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attachment disorder

19 replies

babybear5 · 16/08/2010 23:27

Hi there..wonder if anyone can help. I adopted a child with special needs 6 years ago and since she started school we have noticed a gradual decline in our mother/daughter relationship. I have gone to social services for help and possibly family therapy but have only received the outcome of being told that i am emotionally abusing my child. After phoning nspcc and health visitor they are suggesting i look into attatchment disorder....does anyone have any knowledge or experience of this?

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dekoLL · 17/08/2010 01:29

read this thread - there is lots of interesting info there. good luck!

maryz · 17/08/2010 10:05

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maryz · 17/08/2010 10:20

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maryz · 17/08/2010 10:29

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misspollysdolly · 17/08/2010 23:49

Hi babybear5

How old is your daughter? How tough are you finding it day to day to parent her? Do you ever have any breaks or respite from her? Has anyone ever mentioned 'carer fatigue' or 'secondary trauma' to you? What specifically do you want to know about RAD?

Sorry to throw so many questions at you, but it is a massively complicated disorder and I found it has been easier to deal with understanding it in little chunks, relevant to where we are at at a given time.

Thankfully it is becoming more widely known, more widely written about and more acknowledged by professional and parents alike which also means that effective support is being developed. One last question - Whereabouts do you live? There are some very interesting support services near me.


babybear5 · 18/08/2010 21:45

Hi there...thank you for all your replies. Sorry couldnt get back to anyone yesterday. Maryz i will check the links thank you. daughter is almost 10 now and we have never had respite, although i always feel that people would judge us for doing this..because she is would seem like we are sending her away just because we want peace whilst keeping our birth children..if you know what i mean. I havent heard of secondary trauma and im not sure what im looking for with RAD. Think im just trying to make things fit. We are in the stirlinghire area so it would be good to know if there is anything out there.

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misspollysdolly · 18/08/2010 22:57

Hi babybear5

The key things for adopted children really are their early life experiences, how responsive and attuned their caregivers/parents have been, and how well or otherwise they have been able to forn attachments to those key caregivers. The main issue alongside these things is trauma - which can take many forms - and the patterns in reaction to this trauma that these children get into from their earliest days.

Their brains are often hard-wired to be in a sort-of 'survival' fight of flight mode for much of the time - and it is this 'hard-wiredness that make RAD so hard to reverse or make progress with - and it's this that those on the outside of adoption issues don't always get at all. But the hard-wiring of the brain happens in infancy and seems to pretty much leave these kids fairly locked into survival mode, even when they get into a consistent, loving and nurturing family environment.

They can display - sometimes vey subtly - deep-seated issues with trust. Control is pretty much everything to them. This takes a massively toll on relationships and our ability to parent - to love and keep on loving does come at a cost and you must consider how you can get as much 'respite' in whatever form this takes.

For a good basic explanation of Secondary Trauma in an adoption context try this link - it's from the same site as maryz link below - a blog that I am finding extremely and consistently helpful.

Not sure of any of that helps - it's late and may just have typed a load of waffleWink!! Keep asking questions!


babybear5 · 18/08/2010 23:11

Thanks misspollysdolly. Its not waffle at all. makes complete sense. I will look at the link. Just gone to another link about AD which was interesting..however as my daughter left her birth mother at 3 days old and then was fostered by my own mother (who is a foster carer) and then moved in overnight with us when she was 2 i am beginning to wonder if i am on completely the wrong track now. Confused.
I did read that 'as adoptive parents attempt to attach to a child whose attatchment ability is impaired by developmental delays, the attatchment will either be non existant, distorted or focused around negative behaviour.
I am at a loss now!!! Sad

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babybear5 · 18/08/2010 23:16

Maryz..just looked at your many things are characteristic of my daughter but i cant understand where im coming from now as she didn't have an abusive background at all. Just a loving home with my mother who was her foster carer and then us...that's the bit that doesn't tie in???

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misspollysdolly · 18/08/2010 23:24

Not the wrong track no - though of course each child's case is different,which actually further complicates how we understand, respond and manage RAD - if every child's case is different, how can you theorise or consistently respond to it - IYSWIM.

There is quite a lot of interest in the pre-birth circumstances of these children - and I notice from your other thread that your DD has possible drugs/alcohol issues from her pre-bith experiences.

Plus, having had birth children as well as an adopted DD I 'get' how much ealier than birth bonding starts. Having had birth children youself, you will also - just by looking at your own birth children's lives and your adopted DD's experience, you will see how different her life has been. All this - experienced at such an early point in her life, when the brain is still very 'plastic' and constantly changing - will have had an effect and RAD - if that's indeed what she's struggling with - could in part be the result.

Try not to tie yourself in knots thinking about it.

babybear5 · 18/08/2010 23:30

I did notice that the pre birth experience can possibly be related to RAD so i know where you are coming from. It is very difficult and as you say each child is very different when they have special needs which makes diagnosis very difficult i suppose. Doesn't stop the frustration when professionals don't listen though.

It is good to know there are people like yourself to chat to though..thanks Smile

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maryz · 18/08/2010 23:35

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sumum · 19/08/2010 12:03

Hi babybear, from the other thread you said your dd had been exposed to drugs in the womb.
from my experience this can indeeed factor in AD.
the baby can suffer damage to the brain from the drugs and also they are so busy withdrawing when thay are born that normal attachments are disrupted even in a loving home.

She has indeed suffered abuse so you are right to look into this.

MatthewS · 19/08/2010 21:09


Thanks for the shout out to - we are focused on children who have suffered trauma (particularly those who are adopted or are in foster care) and the fallout from these experiences. It is so important to realise that the caretakers of Children of Trauma can experience secondary trauma - so as you work through your child's issues, you need to take care of yourself and your spouse as well.

Be Well,

babybear5 · 19/08/2010 23:34

Thanks guys..dont have a lot of time to get on here but i do appreciate everyone's support and read all the messages..which are really encouraging. own mum adopted a boy, now 19 who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome also. Exactly the same things you say occurred, He was with them from birth etc, felt he didn't belong, doesn't love them etc and now has left home and doesn't really keep in contact. Perhaps he too has all fits.

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Ali4 · 24/08/2010 12:32

Hi babybear5

I have 2 adopted boys (3.5y and 4 weeks when placed) who are now 8 and 4 years. The eldest D has ADHD and AD. We are due therapy next month for D. He has severe delay in comprehension and emotion, short term attention span (10 minutes at school) and can now be verbally and physically aggressive he also shows no remorse when he does something wrong.

I have found a few parents on AUK who have children with similar problems. I don't know if you have posted on there or not but would be happy to talk to you

babybear5 · 24/08/2010 21:04

Hi Ali4...thanx for your reply. Like us, you sound like you have your hands full. There seems to be so many complex difficulties adopted children have that is difficult to know where to start. We don't as yet have any diagnosis. I have just managed to get on to Barnardos waiting list which is about 6-8weeks long. Hopefully will receive some help now.

Havn't posted on AUK (excuse my ignorance but not sure what it stands for) but yes it would be good to talk Smile

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Ali4 · 26/08/2010 16:24

Hi babybear5

AUK is Adoption UK, the message boards are free and there seems to a lot more parents on there whose children have a wide range of problems. My two's BM drank and took drugs through pregnancy! AUK They have been really helpful and supportive whenever I have been on with questions. Please let me know how you get on re: appointment and some help!

SPeak soon

Ali4 · 26/08/2010 16:36

Forgot to mention that you can private message people on AUK so if you would like to talk privately that would be fine

Let me know and I can tell you what name I am using.

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