Who Likes Teenagers?

Kara and Susan 1980

Or should I say, “Who Likes teenagers with Reactive Attachment Disorder?” I can honestly say, I like teenagers in general. Those with RAD are usually just more difficult to reach. But, I like them too!

The RAD kids are tough and will try to manipulate you or want to stir up problems or usually respond with something negative. Are you capable of ignoring the bad behaviors and try to find the positives the child has.

I love a challenge. It’s so important that we try to reach these kids. If you understand the normal teenage brain (who does by the way?), you know they don’t think anything like an adult. A RAD teen’s brain is already in that mode, so it’s important to mentor them and gently guide them without losing your cool.

There’s a new option out there for the older children with Reactive Attachment Disorder. It’s called R.A.D. Teen Adoptions and it is a program from the agency Wasatch International Adoptions. The program will take children nine to 15.

The agency knows that there are people out there who have adopted teenagers from foreign countries and these children have a chance of turning out to be happy, successful adults. There is a statistic of 75% used by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in research completed in 2017 to state that older children adopted from foster care can turn their lives around with a stable, loving family.

Not all children settle in as permanent family members, but use the adults as mentors and change their thinking around. Success with RAD kids needs to be counted when a child makes plans for their own future with or without the aid of the family that took on the challenge and adopted them.

Are you a person that likes teenagers? Are you ready for the biggest challenge of your life? Remember, parenting these kids requires a lot of patience, self-confidence, and a willingness to take a risk in order to change a child’s life.

For more information, email them at radteenadopting@wiaa.org.

Thanks for reading,

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

My email is lamp1685@yahoo.com

My First Experience with Foster Care


The following tale is about my first introduction to the horrors of foster care. This took place some 40 years ago, but nothing has changed. The antiquated thought processes are still in place. The workers and judges insist that the child is a possession of the biological parents, no matter what.

REUNIFICATION? Here’s a sad statistic over a period of 3 years? This is from the USD Health and Human Services (HHS) dated 12/01/2001. “The prevailing feature of the reunification process is that the likelihood of exit by reunification is highest at the beginning of a child’s first stay in foster care, and gradually decreases as time in care elapses.”

For all foster care episodes observed in the data, approximately 8 percent ended in reunification during the first month of care, about 30 percent during the first year in care, and about 40 percent during the first three years in care.”

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

This meant that 60% of all children being forced to reunify with biological parents failed the process.  The only other stats that were fairly new came from 2019 from the HHS. It mentions that there were over 400,000 children in foster care, there were 71,300 parental rights terminated, 66,000 adopted and 122,200 children waiting for adoption.

The children have no say in what their lives should be, even when they are old enough to explain the situation in their families. Therefore, the children suffer twice, once from the parental abuse and then again from the people who should be helpful, but are NOT!!!! I’ve decided to call foster care workers and social workers, “Whatevers.”

My foster child, Susan’s ’father had been abusing her and her sister since they were about 6 or 7 years old. They begged their mother to get him to stop and she basically said it never happened.

Because no one believed her, Susan ran away from home at 16. She made it to California, but was picked up and returned home. She ran away again and it was determined that she should be placed in foster care. That’s when she was placed with me.

Kara and Susan 1980

She started to give me trouble, but I sat her down and told her that it was okay to be a kid and I would protect her as much as I could. The social whatevers were not helpful. They insisted she meet with her parents and go back to live with them.

By now, Susan had told me what went on in her home and I didn’t want to let her meet with her parents alone. The social “whatever” said I had to wait outside because it was none of my business. Her father attacked her in the meeting, had her on the floor banging her head over and over on the floor while 2 social “whatevers” just sat there watching. It took a male social worker to pull him off her.

The social “whatevers” had a responsibility to report her dad for physical abuse. He was never held accountable for attacking her in a required meeting. My question has always been, “Why not?”

The staff called me in to take Susan home. Instead, I took her to an emergency room where she was diagnosed with a slight concussion. I had to check on her every 2 hours that night. I called her case worker the next day and told her what happened. She agreed that Susan shouldn’t be forced to meet with her parents again.

The thing that really bothered me about all this was that Susan had told the authorities that her father had been sexually abusing the foster children her parents had been taking in for years. Nobody believed her.

Susan’s father didn’t have any trouble convincing the foster care “whatevers” that he hadn’t done anything to his daughters and his wife, Susan’s mother backed him up.

Then one day a girl placed in Susan’s parent’s home came forward and told the worker just what happened in that home.  Susan was finally vindicated. The state finally closed her parent’s home.

The saddest part of that story is that Susan’s sister was still in the home. The foster care “whatevers” never removed her or their brother, so the abuse continued.

The Foster Care systems have such a difficult time finding families for older children that they will take any family that agrees to foster older children.

I personally know of a situation where two girls ages 15 and 16 were in a home that had been taking teen age girls for several years. When the girls reported the foster dad for sexual abuse, he categorically denied it at first. Then he said the girls were flirting with him and he couldn’t help himself. The state immediately shut them down.

The thing with the above case is that the dad was probably right. The girls found his weakness and manipulated him into a situation that he’d not been in before. He had been drinking, so he was a bit vulnerable to their behaviors.

Most foster parents always live with the possibility of having CPS charges made against them. RAD kids, as anyone with a RAD kid understands, can do incredible damage to a well-meaning family.

The sad thing is nobody really knows how to fix the foster care systems. The turnover in foster care workers has always been a problem in that the higher ups can’t seem to understand what those workers see on a daily basis.

The best thing about my time with Susan is that she continues to give me hope that abused children can and do survive the worst of situations and come out the other side stable and loving.

I believe that there are families out there who would adopt these children if they knew they could do so without dealing with the foster care systems.

Thanks for reading this post. Please email me at lamp1685@yahoo.com/ with comments or questions.

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

What’s Worse Than a RAD kid?

Silhouette of children

A RAD child with sexualized behavior seems to be the worst diagnosis for an adoptive family to relate to. I know I’m in the minority when I say we need to be open to having a conversation about sex with our adopted children, but it’s true.

A lot of adopted foster kids or kids adopted internationally have experienced being sexualized. We need to let our children know it’s okay and teach them that it’s all right to discuss their issues.

Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable? With children who have, what I call, reactive sexualization, families need to come to terms discussing sexual issues with their children.

Kara and Susan 1980

I’m a single adoptive parent and a former foster parent.  Both my daughter, Kara and my foster daughter, Susan were sexually abused as little children. I know the case workers in my foster kid’s situation didn’t believe her, but I did.

Neither child’s story made me uncomfortable. My parents were very comfortable discussing sexual relations. My sister and I grew up being able to discuss our sexuality with our parents any time we needed to. I’ve always been grateful for their maturity and openness.

Other kids in our neighborhood didn’t know anything about sex until they were in their teens and then sex was a “hush hush, don’t talk about it to others!” Yet kids in high school were having sexual relationships and girls were getting pregnant.

Pregnant lady

The “sex” topic needs to have the stigma attached to it removed.  We’re not living in Queen Victoria’s time, we’re in the 21st century and the “sex” topic should be acceptable in homes with children who have been sexually abused because being able to discuss it without being condemned is important for the victims to feel safe.

As a social worker, I want to help families get more comfortable with discussing reactive sexualization in their adopted children. Maybe I should do a course on how to react to a child with sexual issues.

Anyone who is reading this post who wants to know more about parenting a RAD child with sexualized behaviors, please feel free to email me. I believe it’s important to help new or existing parents understand what these children need.

My email is lamp1685@yahoo.com

Thank you for reading my blog. I’d love to hear from you.

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Are You an Angry Parent of a RAD Child?

Touching Hands

I know I am! How about you, my readers? What is really causing your anger? Is it your child or is it the fact that when you ask for help the power-people tell you “You just need to LOVE them more?”

When I hear that statement, I always wonder if these nincompoops have ever had an adopted child who had Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Those people have no clue what parents of RAD kids go through.

I think those of us who are affected by RAD need to talk to the people who are in charge of each state’s Social or Human Services committee at the legislative level.  Changes need to be made!

There are several states that don’t allow families to find a different family for their RAD children. In other words, there is no option for families who want a different placement that might benefit their kids except to place them in either boarding schools or residential treatment facilities (RTF).

The states are Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Florida, New York and Wisconsin. The power-people there really haven’t thought through what happens to a family that adopts a RAD child – in other words they don’t believe families are suffering. If they are, it’s the family’s fault for taking on a damaged child.

(Don’t get me started on the uselessness of those boarding schools or RTFs. Children are abused mentally, physically, emotionally and/or sexually in those places. The kids don’t learn how to deal with life in healthy ways while locked up in those mini-jails.)

I know how beat up families can be after even just a few months living with a RAD child. It’s a crime that when a family tries to get help, they’re the ones blamed for the child’s behavior.

I’d like to start a campaign to get politicians aware of the inequities of the treatment of a family who adopts a difficult child and the family that adopts a well-behavedl child. The only way to get laws changed is to get politicians involved.

Are you parents so exhausted you can’t seem to function any more.  I totally understand. This is why no one in the RAD community can get enough strength to even discuss it with fellow RAD parents let alone someone who acts indifferent to your plight, as most politicians don’t have time for us little guys with a specific issue no one understands but us.

The question is “How do we reach these people?” One way may be getting your story told to the news media. Another way is to unite with other RAD families in your state and start a letter writing/email campaign to specific lawmakers to raise their awareness.

A complaint I hear regularly is news people get things wrong all the time. NOT SO! If it’s about publishing a story, always ask to see or read it before it goes public. Information is always important, but it needs to be correct or it’s useless.

I want to be known as a RADical adoptive parent/social worker. If you want to join my crusade, please join my email list or email me at lamp1685@yahoo.com

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Are You a Good Candidate for an Adoptive Parent of a RAD Child?

Isn’t that a dumb question? Parenting children is all about love, right? With a RAD kid, love flies out the window. Everything a loving person tries is rejected.


Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) rewires a child’s brain, so what’s right is wrong and what’s wrong becomes the behaviors of these children. A first-time parent of a RAD child is often confused because they’ve never experienced a child like this.

As a first-time parent of a RAD child, I can relate to how these kids can drive a parent crazy. I’m an advocate for parents of RAD kids and the kids themselves. I have seen miracles happen with RAD kids.

Children running

So many families dealing with a RAD kid’s behaviors, don’t believe there is any hope for their children. This always makes me sad.

I want to yell at the world these kids have been damaged due to their biological parents’ neglect, the foster care’s reunification plans and being shifted from pillar to post, while the juvenile court runs its course.

How would you feel if you had to walk in the shoes of a RAD kid? What would your response have been if it had happened to you before you were 8 or 9 years of age?

Is it better to leave a child in an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) or find a different living environment? What always bothers me is hearing about parents leaving their child in an RTF or boarding school until the child reaches 18 and then they won’t let the child ever return home.

Listening to a father tell me the “power-people” are telling him his child needs to be in an (RTF) until he’s 18, is so heart-breaking to me. This father wants something better for his son. I totally understand.

Kids and parents

Working for the last 11 years with parents of RAD kids has given me hope. I believe there are parents out there that could be a different option for RAD kids.

I have seen RAD kids do a total 180 turn around in different families. There are success stories all over the place. There have been a few who didn’t want to cooperate with a new family and their behaviors continued unabated.

Believe it or not, at that point, placing that particularly difficult child in a single parent home changes the whole dynamics and the child settles down. We have seen similar results with same-sex couples.

Every once in a while, nothing can help these children. I wish it weren’t so, but it happens. The early damage is just too over powering for the child to come back and live a normal life.

I wish I could help all the parents and their children who need a new environment. All parents of RAD kids need support from their families, communities and power people. They have my unconditional support no matter what.

Thank you for reading my blog.

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

If you want to hear more about options for parents of RAD kids, please email me at lamp1685@yahoo.com

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Hope for Kids with RAD!

Do you ever have things that you hear about that just makes you so sad, you want to yell at the top of your lungs, “This isn’t right!”

Sad Face

When I hear parents complain about their older child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, I just want to cry. I know these children are exceedingly tough to raise, but I cannot figure out why the parents think their child will never change.

The parents say they do not want another family to suffer what they have suffered. I know life is tough living with a RAD kid, but the child has the possibility of making tremendous strides once in a different home. These children can and do change when in another home environment. It’s a proven fact!

My Daughter

I know I won’t be believed because I’m just a mother of a really mixed-up RAD child. I do believe in verifiable research though. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption did a 5-year research in 2017 looking at the success rate of older children from foster care placed in a new home. 

That research proved that older children with behavioral and mental issues did change significantly when placed in a permanent family. The information is on the foundation webpage.

Please, please parents of RAD kids, know that it’s not wrong to place your children in a different home. It’s a way of showing love for your child.  Letting go of something you’ve put so many years into, is very difficult, I know it.

I also know that seeing your child go to prison, because they never changed when living with you, is very painful. My child has been there for 23 years.

I’m trying to change the dynamics that happens to children left to fend for themselves after living in residential treatment facilities (RTF) or foster care when they turn 18 and no support system to help them succeed.

Information is POWER. It’s as simple as that. I’ve always felt that my daughter with RAD behaviors would have done much better in a traditional family. The experience of parenting my child has made me a child advocate for all children just like her.

Parents that have been so beat up by their children’s behaviors have trouble believing there is hope for their children. There is!

If you want more information, please email me at lamp1685@yahoo.com

Thanks for reading. N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

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Alphabet Soup – The New Disease

Have any of my readers or your family members, have it? How would you know? Who are the people throwing all these letters at us?

When you think about it, medical doctors diagnose them, psychiatrists and therapists diagnose them.  There are times when I think these power-people (PP) have no real idea what’s wrong with our children.


How many families get an ADHD diagnosis for problems that are really trauma based? Then, if that diagnosis and the medications used to treat it, don’t work, the PPs try another diagnosis.

Oh, what is that, you ask? It’s PTSD! Now the PPs will give the child something to relieve anxiety. That medication didn’t work, so the PPs will change the diagnosis to GAD and prescribe another, stronger anti-anxiety medication.

Your child has tantrums or rages. What do the PPs call it? ODD!!! I’d say it is odd because there are different medications that are prescribed for it.

What happens when all these medications that are prescribed, don’t treat the real underlying issue? Those of us who are parents of kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder understand that the real issue is trauma-caused RAD.

Medications can help, but they don’t treat the underlying problem very well. Methamphetamines used for ADHD only make true RAD kids’ behaviors even worse. Anti-anxiety meds make the kids tired.

There isn’t really a medication designed to address the issues caused by RAD. The worst part is that talk therapy does NOT work for these kids either.

Defiant kid

There is a real need for counselors that do Attachment Therapy all over the country. I mean since families from small towns have the same RAD issues as those in the big cities, Attachment Therapy should be available to everyone.

Here is a list of some of the Alphabet Soup designations that have been given to our kids with RAD.

All the following are abbreviations of diseases and mental health diagnoses:

How many do you recognize?  

ADHD                           AD                                 AS

BPB                               CF                                 CP

DD                                 FASD (FAS, FAE)        FTT                              

GAD                              IBS                                MD

NI                                   OCC                              ODD                             

OI                                  PDD                              PTSD                           

RA                                 RAD                              SB

These are all reasons for families to seek help for their adopted children.

Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear your responses. Please contact me at lamp1685@yahoo.com

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

Who Are Heroes of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)?

My Adoption Life – Heart and Hands

Discussions of RAD behaviors and children and parents that I read about are often either sad or angry. In this blog I want to be upbeat and talk about my heroes of RAD.

My first hero I’m introducing is not a person the RAD community would necessarily be familiar with.  Her name is Kathleen Kaiser (Kathy to her staff and friends.) Kathy has been the director of Wasatch International Adoptions for over 20+ years.

WIAA Ogden

Kathy doesn’t get enough credit for being a far-sighted adoption advocate. She is an incredible leader. When she agreed to have the Second Chance for Kids program in the agency, she knew it would be a challenge to get the State of Utah regulators to approve the program. Her willingness to take on the powers that be is why the agency still has the program for over 11 years.  

When Kathy was advised that the Second Chance program was not taking in children with RAD over the age of 10, she agreed that it was important to begin a program for these older children. The new program is called RAD Teen Adoptions. Kathy is very supportive of getting this program off the ground.

Defiant kid

The RAD Teen program will help find new parents of children between 10 and 15. Second Chance did find families for older children when they first started. Wasatch believes there are still families out there who love older kids. They are actively searching for these families. They would like to find parents of every ethnicity and singles, same sex couples and traditional parents.

I have other heroes. These people are parents of children with RAD who have written books in order to help other families understand they’re not alone in living with a RAD child. Many of these books are best sellers.

There are several Facebook groups that are designed to allow parents of RAD kids to discuss how to treat these children or vent when life becomes too difficult. The administrators of the FB pages have a tough job keeping the discussions civil at times. I find the people on these pages are heroes because they are reaching out for help.

I love those parents who felt it was in the child’s best interest to be placed in another family. These are extraordinary heroes. Even though their hearts were breaking, they cared enough to let go of their dreams.


Parents who have taken steps to adopt a child from the Second Chance program are also heroes. Some of these children’s behaviors were so incredibly awful, but the kids did an unbelievable turn around that the placing families have had a difficult time believing this really happened.

Amazingly, it did!

I would love to hear from any of my readers, if they have a particular Hero. I think it’s important to recognize these heroes in our lives. Most people who do small things in our lives don’t realize that they really are heroes!

Thanks for reading. Here’s my email address: lamp1685@yahoo.com

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

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My Daughter, Kara’s Story

This is a compilation of two of my early blogs. Since posts get archived and new people don’t always go back to see what else I’ve written, I decided to repost these two blogs together

I received the call from International Mission of Hope’s U.S. agency in early 1980.  They had a child that I might be interested in adopting.  It was a little five year old boy.  I immediately said “Yes!!”  I was so excited to finally get my child.  I decided to change his name to “Andrew” and call him “Andy.”  My nephews were also excited and started to gather clothes they had outgrown for our new family member.

Then, in late February 1980, I received a phone call from the U.S. agency working with IMH.  The worker was so excited, she exclaimed, “She’s beautiful!” I went “Huh! She’s supposed to be a he!!” “No, this is definitely a girl and she’s ten year’s old,” the worker said.

The people in India didn’t know which child I was accepting, so they figured it had to be a girl and the only girl in my requested age range was ten.  Her name was “Nomi.”  The workers in India thought it was a sign; her name “Nomi” was close to my first name. “Naomi.”  I really go by Ann, my middle name.

There was nothing I could do to undo this placement, the child’s case had gone to court on the 16th of February and I was approved as her new parent.  At that time the Judge looked at her and said she looks about ten and today is her new birthday.  So, legally she was born February 16, 1970. 

When I finally spoke to the director of IMH, she told me she was closer to 13 or 14 – I know I asked for a child ages 5-10; how is it I’m getting a teenager?  No good answer.

Well, at least I was getting my child.  IMH’s time frame from the court date to approval by the U.S. Consulate was about two-three weeks and then the child would be getting a passport and shots so she could fly home. 

Calcutta had a new governor and he halted all foreign adoptions the first of March.  Can my luck get any better?  The governor’s issue was that these children, who in reality were living on the streets of Calcutta, were being adopted for slave labor by those wealthy Americans.

Wait and wait some more.  I wondered if she’d ever get out of India.  In the meantime, my family and I discussed a new name for her. We decided on “Kara” and use her Indian name as her middle name.  I had a foster child, 16-year-old Susan living with me while I waited for the governor of Calcutta to release the children.  I don’t think she was very excited to have someone new in our home who would need my attention more than she did.

Kara Comes Home

Kara and Susan 1980

The day finally came, Kara was coming home.  That’s when I received the call from IMH’s director explaining how she was probably older than ten.  She also explained that the escort from India would not continue on to Salt Lake City from New York.  Kara would be flying alone under the watchful eye of a stewardess.

My mother, my sister, and Susan went to the airport with me.  I was glad of the support because I didn’t know what to expect.

Kara Nomi Lamphere arrived on June 13, 1980 (a Friday the 13th – was this an omen of things to come?)  She spoke three words of English: airplane, helicopter and car. My life had just been turned upside down.  She immediately gravitated to Susan which made things a bit easier for me.  We all piled into my car and headed towards our future together.

Once at home, Susan helped get Kara a bath while I fixed some food for us all.  We ate and then decided it had been an exhausting day, so we showed Kara her new bedroom, tried to explain to her about going to sleep without much success, but we left her with some picture books and a few toys. 

Susan went to her room and I settled down with a book and my cat to relax before going to sleep.  I turned out my light about 10:30pm and fell asleep.  I woke up in the middle of the night and checked on Kara; she was sound asleep on the floor. A few nights later, I found her playing with only the night light on.  The poor kid could not get her days and nights straightened around for several weeks.

The next day, my mother and I took Kara shopping with us.  We had to get her some clothes to wear.  We found it really interesting that Kara had such a strong sense of what she wanted in tops and shorts.  Anything she wore always looked good on her.

Kara Lamphere

She did grow 10 inches from June to September. I was buying new clothes every couple of weeks that summer. Thank God for thrift stores!

While out shopping, we discovered one of her behaviors neither my mother nor I had ever encountered.  She tried to steal some fruit and my mother, who saw her do it, told her “NO!”  She rolled her eyes back in her head and went into a catatonic state.  Over the next few months, she used this self-preservation behavior frequently in order to avoid discipline.

Susan decided it was time for her to become independent. She was working a full-time job now.  With the assistance of her caseworker and myself, we helped her locate an apartment and helped her move.  She and I remained friends for many years until she moved to California and married.

Our First Years Together:

During that first summer together, we learned that Kara knew how to swim, was a quick learner and by the time the school year began, she was speaking English like it was a native language.  Of course, she often didn’t know what a word meant, but she’d say she did, so communication was a bit difficult. 

It was also difficult to keep her in clothes; she was 4 feet 2 inches when she arrived and was 5 feet tall by the beginning of school.  That was as tall as she would get.

School!  If I had known then what I know now, I would have tried to home school her.  At the time, it didn’t even occur to me to do that.  I think she would have benefited with the one-to-one attention. 

As it was, she was given into the care of an elderly teacher whom she dearly loved, to learn what she needed to go into fifth grade.  She did well with this teacher where she wasn’t doing well with me.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

At the time no one had ever heard of RAD.  It has only become a diagnosis in the last 20 years.  Kara was a classic RAD child. She was a victim of parental and care giver abuse. Her behaviors at home with me were really disturbing.  She was the same way with my mother, but totally different with my sister.

Kara was an accomplished thief.  I was always discovering things that didn’t belong to her.  Money was also missing from my wallet.  When a neighbor came over and demanded that she cough up the $10 he was missing, I defended her and gave him the money back.

She was also an accomplished liar. Oh my God, could she lie! She would take a lie to her grave, but never admit what she did was wrong.  She had no experience with right or wrong behaviors. It made for a frustrating adjustment period.

Life with Kara in my home was a battlefield.  She was an expert at doing little nitpicky things to annoy me.  Family parties became unpleasant and stressful.  She would start fights at the parties with me or my mother.  I reached the point of wanting to avoid my family altogether at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

My birthday that first year gave me an indication of what all the holidays and birthdays were going to be like with Kara. She hated the fact that I was the center of attention and did her best to make it unpleasant.

Christmas was even worse. She didn’t understand giving and getting presents. She wanted everything under the tree. She was mad when another person opened a gift. She started a fight with my mother and then with me.  She started sulking and screaming at me.

It was a relief for me when school began again in 1981. She needed a routine to function well. I hate to admit it, but I’m not all that routine oriented.

It was on March 23, 1981 that we finalized her adoption.  She was officially my child.  I felt that hopefully we were on our way to being a family. However, that was wishful thinking on my part.

I had an engagement ring in my jewelry box that she stole and gave to a girl at school.  The first I knew about it was when the school called and asked if I was missing a ring like that one.  I checked my jewelry box and sure enough it was missing. 

The reason she told me why she took the ring was that she wanted to be friends with the girl. I tried to explain stealing was wrong for the umpteenth time. She never got the concept.

She stole from our Christian bookstore; I made her take the item back.  That didn’t faze her any.  She was very adept at shoplifting and I would find items I had no clue where they came from.  We think she stole money from my sister and my nephews, we were never sure.

Children running

I had a rule, no children in the house until I was home.  She continually broke that rule. Almost every day when I came home from work, there would be children leaving by the front door as I was going in the back.  I had my concerns as to what was going on while I wasn’t home

I was pretty sure she was sexualized somehow.  It wasn’t until many years later that I learned what her life in India was like. She had experienced grief at a young age and parental sexual abuse. Her trauma just was so indescribable. She has experienced multiple traumas her whole life.

I eventually learned what had happened in the jail in Calcutta.  The jailers, mostly men, continually raped all the young girls being held there.  These girls ranged in ages 5 to 15.  Accordingly, the creeps raped the young boys, as well.

Kara’s second year was almost identical as her first year. Myra, my sister would take her for a few hours or a couple of days to give me some relief from the constant attacks. She continued to attack me every chance she had. It was mind numbing.

She has experienced so much trauma in her life, that I don’t think she will ever be able to recover from it. I have PTSD that I got from her that still affects me to this day.

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW (a mother of a child with RAD)

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Kara Lamphere

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.

Funny Doctor

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.

Police officer

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.


Thank you for reading. Here’s a link to my book:

Amazon.com: My Adoption Life: Living with a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) Child eBook: Lamphere, N. Ann: Kindle Store

N. Ann Lamphere, MSW

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