How to Stay True to You When You Have an Adopted RAD Child:

How to Stay True to You When You Have an Adopted RAD Child:


         Here we are again to talk about adoption and RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) issues. It’s why I created this blog to begin with. Please check out any of my other posts because most of them are on adoption or RAD issues.

My last post was about deciding what to do when your family or friends don’t understand RAD. It is a difficult situation to be in and I gave some suggestions which might help. Have a look.

Today I’m going to talk about staying “true to you” amongst the barrage of RAD behaviors from your adopted child. This is difficult but necessary. I hope you discover some answers for the situations you may find yourself in.


Staying True to You:

         An adopted RAD child (especially the more severe cases) love to intentionally cause frustration to the people around them. They seem to delight in repeatedly pushing emotional buttons all day long. My adopted children were gleeful when they could get any emotional response out of me. The delight was so obvious and they learned very well what worked and what didn’t.

So, what do you do to stay true to you? To be clear – I am not saying a parent is supposed to react negatively to your child’s punishing behavior. Let me say it again – I am not saying a parent is supposed to react negatively to your child’s punishing behavior!! But, when the option of responding appropriately in ANY way to their punishment is out – this can be very emotionally destructive to the parent.

You are created to have emotions and two of those emotions are anger and frustration. It is wrong for your adopted RAD child to gain such pleasure from what they are doing to you. Their delight can emotionally wound a parent to the core. So, what do you do?


RAD and Staying True to You:

There is a delineating line which divides reacting and responding. In normal relationships when your emotions surface you can respond appropriately to the other person. Responding is the correct type of behavior – not negatively reacting. You have control of yourself and this is being true to yourself. The results is a better relationship.

With RAD adopted children it is very different. Reacting and responding are both out of the question. This is what I am referring to when I talk about being true to yourself. There is no option of responding which allows your emotions to be communicated – resulting in no emotional outlet (for the parents). So, how can being true to yourself happen?


But There is an Outlet:

         To your adopted RAD child you need to keep your frustration or anger to yourself. Keep your cool. Give short little phrases such as “maybe so”, “what are you going to do about that?” or “that’s a bummer.” To Father God, Jesus or Holy Spirit you can unload all your feelings until they are all out. If you don’t unload – it may create health and emotional issues. Stuffing your feelings will never be the correct decision.

You can unload on a friend or spouse. Eventually it may get old and your spouse is probably feeling the same frustrations and anger you have. So, learn to communicate with the ones who have the ability to handle all that you are going through. They are Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit and they can handle all you send their way. Unload to your heart’s content.



         Please comment in the box below. I would love to hear from you on this post or any of my other posts. Or maybe you have a question you would like to ask. I will be here again next week with another post. Until then…

Do You Have an Adopted Child With Behavioral Problems? It May Not Be Your Fault:

Do You Have an Adopted Child With Behavioral Problems? 


Hi all. This is Laurie and I created this blog to encourage adoptive and foster parents who are navigating through adoption and RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) issues. Please check out my other posts. They are all helpful advice about both issues.

My last post was about healing and faith. It was the fifth post of a five part series on encouragement. (Have a look) I talked about several issues which influence our faith in God and ourselves.

Today I am going to talk about adopted children with behavioral problems and the possibility that it may not be your fault. Not that we as parents automatically assume it is all our fault on all subjects of parenting. (I’m being facetious – lol) Many of the issues in adoption are the result of the birth parent’s decisions and the residual effects on their children.


Birth Parent Rejection:

We the parents of RAD children need to regularly remind ourselves we are not to take the blame or take the responsibility of causing RAD in our adopted children. We are not to be responsible for what the birth parents caused before we ever adopted our children. That lies firmly on the birth parent’s shoulders.

If your adopted children have RAD – they came to you with all the RAD symptoms attached. You need to understand you didn’t cause the symptoms! Your children are still reacting to the initial rejection from their birth parents and this caused the below symptoms of RAD. You did not!


Symptoms of RAD:

  • Superficially engaging and “charming” behavior
  • Lying about the obvious (“crazy lying”)
  • Stealing
  • Destructive behavior to self, others, and material things
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Lack of conscience
  • Lack of cause–and-effect thinking
  • Indiscriminate affection towards strangers
  • Lack of affection with parents on their terms (not cuddly)
  • Little eye contact with parents
  • Persistent nonsense questions and incessant chatter
  • Inappropriate, demanding and clingy behavior
  • Abnormal eating patterns
  • No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive)
  • Lags in learning
  • Abnormal speech patterns
  • Cruelty to animals
  • False allegations of abuse
  • Triangulation of adults
  • Preoccupation with fire
  • Narcissistic and entitled
  •  Manipulative and controlling




         I know for a long time I resented the birth parents of my two adopted children for several things:

  • For causing such pain in the hearts of my two children by their rejection
  • For their selfishness, lack of responsibility, care or well-being of their children (at least in the case of my two children)
  • For causing RAD
  • For leaving us to clean up their mess


Keep On Keeping On:

         I dealt with all my resentment and we took our two children to a RAD therapist. Relief filled my soul when the therapist told us our children “came” with all the above symptoms. It was not our fault they acted the way they did.

Understanding this wonderful revelation helped in so many ways. It doesn’t heal RAD but reminding myself of this fact sure lifted my spirit many times. It allowed me to keep on keeping on.

I hope it helps you in the same way. Maybe today is the first time you saw the symptom list and are realizing your adopted child may have RAD. If so, let me say again – IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT because THEY WERE LIKE THIS BEFORE THEY CAME TO YOU!



If you discovered your adopted child possibly has RAD – be relieved it is not our fault and then get them some help. I understand the younger they are when they get help the better. Your best bet is to google RAD therapists in your area.

If there are places in your soul which need healing – maybe I can help. I am a life coach and can be reached at  I help clients heal from emotional wounding.

Thanks for listening. I hope today was helpful and enlightening. I will have another post for you next week.  Until then…

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…

RAD Topics

More Symptoms of RAD

I’m going to continue talking about the list of symptoms found in Dr. Keck’s book (Please refer to my last post). My two adopted girls demonstrated all of the symptoms in the book except the preoccupation with fire symptom.

The symptoms I’m discussing today are:

  • Indiscriminate affection towards strangers
  • Little eye contact with parents, on normal terms
  • Persistent nonsense questions and incessant chatter
  • No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive)

Indiscriminate affection towards strangers – I have two separate stories for each of my adopted daughters that illustrate how we experienced the reality of this symptom.

1.   Second adopted daughter – I had to keep an eye on her all the time, whether in public or at home, because she was always too friendly to everyone. Even at 10 to 12- years – old she would intruded in everyone’s personal space regularly. She liked to touch everyone, even though she could see that the other person was distancing themselves. She would say that she knew better but she just decided she had a RIGHT to do what she wanted. It got her in trouble at school several times, especially with the touching.

When she was pre-teen, she paid very special attention to one particular married man at our church. She would stand in his way when he was trying to get by. This man was very appropriate with her and tried to be polite but it got to a point that I had to tell her she wasn’t to approach him anymore. Then, when she was around sixteen, she began to be obsessed with a married police officer in the town…

2.   First adopted daughter – When she was twelve years old she started to lie to us about who she was talking to on the computer. I was pretty electronically challenged at the time, so I didn’t think much about it at first. Then I started to get strange pop up advertisements when I was on the computer.

Then she was on the computer more and more with the computer going bling, bling, and bling with instant messages. We were so naive at that time!!! Not too long after this, our phone rang and she answered it up stairs. I just had a gut feeling that I should pick up the phone and I’m glad I did. There was a man on the other end of the line!

We discovered she was deep into it all on the computer and was conversing with many guys. She was planning to run away with the man she was talking with on the phone. She said she loved him and wanted to be with him or die.

Now, all this computer stuff is common now, but back then it wasn’t.  She had no discretion or personal control. The psychologist was very concerned as were her dad and I.

We also discovered she gave out her personal information and my other daughter’s names, our home address, the schools they went to, their pictures, and what activities they were involved with. We began to have strange cars passing our house at all hours. I was concerned how safe we were in our house.

Needless to say, we got an unlisted number, and this began our enlisting professional help. We did need to let the school know what happened so my girls didn’t run into any of the predators during or after school. We also got the police involved and discovered that the “man on the other end of the phone line” was being watched by the police for several things. We had to tell some of the parents of our daughter’s friends because she introduced them to the predator on line. NOT a happy event!

Little eye contact with parents, on normal terms – Both of our adopted daughters wouldn’t make eye contact with my husband or me unless they were lying. It became humorous at times because it gave then away almost every time. It hurt my heart to watch them play games that weren’t beneficial for them or those around them. What was the point anyway? The only reasoning I found was it kept us at a distance. They thought they didn’t need anyone and were “winning” at not letting anyone close. Wow, what a sad way to live!

Persistent nonsense questions and incessant chatter and No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive – I put these two symptoms together because a RAD child is so good at combining the two. Both of our girls would incessantly chatter. RAD kids want to push any buttons they can all day long. They seem to get great pleasure in causing chaos, probably because they have such chaos inside. It makes them feel in control in some way. Also, remember they want to make the adoptive mother leave the home for good. Their intention is to make things as uncomfortable as possible.

Both girls did love to ask many questions and then not wait long enough to listen for the answers. We took them to a doctor for the ADD and ADHD. Later, when we got them help for the RAD symptoms, we discovered that some of the ADD/ADHD symptoms were RAD symptoms intentionally causing chaos, push buttons and keep everyone at a distance.


I’m curious if anyone out there has experienced anything like what my husband and I have with RAD? If so please express what you are thinking. I would love to hear from you!!


Continuation on RAD

Today will be a continuation on the subject of RAD. In this post, I will highlight some of the symptoms and elaborate on the symptoms that we personally experienced with our adopted girls. I hope to bring both awareness and encouragement to adoptive families who may be navigating through some of the issues associated with RAD.

RAD stands for Reactive Attachment Disorder. There is a list of symptoms for RAD in the books written by Dr. Gregory Keck, PhD. and Regina M. Kupecky, LSW. The title of the books I’m referencing are “Adopting the Hurt Child” and “Parenting the Hurt child.”

The list of RAD symptoms range from:

  • being charming
  • lacking of affection
  • lying
  • stealing
  • lacking conscience
  • cruelty to animals
  • preoccupation with fire.

For a full list of symptoms look in the above books. They are great resources. Another option is to google “RAD” to find a myriad of information.

As mentioned in my previous post, even a newborn can decide to build a wall around their heart to protect themselves from the pain of being orphaned. This happens very early on, sometimes the very moment the birth mother gives them up. The decision/vow not to let anyone close because they don’t want to be hurt again sets into their hearts like cement.

I want to encourage any parent of an adopted child experiencing difficulties with RAD – it is not your fault! You didn’t cause RAD. The birth mom or birth family disrupted the normal bonding development of your adopted child. RAD happens before an adoptive family receives an orphan into their home. The birth mom is the relationship that affected your child’s behavior. Then, if the child was repeatedly disrupted in the bonding process, the deficit of bonding is even worse. The orphan can then decide to build the wall around their heart even more in-impenetrable. The longer the orphan does this, the harder it is for the orphan to be healed. So, it is important to get help for your child when they are still young.

Topics of RAD

I am going to elaborate on some of the symptoms (listed above) which I personally experience. There will be more on this topic in later posts:

Charming – when your child is very pleasing and pleasant to everyone in public but treats you like crap at home. Especially the adoptive mother. You’re the person they chose to project their anger on because you have stepped into the role of their birth mother. Remember your child is ultimately angry at but fantasizing about their birth mom. It’s a very twisted frame of mind going on in their head. The birth mom is the one that caused RAD to set in to your child’s heart. So, when you get home YOU get treated like crap? You get punished with their anger and difficult behavior to keep you at a distance. I can’t begin to number the times people would say to me, “Your children are so sweet and well behaved.” To explain to them that my children are Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde wouldn’t make sense to them so I would just smile and nod my head in frustration.

Lack of affection –  If you’re able to bond to others then you can give your love away and not feel like you have to protect your heart. But, if your orphan has RAD, when you hug them they protect their heart furiously so you can’t work yourself into their affections and heart. They probably have that spot only reserved for their birth mom if ever she would take them back or ask for forgiveness. Orphaned children with RAD lack affection unless it is on their terms with the intent to manipulate to get something they want.

My first adopted daughter would stiffen up when I hugged her. But, if she wanted to, she could somehow cover her heart and hug me mainly to move the hearts of anyone watching. If we had guests, she would make huge spectacles of loving affection towards me saying, “mommy I love you.”

Lying – There are three types of lying:

1) Catching them with “their hand in the cookie jar” and they deny it.

2) Expressing “half-truths” that make the situation seem all true.

3) Exaggerating lies that made what they are saying seem better or worse than it really was.

My girls were masters’ at all three types of lying. It became so easy for them to make something up. But, it became harder and harder for them to remember the story lie that they made up last time to cover the lie before that one. On and on the lies went.

Stealing – My adopted daughters only stole a couple of times to my recollection. Their friends had things they wanted so they stole them.

Lack of conscience – Even though my adopted daughters lived under the same roof, were taught the same morals, and went to the same church as my biological daughter, they still decided on their own morals. There morals allowed the stealing, lying, manipulation, etc.

Cruelty to animals and preoccupation with fire – my second adopted child was the only one that was cruel to animals.
I have no personal experience with RAD and the preoccupation with fire.


In upcoming posts, I will cover other symptoms of RAD. In the meantime, have you ever experienced any of the above mentioned symptoms with your adopted children? Have you found successful methods to deter these behaviors or cope as a family? I would love to hear from you. Please comment below.