Adoption is one of the biggest blessings you will ever encounter in your life. Three of our four children are adopted. It has been a joy and a treasure to watch them become part of a family where they are loved--to grow and flourish like no one thought possible. It warms my heart, and I wouldn't change a thing.
Adoption is also one of the biggest challenges you will ever encounter in your life. There is nothing emotionally easy about bringing a child into your family who has likely suffered neglect and, in many cases, abuse. Older ones especially don't understand why they feel and act the way they do. They want to love you but are guarded because they've been devastated before. It is often emotionally exhausting, and sometimes painful, to parent these wonderful children who have been through things no one should and most of us can't even imagine. Still, I wouldn't change a thing.
"Reactive attachment disorder" (RAD) isn't a phrase that is in most parents vocabulary. Among adoptive parents, however, RAD is all too common and all too real.
Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which an infant or young child doesn't establish healthy attachments with parents or caregivers. Reactive attachment disorder may develop if the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met and loving, caring, stable attachments with others are not established. (Mayo Clinic)
I'll be writing much more about RAD and adoption here. It needs to be talked about. It's more common among adoptive families than we tend to think. Your family isn't the only one dealing with it. Your family isn't 'weird' or 'messed up' or unique because of it. Our kids have endured things they shouldn't have to--that no one should have to--and survived. Now that they are in loving homes, they have a chance to flourish, but it isn't easy.
We parents need to talk about it, to share our stories, and to comfort one another.