anything to do with the kids by then.

The police officer kept asking every way he could, I just couldn’t give him what he wanted. I was totally in the dark about why that car was so important.

On August 28, 2014 I was sitting on my couch folding clothes and watching a TV program when a Breaking News flash came on. The police chief of Salt Lake County came on and said they had solved a cold case murder from 1991. The victim was a 72 year old woman who was killed in her own home.

The murderer was none other than John E. Sansing, my son-in-law. The law had identified him by DNA, the fingerprints of my 5 year old grandson, Joshua and the testimony of his wife, my daughter Kara.

I sat there too stunned for words. I couldn’t talk and I was shaking and started to hyperventilate.  My life had just been turned upside down again.  Once I was able to calm down, I called my boss and let her know I was taking the next day off. I also called Steve, my nephew who has lived with this the whole time.

The next call was to my friend Janice and let her know since she knew Johnny. Janice is a social worker and has been my rock whenever I have to deal with these crises.

SECOND CHANCE FOR KIDS PROGRAM.

If I had known what I know now, I would have done my best to find Kara a different family that would have known how to help her. Why do I say this? Well, you see, I now help families who do adopt children like Kara.

For the last 11 years, I have been the social worker for Wasatch International Adoptions’ Second Chance Program.  We offer help to families who adopt children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), emotional problems, and other issues that the families were totally unprepared for.

Because Second Chance Adoptions is now taking children up to nine years of age, our agency director and I have developed a program to place older children nine to fifteen years old in new homes.

We have found that these children have all kinds of emotional damage from living in an orphanage, foster care, or any out-of-home situation. They often take out their feelings, their survival skills and anger on the first permanent family they experience. Often they go to a new family and all the damaging behaviors they had in the first family are left behind.

I AM AVAILABLE TO RESPOND TO ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE ON ADOPTIONS OF ALL KINDS.

Adoption agencies in Utah that I support:

Wasatch International Adoptions Second Chance program

Wasatch International Adoptions R.A.D. Teen Adoption program. If you would like email notifications for this program sign up at the following link:http://eepurl.com/hFp6zn

Are You Interested in Adopting a Child with R.A.D.?

Why adopt a child with RAD?

Kids at the Beach

Do you like older children? Do you enjoy being able to have a meaningful conversation with a child? Older kids often really appreciate being treated like an equal, but still need direction. Are you ready for the ride of your life? RAD kids will take you where no one has gone before! Look at parenting one of these kids as a grand adventure, because your life will never be the same again.

Have I scared you off? I hope not. The answer to “why adopt a child with RAD?” is you like older children, you feel you can make a difference in a child’s life and you feel you have something of value to give to a child.

Children, especially older kids, want someone to do things with. They want to be liked. They may not love you, but if you do things with them, i.e., play sports, video games, go camping, etc. and be a mentor, you could really have a great relationship.

What are the children like?

That’s a really loaded question. What are the children like? They’re like good kids, bratty kids, obnoxious teenagers, boys or girls interested in the opposite sex and any other crazy thing a teen can dream up.

You might need to feel comfortable with minor criminal activities that could have you visiting the juvenile court system. These can happen to biological teens as well as RAD teens, so for the most part, ordinary growing pains.

The children could have great grades, or they could decide that’s not what they wanted to do and shut their hearing off because they don’t want to be hounded to learn stuff. They do not want to hear what they are doing to themselves because the future to them is not a concern at the moment.

The RAD kids may want to experiment with alcohol or recreational drugs. Are you ready for that? Remember, these behaviors are mirrored by kids with biological parents. As a parent of a RAD kid, you might need to be more open to discuss dangerous situations in order to help them.

I’m a parent of a child who, even though never diagnosed, had Reactive Attachment Disorder. It was a tough time, but what it did for me was make me an advocate for the older children who need homes as badly as she did. I’m never going to stop trying to find homes for older children as long as I have the ability to help these special kids.

If you would like more information, please contact me at lamp1685@yahoo.com

Thanks for reading my post.

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

I support: Wasatch International Adoptions’ Second Chance Adoption program (secondchance@wiaa.org) and their R.A.D. Teen Adoption program (radteenadopting@wiaa.org)

What Is R.A.D.?

Some of my followers wanted to know what RAD really was and why I’ve spent so much time writing about it. I decided to do a blog and answer their questions.

Even though RAD has become the common description of the multiple behaviors damaged children have, a better way to describe it as Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD). This usually happens before age 5. It can cause lifelong issues for the child.

Some of the trauma occurs before birth, such as birthmothers use of alcohol or drugs while pregnant. Some of the trauma occurs when the infant or child experiences neglect or abandonment. Other traumas can occur with bodily injury or rape.

What happens next can be a major traumatic event in a child’s life. They enter foster care. The U.S. foster care system does not help the child because it adds more trauma to an already traumatic life. Many children have more than three different placements in a very short period of time.

REUNIFICATION: This is almost always traumatic to a child. No one, foster care workers or judges, have a clue what happens to a child’s brain when they try to place the child back with an original abuser. Judges have been known to give the abusive parents six months to change their behaviors and allow visitations with the child during that time frame.

When the six months are up, if the parent or parents have made even a minor move to get their lives in order, the judge will give them another six months. The child continues to experience an unsettled life.  The child cannot form an attachment to anyone at that point.

Is RAD curable?

It can be, but for some children it’s always there. Oftentimes when a child is acting out in one home, they can do a total change around when the new family doesn’t have the same triggers as the previous family has.

There have been some children who begin to understand what happened to them was not their fault. They have made tremendous strides and can get the professional help they require to change.

Therapy for children with RAD does not work really well.  Most times the children will manipulate the counselor and therefore they do not see RAD at all. A good attachment counselor is important to help the child.

What training should I receive to parent a child with RAD?

If you want to adopt an older child, you should check training classes or courses from your agency. Wasatch International Adoptions has a training course for families interested in adopting from either their Second Chance for Kids Adoption program and their R.A.D. Teen Adoption program. To see information about these programs, please check out their website: wiaa.org/

Thank you for reading my post. If you have questions, please email me at lamp1685@yahoo.com.

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

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