By September 21, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Raising a child with RAD


The mother of Julia recently wrote a book and an article for a magazine describing her experiences raising her daughter, who she adopted at 8 months from an orphanage in Siberia. Her goal in the article and the second video above is to help convince the Russian government to reopen adoptions to Americans. Her daughter is now doing well, but it was a difficult road to healing Julia’s heart.

She said:

I knew something wasn’t right early on. We adopted Julia from a Siberian orphanage in February 2003. She didn’t clutch to me or gaze in my eye. She never rested her head on my shoulder or relaxed into a warm embrace. She didn’t respond if I sang or read to her. It was like she was there, but wasn’t.

For a while, weeks, maybe months, I sank deeper and deeper into depression, thinking I’d made a terrible mistake. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a mother?

Julia was a little more responsive with my husband, but only somewhat. For the first 10 months, I suffered guilt, shame and sadness. After traveling 10,000 miles, twice, to bring home this child, I was unwilling to let anyone know how I really felt. Then the revelations began. I hired a day-time nanny in early 2004. Anna was 21, experienced and energetic. She’d come with a glowing review from the mother of her last charges. When she mentioned Julia was having trouble warming up to her, a ding went off in my head. Why? Why isn’t Julia connecting to this lovely young lady who took her daily to the park, to playdates, to “mommy-and-me” classes. I thought for sure that Anna might be able to give her what I couldn’t.

Continue reading about her experiences on her website, Julia & Me.

You also can read an article she wrote in Women in the World magazine where she explains:

These children arrive in our arms with emotional and/or physical issues. Some of us are prepared—or at least made aware of disabilities before the adoption is completed. But most are caught off-guard when children won’t attach. This condition is called Reactive Attachment Disorder. It is caused by early separation from a birth mother. Babies don’t get the nurture and love they deserve. Their needs are barely met in the orphanages. They learn, subconsciously, it’s dangerous to attach.

For parents struggling with their children with RAD or other behavioral issues, there are resources to help. Specialism is an excellent website to begin your search for help for your child.

Posted in: Behavior, Home at last

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