Adoption RAD and Five Steps of Encouragement – Part One

Adoption RAD and Five Steps of Encouragement:


Hello! This is Laurie and I have created this blog to encourage adoptive and foster families who are navigating through the issues of adoption. I have written all of my posts on the subject of adoption but have specifically targeted adoption RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). Please scroll through my posts and have a look.

My last three posts were a series about RAD, DID and integration. It is about trauma and the results of a shattered heart called DID. I brought definition to DID (which is putting the heart back together again) and said I could help if you thought your child has a shattered heart. Please take a moment to read them. It may be helpful for your situation.

Today I am starting a five part series of posts about five steps of encouragement. I will be using an acronym FAITH. These are steps I have learned on my journey through the effects of adoption RAD which have launched me into faith instead of discouragement. I trust it will help you the in same way!


First Step – F For Failure:

         I don’t mean your failure – so take a deep breath and hear me out. I wrote a post a while ago about burden bearing which applies here so take a second and read it. We are to help people by bearing their burdens. Then we are to cast our burdens on the Lord. From this point it is God’s job to teach life lessons and we need to stay out of the way. Otherwise we are enablers.

Adopted RAD children need to fail in their efforts to hold everyone at arms distance (as a self-protection). They really need to fail at many things they do especially the ones allowing them to live life as an island. Failure is the only way they learn they aren’t as independent, tough and strong as they imagine.


Failure in Your Home with You:

         It is typical for parents – biological and adoptive – to want to fix things in the lives of their children. This is normal but not necessarily helpful. It is not realistic or your job to make life perfect for your children! When we do it creates “entitled” children that expect life outside our home to be perfect too. We all can attest life doesn’t treat anyone extra special.

So, let’s talk about allowing our children to fail while they are in our house – where they can be safe as they fail. For the RAD child failure is an impeccable teacher. So, what does this look like?


Thinking the Whole Situation Out:

One of the symptoms of RAD is the inability to have cause and effect thinking. This is to your advantage. Take the time and process the situation out to the end. This allows your thoughts to be ahead of your child’s and you can use it as a teaching tool.

I am not suggesting we use a situation to cause harm to any child! Let me say it again – I am not suggesting we use a situation to cause harm to any child! It is not my heart to harm. Instead, I propose we use every situation for the teaching opportunity it presents.


How Do We Allow Failure to Teach?

         Like I said – our RAD children don’t have cause and effect thinking so failure (as a teacher) allows learning opportunities. This prepares our children for life outside the walls of our home. Better they learn these failure lessons where they are safe and have a softer place to land (in your home). Again, they need to learn they are not as indestructible as they believe.


An Example of failure:

         The school my children went to had a pretty strict dress code. They weren’t allowed to wear zip up hoodies during school. My oldest adopted RAD child didn’t follow the rules and her hoody was confiscated. The school contacted me and I went in and got it. I explained to my daughter (again) the rule was easy – don’t wear it during school. I also said she would lose it if she did it again. She did it again and when I got it back and cut it up in front of her – I threw it away.

I already knew she would wear it again so I didn’t fix it by taking it away from her permanently the first time. This situation impacted her enough that it didn’t happen again with any other dress code issue. (I cut it up because I knew if I just threw it away she would retrieve it and wash it) Issue settled!



         Think out the situations presenting themselves and find a teaching opportunity. Allow your children to fail in your home (now) so life doesn’t have to cruelly teach them later. This is being a responsible parent who isn’t an enabler.

My intention is to encourage adoptive parents out there to navigate through adoption issues and RAD with some tools. Hope this was helpful!! Please leave a comment in the box below. I would love to hear from you! Until next time…

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Adoption RAD and Five Steps of Encouragement – Part Two | Abba Father's Love
  2. Trackback: Adoption RAD and Five Steps of Encouragement – Part Three: | Abba Father's Love
  3. Trackback: Adoption RAD and Five Steps of Encouragement – Part Four: | Abba Father's Love
  4. Trackback: Adoption RAD and Five Steps of Encouragement – Part Five: | Abba Father's Love
  5. Trackback: Do You Have an Adopted Child With Behavioral Problems? It May Not Be Your Fault: | Abba Father's Love

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