Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Q&A #258

My internet has been down for 3 days... and my cable and my phone... but mostly my internet. It's been a frustrating few days resulting with me yelling at Comcast a few times. GRR! It's fixed now though so I'll get back to vacation pictures soon. I have some other things I have to catch up on first though. In the meantime, here's the latest Q&A. :) 

*We love Dennys and despite having every restaurant in the world around us, we do not have a Dennys, sadly.
We missed Denny's in TN too!! When Frank and I were in college we hung out at Denny's almost EVERY night (literally! LOL). It was one of the only places around that was open after the dorm curfew! LOL Once we moved we were sad to not be able to find one anywhere. Whenever we went out of town we were always excited to see one and eat there and everyone thought we were weird! haha Now we have one just down the street. It's not our favorite breakfast place, but we've been there a couple times a year. All our California friends LOVE Cracker Barrel which makes me laugh because I'm kinda over it. ;) 

Still overwhelmed by what this means for family. And heart broken because these kids had this done to them. It's not their fault! Is there any hope for them at all?
Well, yes. I don't want to say that it's completely hopeless, because it's not. Not ALL that many years ago, when Autism was a brand new diagnosis, there were people out there who were saying that "those kids" were unteachable. That they were "uncontrollable". That they should be "put into institutions". Heck, it wasn't long before that, that they were saying the same thing about kids with Down syndrome. With research and understanding and training and awareness comes hope and help and healing and progress. My hope is that ten years from now there will be countless therapists ALL over the country who are highly trained to help families who adopt kids with RAD. Families won't have to live in fear of their children and they won't have to suffer in silence anymore. For now, one thing we DO know is that if these kids get the right help while they are young, they CAN learn to cope and grow into adults who can lead somewhat normal lives. Typically, an unattached child grows into an unattached adult... and I will talk more about that in another post that I'm already working on, but they can still become productive members of society and learn to handle social situations. Additionally, many children who are placed in a second home, for whatever reason, tend to leave their anger with their first family and can do quite well with their second family. No one really knows why this is, but so many families who have disrupted have said their child has been able to move on in their second family and even though they never form a normal bond, they're able to progress. So hope IS out there. Understanding from the world around us is the next step.

Not asking for your adoption specifically, but after years of attempting to help an adopted child with RAD, are there any alternative solution (s) for these children and for the families that adopted them?
Yes. Some families have chosen to try residential treatment for the safety of their child with RAD and the safety of their family. This can be short term or long term and can look different for each child/family depending on his/her needs. There are a few facilities who have programs tailored specifically for children with RAD which is nice. Many start as young as age 5, but few will take children with other diagnosis' such as Down syndrome because they have to be able to verbally accept their role in their diagnosis... and a child like Kellsey for example could not do that. Other families have chosen to disrupt. As I've said before, for whatever reason, children with RAD often leave their anger behind with their original family. It is thought that these kids "blame" their families for taking them from their orphanages or from their birth parents (if they are foster kids) and so their rage is aimed at their first adoptive family and often left there and they can go on to a subsequent family and do quite well. I'm sure someone out there is doing a formal study on this and I'd love to see the results. It's heartbreaking for the first family, but good for the child in the long run. Then there is intensive, long term therapy... the problem is finding the right therapist as they are still few and far between at this point. If a family is fortunate enough to live close to a good RAD therapist, there is hope... and as I said above, hopefully 10 years from now, they'll be EVERYWHERE, but right now, it's a learning curve for parents and doctors alike. 

I've been reading your blog for a few years now and while I believed what you said about RAD and how hard it is, I never really "got" it. It never really sunk in, the magnitude of what it meant in your life. Of course I know I still don't get it on a personal level and I hope I never do. But reading those quotes from other parents. Wow. It just struck me thinking back on the pictures you used to post of Kellsie and how cute she looked. All the comments of how sweet we all thought she was, it was probably like a knife in your heart each time because it drove you further back into the closet so to speak. How could you come out with the truth of what you were living when everyone thinks Kellsie is so precious?! No one would look at a picture of her and believe the stories you could tell of the real life you were living with her. And that is not a statement that puts any blame on Kellsie, believe me. I know you love her and none of this is her fault. But the loneliness you must have felt. I think it must be like the wife of the successful, popular, "perfect" husband who beats her every night. The shame of thinking you aren't doing enough and it must be your fault because everyone else thinks he's so great! I am truly sorry for what you and your family have gone through. I am sorry Kellsie experienced such neglect and abuse at the orphanage that she is like this. It's not fair to anyone involved. You are SO BRAVE for telling the truth of your situation. For not being part of the continued effort to sweep RAD under the rug. If what your family is going through has any value it is that you may save other families and children from the same. It's the tiny ripple that will hopefully lead to big changes in the adoption and mental health systems. 
I just want to hug you. Seriously. I was trying to figure out what part of your comment to copy and paste here so I could respond to it and I couldn't pick one part so I just put the whole thing. THIS. THIS is what every parent of a child with RAD needs to hear. In fact, I posted it in our RAD group (hope you don't mind) because I KNEW they needed to hear it. Anytime there was a lack of pictures of Kellsey on this blog, this is why. This and the fact that I couldn't for the life of me get one of her smiling for whatever reason and I knew if I posted one of her NOT smiling then everyone would pity her and that would drive me more crazy. In hindsight, I wish I would have been more honest earlier. Not completely honest, because like I have said, I will always respect Kellsey's privacy and let's face it, one day she will be an adult. My hope is that she will be reading and writing and have a job... I don't know what the future will hold for her. And so, should she ever read this blog, I want the details left to a minimum. Same goes for all my children. Still, it may have answered some of the questions that a lot of you had about her... And Kellsey IS a beautiful little girl. She CAN be very sweet. But she has RAD. And it was really, really, really, really hard. Thank you for this. Really

Just finished reading "Defending Jacob" by William Landay. The author gives the murder suspect the diagnosis of RAD, but presents the father as unaware that the boy even has any problems at all. My experience with RAD is limited to a friend whose adopted son's RAD imploded their family and reading of your experience. Would it really be possible for a parent to not suspect something is wrong with their child? In my review of the book, I took issue with this presentation. What do you think and have you read this book? 
Hmm.. I have not heard of this book. Interesting. So, was this character Jacob adopted? Is this a fiction or non-fiction book? I cannot imagine that a family who has a child with RAD wouldn't KNOW it. RAD is debilitating, not only for the child but for everyone in the household. I suppose a parent could be in denial... perhaps Jacob's father refused to see that Jacob had any issues and believed he was perfect? You hear of situations like that at school... where a teacher will call a parent in to talk about a child who is causing trouble and the parent turns it around and blames the teacher because their child could NEVER be bad! Still though, I can't imagine being blind to the behaviors that go along with RAD... these children will seldom be ignored. Their behaviors will escalate until someone listens/sees them. Interesting. Sounds like a good read. I'll have to look for it! 

My daughters elementary school does "Mystery history" once a year....they all choose a secret person to research and dress as and read their report and the other kids have to guess who they are in history! my daughter was Helen Keller this year too! 
This sounds like so much fun!! What a great idea! :) 

while i know this visit to Tim's Place was about so much more than ordering and eating food, i have to ask: how was the restaurant?! what did you guys end up ordering for breakfast? 
Oh I definitely should have included that in my post!! The food was fabulous!!! They serve big portions, they have a good variety and some very different stuff... Frank got breakfast enchiladas that were very good and spicy!! I got blueberry pancakes that were HUGE, Kass got a breakfast sandwich that looked yummy and the kids all got eggs, bacon and pancakes. Everyone was full and happy. I'd like to go back for lunch and try their fried green tomatoes, it's one of my favorites! 

as for kennedy's recently uttered aspirations/career choice du jour, she will do well no matter what she ends up doing. she will rise to meet her potential as she has shown over and over again in her young life. that being said, kennedy might be on the right track in thinking about a career in (and being obsessed with) claire's/fashion. i think she'd make a wonderful stylist since she's a natural fashionista! plus, kennedy seems as made to model as certain garments are (made) ready-to-wear! in other words, it could be a potentially perfect fit, if that is where her heart leads her. she has some time to figure it out, though! ; ) 
Absolutely! Kennedy loves Claire's and jewelry and fashion... And she will tell you if she thinks something does not look good! haha


Kelly Jacobson said...

This California friend does NOT like Cracker Barrel!!! But I'm the weird one who doesn't like In-n-out either!!!

ComcastCares1 said...

I am glad you are now back up and running. Should you need more help in the future, I am here to help. I work for Comcast.


Mark Casem
Comcast Corp.
National Customer Operations