What to Do When Your Extended Family or Friends Don’t Understand Adoption RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder):

What to Do When Your Extended Family or Friends Don’t Understand Adoption Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD):


         Hello again! I want to encourage as many adoptive families as I possibly can with this blog. It is why I created this blog in the first place. I hope it encourages you!

My last post was about dividing what is yours and what is your adopted RAD child’s issues. It is helpful to pre-empt family conflict by dealing with your own personal issues beforehand. Then when conflict arises in your adopted children, you’re only dealing with their issues. Please take a moment to check out my last post.

Today we are going to talk about when our extended families don’t understand adoption RAD. It is a difficult subject especially for the adoptive family. Many times regular parenting tools don’t work for adopted RAD children and different tools are needed instead. This is so hard to explain let alone implement when friends and family don’t understand adoption RAD.


Extended Family and Friend Parenting Conflicts:

         In many ways it would be helpful for extended family and friends to read this blog or take adoption classes about RAD symptoms. It would be nice but as far as I know family and friends aren’t included in the adoption process. Maybe they were when you adopted but not when I did.

Here are some suggestions that may be helpful concerning your extended family and friends and explaining RAD. Some may work and some may not:

1)  Google the RAD symptom list and print it out to give to your family and friends. Maybe they will listen to professional information. It is an extensive list with some very unusual symptoms.

2)  Find and go to an adoptive parents support group. It is so rewarding to be around other parents going through the same or similar adoptive issues. You can glean from each other about how to deal with difficult behavior, etc. Some very creative ideas have come from the support group I lead. Maybe take some family or friends to one of your support group meetings. Hearing others say the same things you are saying could be helpful and eye opening.

3)  Find friends that believe you when you need to vent about what is going on in your home. Not everyone will believe you because your adopted RAD child may not display difficult behavior in front of them. They might not understand the parenting tools you are using because your tools are so different from the tools they use. But there may be friends you can find who will encourage and support without judgment.

4)  I feel the most important relationship in the family is the one between spouses. It is necessary to have a united front (between spouses) with friends and family especially when they don’t understand adoption RAD. If both of you are saying your child is behaving in a certain way – it is difficult for others to argue the contrary. Sometimes family and friends think they are the authority on parenting adopted RAD children when they are not. If that is the case you may need to ignore them. They may not listen no matter how hard you try to explain.



         It is always good to learn who you can and can’t confide in when it comes to your life. The same is true when you have adopted RAD children. It is such a diverse and complicated disorder and these RAD children are masters at manipulation and narcissistic control.

Build the emotional support which will benefit you, your spouse, and your RAD children as a whole. That sadly doesn’t always include everyone who is in your extended family or friend’s circle of relationships. Strong support for your family is important.

Thanks for listening. Please leave a comment in the box below. I will be back next week with another post. Until then…

Adoption, RAD and Soul Response Mechanisms – Part One:

Soul Response Mechanisms


Hello. My name is Laurie. The reason I started this blog was to help foster and adoptive families who have adopted children with adoption issues and RAD. RAD stands for Reactive Attachment Disorder. I’ve written many posts on this subject. Please check them out.

My last post was on receiving respite care for your children so you and your spouse can take a break and get away. Taking regular date nights is helpful too. Please take a moment and read this helpful post.

Today is part one of a two part series and I am going to talk about soul response mechanisms. These mechanisms go off when something touches the wounded or pleasurable spots of our soul. There is a list of soul response mechanisms below and I will define them according to my life coaching understanding.

Next week’s post will be part two of this series and I will talk about getting help with the negative soul response mechanisms. Please come back next week and read further on this subject. I want to help with the negative mechanisms in your life or the life of your adopted child.


List of Soul Response Mechanisms:

  1. Triggers
  2. Devices
  3. Labels
  4. Scars
  5. Chains
  6. Yokes
  7. Mantles
  8. Imprints
  9. Titles



Triggers – buttons on your soul (soul = mind, will and emotions) that cause an old response to a new situation. Triggers can be good and bad and strongly coincide with touch, sound, smells and similar replicating events. In other words – the new situation may feel the same as a previous good situation or a traumatizing bad situation. The trigger can be pleasurable or painful in direct accordance to what previously happened.



Devices – Inclination, tendency or disposition towards something even though it may not produce a positive result. (Taken from the Free Dictionary app on my phone) It may run in the family as a generational curse. Example: An inclination to give up too quickly or a tendency to be too strict. It is where we get the phrase, “Left to their own devices.”



Labels – verbal word curses that have given the receiver a way to be seen by others. Bullies are good at giving people labels. A label can be good or bad but stays and is seen on the person by others subconsciously. It’s like they are wearing a sign saying, “Reject Me or Treat Me Like I’m Dirt.” If it is positive the label could maybe read something like, “leader.”



Scars – places where the soul has healed over from a wound – but doesn’t necessarily mean it is healed beneath the surface. There may be an “infection” deep in the soul that needs to be released so the wound can truly heal. It can also mean a wound was there, has healed and just has a scare to prove it.



Chains – where the person has participated in a bad habit to the point the habit is negatively affecting their behavior and life. (Another word could be a stronghold) Chains can also be generational. Chains are negative instead of positive unless they represent being in close bond to one of the Trinity.



Yokes – usually are burdens carried which don’t belong to the person carrying it. I have written a previous post on this subject called “Burden Bearing.” Please check it out because burden bearers carry yokes. A positive example of a yoke would be, “yoked to the Lord in relationship.”



Mantles – can be good or bad. It is something passed down from generation to generation and is directly connected with the person’s destiny or bloodline. It can be passed from one person to another just like Elijah did for Elisha in the Bible. If it is a good mantle – it has a good effect on the person and is God’s declaration of who they are. If it is a bad mantel – it will keep the person from their destiny.



 Imprint – can be good or bad. Example: When a teacher had a good or bad influence (imprint) on you. It isn’t as intensive as a trigger but it does influence the person to make life choices for the good or bad.



Titles – are similar to labels but have a bigger impact. Titles are not as big as mantles. Again, they can be good or bad but they communicate a description of the person’s personality trait or gifting. Examples of good titles: Administrator, teacher, or merciful. Titles are obvious because of what the person loves to do. A bad title would have a negative connotation. Titles can be generational as well.



          These are my definitions of each soul response mechanism. In my next post I will expand on them and bring in my thoughts about healing the mechanisms. Please join us again next week.

Please leave a comment in the box below. I would love to know what you think. Till next time…

Final Symptoms of RAD

Final Symptoms

Today’s post will be on the final symptoms of RAD. There are seven symptoms:


  • Inappropriate and clingy behavior
  • Destructive behavior to self, to others, and to material things (accident prone)
  • Abnormal eating patterns
  • Lags in learning
  • Abnormal speech patterns
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Lack of cause-and-effect thinking


Inappropriate and clingy behavior – My girls displayed this symptom in different ways.


  1. First adopted daughter– She didn’t display this symptom to me at all because her goal with me was a passive approach. She avoided me for the sake of ostracizing me out of her life. Her father, on the other hand, was a different story. She put on this “woe is me” kind of ‘I’m so weak that I need to be protected” façade. She treated him like a boyfriend that she could emotionally manipulate. It was more than having her father “wrapped around her little finger” or the “apple of his eye” type of father-daughter relationship. It was very intentional. My husband came to see right through her tricks.



  1. Second adopted daughter – Wanted me out of the house for sure. But she took this symptom in a new direction. She was able to be close to me  with the intending of making my day miserable.

 On top of acting passive aggressively all day, she found out that her birth mom was mentally handicapped. She wanted to be just like her birth mom, so she would act like a baby and play dumb.

  This evolved into being clingy with aggression. She would daily walk beside me and put her hand on my shoulder and press down. She would grab hold of my purse strap and pull down to the point of pulling me over or off balance. She had to constantly touch or poke me. I would ask her to stop but the very next day she would be right back at it with pleasure.


Destructive behavior to self, to others, and to material things (accident prone) – Both girls approached this symptom differently too.


  1. First daughter– In my last post I talked about the men she met online. The interesting thing here is that she followed in her birth mother’s shoes by not picking kind or good men. This was very self-destructive and self-demeaning. Probably with self-hatred added to the mix too.


  1. Second daughter – She acted out in all three categories. She was destructive to herself, others and to my things. She liked to pinch herself until she swelled up.


She showed destructive behavior towards others when she would bully everyone on the playground except for one girl. This girl played with our daughter because she was easily controlled and was ultra-sensitive towards everyone including our daughter.

 She also was destructive with everyone’s material things and all of her own things were ruined. She seemed to not care about material things and any effort to teach her differently was fruitless.


Abnormal eating patterns – Both girls had odd eating issues. They both needed to know we had all the food in the world that they could ever eat. This was probably do to the poor living conditions of the foster families they lived with. Both foster family homes were extremely impoverished.


 Lags in learning – 

  1. Our first adopted daughter didn’t have any lags in learning. She was a good but average student.


     2.  Our second adopted daughter had learning disorders due to possible fetal alcohol syndrome. This is the result of the birth mom drinking while she is pregnant, causing what I call “Swiss-cheese” brain. The alcohol  damages parts of the brain so they don’t work properly. Homework was difficult because one day she seemed to have a homework concept, then the next day she would act like she didn’t have a clue about the very same concept. She did admit she was purposely playing dumb so she would be like her birth mom. With spelling she had a photographic memory.


Abnormal speech patterns Mumbling was the most predominate abnormal speech pattern displayed by both of our adoptive daughters. Our first daughter did a great deal of passive behavior when it came to communications. Her answer for everything was “I don’t know” or “I don’t care.” She would do whatever it took to keep communications down to one-word answers. Towards the end of the time she was with us, she would spend days of not saying a single word to anyone in the house. Silent punishment was her passive aggressive retaliation.


Poor peer relationships – In previous posts I describe the girl’s relationships with friends. One daughter was surface in her relationships. The other was intrusive and at times aggressive and bullying. 


Lack of cause-and-effect thinking – Both girls were unable to think situations all the way out—at least not rationally. I feel this is due to the great amount of time in fantasy mode. (Please refer to my post on fantasy) It seems to break the connection to real life cause-and-effect thinking. 


 I’m sure I will touch on this “cause-and-effect thinking” in another post. Please comment on this if you relate or have questions. I would love to connect with you!! Till next time…

Our Story

Purpose of This Blog:

Hi, I am Laurie and I want to start this blog with our story. My name is Laurie and my husband and I have adopted two girls from Thailand and it didn’t go very well. It has been the most painful, lonely, and devastating thing we have ever experienced. As of today, my adopted girls are diagnosed with RAD, bipolar, PTSD, FAS, ADD, and ADHD. They possessed these disorders before we brought them into our home. Neither one of the girls live with us now because the oldest is old enough to be on her own and the youngest is just old enough to go on to Job Core.

I know how it feels when so many behaviors are going on in your home and the “normal parenting” process doesn’t work. I know how confusing it is when you are giving 110% of your love and it doesn’t seem to even scratch the surface. When you reach out and try to connect with love to encourage your beautiful child, and they seem to sabotage every ounce of effort or event meant to help them.

Then on top of it all, society wants you to parent just like they do and judges you when your child doesn’t meet the criteria of behavior they expect. Then you feel dazed because the parenting that is supposed to work is doing the exact opposite. When you do get up the courage to be vulnerable to anyone about what is going on, the main stream parenting group doesn’t get what you’re saying at all. This only drives you to a lonelier and lonelier place. I get it and I have been there.

I have found many proverbial gold nuggets along the way. Mostly having to do with my relationship with Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. They are the only reason I can pass on to you any hope of healing your broken heart to coming out on the other side in one piece.

In this blog I will address our story, insights about the bigger picture, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and topics of healing for your soul, among other things. I am now a life coach and all though I haven’t “arrived”, I have survived a boat load of chaos (in my home) and a very broken heart.

The Call

When I was seven or eight years old I remember having a deep desire to adopt. Where that desire came from God because none of my family or friends had adopted. All I  knew was there were children out there without someone to love and take care of them and I wanted to be one of the ones that provided this loving care.

Fast Forward

I am now on the verge of going down the church aisle to be married to a wonderful man. We met at a church camp and courted long distance for one and a half years. We covered all the questions and dreams we each had and finally decided to tie the knot after God confirmed we were supposed to be in covenant marriage together. My husband agreed that we would adopt after having a couple of children of our own.

Bouncing Baby

My husband and I waited four and a half years before our first little one came along. I had a hard time getting pregnant, carrying, and delivering her. She was healthy and whole and we were delighted to be parents. Because of the difficulties I had, we decided we would only have one biological child and adopt the rest.

Our Search

All adoptable babies in the United States were reserved for childless parents which we totally understood. To our dismay, social services wouldn’t even consider us unless we would take an older child. I instinctively knew we shouldn’t do that because of the behavioral problems of adopted children and we wanted our oldest biological daughter to be older than the adopted children in case they would act out. We searched and looked to no avail. Finally, we just laid our dream down.

But Then

Later, we decided to look into foreign adoptions. I was drawn to the Asian looking children because my husband and I thought they would be the most readily accepted in our community, and in our opinion, a beautiful people. I looked into Korea, Philippines, and Thailand. In my research I discovered that Korea and Philippines had higher rates of serious special needs in their kids so Thailand it was. Besides, the history of Thailand was so amazing and I just happened to be one of the kings kids in the musical, King and I, my older sister’s choir  put on when I was younger.

After the Paperwork Frenzy

We put our applications in to an adoption agency and after a mountain of paperwork, home inspections, and adoption classes, we received a package in the mail. It enclosed a picture of a little three and a half year old Thai girl and a letter asking if we would be her parents. They gave us as much of her history and background as possible.

In the adoption classes, the instructors taught as long as the child is in a foster home, there would be no reason they would have RAD. (Reactive Attachment Disorder) This little one was in a foster home and we were elated and said we would be her parents. Ten months later she was in our home.

Reality Bites

At the time our oldest biological daughter was around eight years old. She was very gentle and sensitive to the feelings of others. I taught her a lot of social graces and so forth. Well, my daughter from Thailand was three and a half but very used to having the freedom of running with a pack of other little children in her village without much supervision. The toughest one ruled the pack. So, this little one knew how to bully to get what she wanted.

Our adjustment period was very rough and every time I left my two daughters in one room to go into another room, my  oldest daughter got kicked, pinched, bit, slapped, shoved, or a clump of hair pulled out. This was a tough of time of trying to love and bring a new one in while protecting the oldest one from abuse.

Life Moves On

After the two girls settled into their positions in the family, life moved on. There was an undercurrent of concern in my heart because although my second daughter was adjusting to American life, she still didn’t seem to fully bond to anyone in the family. I decided I would just try harder, love longer, and be stronger for her and that would win in the end. Of course love conquers all, don’t you know.

3 Makes Our Quiver Full

More to come…