In celebration of National Adoption Month, I will write many things about the joys of adopting, especially adopting from the foster care system. However, adoption from the system does not come without its share of problems. Today I want to address one of the more common problems - Reactive Attachment Disorder.
The Mayo Clinic describes Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)as
Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don't establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers.
A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused, or moved multiple times from one caregiver to another. Because the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met, he or she never establishes loving and caring attachments with others. This may permanently alter the child's growing brain and hurt their ability to establish future relationships.
Reactive attachment disorder is a lifelong condition, but with treatment children can develop more stable and healthy relationships with caregivers and others. Safe and proven treatments for reactive attachment disorder include psychological counseling and parent or caregiver education.
I know when reading about RAD, many people would ask, "Why in the world would I want to adopt a child like that?" And my answer would be "Because these are the children that most need a loving, secure family in which to heal."
As the Mayo Clinic notes indicate, there is hope for healing for a child with RAD. I know it can happen - I have witnessed it first hand.
And please, if you are considering adoption of an older child from the foster care system, don't shy away from the children who need you the most. There are resources to help you all become a healthy, loving family, and who doesn't want that?!