My husband and I are at the end of a 10 month, almost $10,000 saga with CPS- Child Protective Services- because they don’t understand that many adopted kids with RAD ( Reactive Attachment Disorder) lie. And yes, they can lie about their parents without a blink of an eye. As I look back on the last year and reflect, I realize that there’s a lot of forgiveness required of me. I’m just now sorting through exactly what that means.
It’s easier for me to forgive my children than the CPS workers. My adopted kids have been in counseling for seven years and we’ve seen much progress. But RAD is a very sad thing. It continues to break my heart. My kids, like many others with RAD, don’t lie to try to hurt me. It’s a self-protective behavior to try to control their lives. Their need to control comes from their background of trauma and abandonment. Kurt Ellis, our kids’ RAD counselor, http://www.familiesforevercounseling.com/ says it well in his article, Liar, Liar Pants on Fire. Elllis says, “It is not a moral issue to these kids. It is literally a matter of survival. In order to survive in an orphanage, many kids learn to lie. It is just what is necessary to get by. Even more importantly, it is a matter of control. Control is what makes a RAD kid feel the most secure, and lying is one way to gain control. The outcome is not even a consideration, because the only thing that matters is what is going on right now. If she can lie and get you angry, she is in control. If he can lie and make you unsure of the truth, he is in control. Consequences don’t matter, because they are willing to accept the consequences in order to maintain control.”
It is much harder for me to forgive the CPS workers, but it’s a work in progress. We had a young, “still in training” worker who just believed the horrendous things our child said I did to her. It didn’t matter that I asked the worker ten times over a period of a month to call the kids’ counselor. She didn’t- until she had already written the report that “confirmed” my abuse. Then it was only a five minute call. I tried many times to explain RAD and was met with a “deer in headlights” look every time, along with a smile and nod. Yes, I’m angry that she didn’t do her job. But I’m also angry that 10 months and 3 supervisors later, no one still actually read our paperwork-test results, doctor reports, counselor letters, school discipline reports, etc, etc. Finally, after spending thousands of dollars and preparing for our hearing, a different supervisor actually read our paperwork and ended the saga. “There is no hearing necessary. This is absolutely ridiculous. There’s no abuse here. This is a total waste of government money.” But what about OUR money that was wasted? What about OUR family that was torn apart? What about the last ten months of our lives that we have spent trying to fight the system? Yes, I’m working on forgiveness. I think it’s going to be a process.
My heart goes out to other adoptive parents who are struggling, to other families who will also have the police knock on their door at midnight. Why aren’t our social work programs teaching about RAD? Why isn’t CPS training their workers to call other professionals right away when they are already involved with a family? There are hundreds of thousands of adopted and foster children in our country. I’m sure we aren’t the only family who has been put through this trauma. As much as I’d like to put this whole ordeal behind me, I feel the need to try to help other families. Is there anyone at CPS who would read information on RAD if I sent it? Would they listen if a RAD professional called and talked with them? Or should I just keep picking up the pieces and move forward? Not sure yet…..