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Reactive Attachment Disorder and Its Frustrations

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 @ 05:11 AM
posted by: Karen Jean Matsko Hood

November 2, 2010 — Election Day today! Please encourage voters to vote today and in every election. If you know people who are not registered, help them get registered. We must stay energized and involved. No time for apathy or avoidance now; we have too many problems. Enough on that for today, but I will probably get on my soapbox again later.

Today was a long counseling session with my troubled son and his therapist.  Will this counselor be successful? I truly hope so, but I have sincere doubts. After 10 years of in-depth therapy, counseling, and sessions with both psychologists and psychiatrists, I am getting pretty skeptical and filled with doubt. His new therapist is full of optimism and has an excellent approach, but others have been there before, and then gotten frustrated in the end.

Aren’t all children born good?  Shouldn’t every child have a chance?  Is it fair that some are tormented mentally and psychologically at birth?  My heart goes out to these children.

My husband and I have adopted 10 children and are in the process of adopting our 11th. We have always believed we could make a difference in their lives by giving them love, safety, and stability. In this one case, we have really struggled and prayed and sought the help of therapists and counselors. We feel we are losing the battle fast. Today I was reminded that he has Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is as a complex, severe, and relatively uncommon mental health disorder that can affect children. RAD is characterized by noticeably disturbed and developmentally inappropriate ways of relating socially in most contexts. RAD arises from a failure to form normal attachments to primary caregivers in early childhood. This failure could result from severe early experiences of neglect, abuse, abrupt separation from caregivers between the ages of six months and three years, frequent change of caregivers, or a lack of caregiver responsiveness to a child’s communicative efforts.

Good heavens … I wish all parents could show love to their babies to help prevent this growing problem!  I feel guilty that I may be raising a child who will contribute to the repetition of this horrible pattern, and sometimes I cannot bear this thought. How do you mother someone who admits he does not care about anyone and exhibits the behavior to support this. The new counselor says we need to try to reprogram his brain. Okay, we will continue to try, but that is what we have been doing for over 10 years!

If anyone shares this same problem, please share your experience—frustrations, successes, and even failures—with us on this blog or on my husband’s blog at

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