OB: “They Seem Normal to Me”

The below is another repost.  I hope it is helpful for someone.  Please know some of us understand, at least a little.

NOTE: A couple of my kids have attachment disorders,  not RAD (reactive attachment disorder).  ETA: This has changed and RAD is a diagnosis here.  However, I think this is an important topic (and I hope I don’t mess it up royally!).

There is one sign of attachment disorders I wish everyone knew:  Parents may seem hostile and angry (at times, regularly, often, etc).  The parents seem to be pulling their hair out, lamenting over their children’s behavior; but all the rest of the world sees are cute, sweet, easy, well-behaved children.  Please believe the mom!

I have an example for you.

For the past several years, I’ve known this family.  A lovely woman who took in a family member’s extremely neglected and abused children.  The children dressed extremely conservatively, demure.  They were very understated in their appearance and mannerisms.  They were very sweet, mild-mannered, quiet, etc.  They attended all events and played with the other kids.  They seemed to love their mom, weren’t inappropriate with their affection, didn’t seem to mommy-shop, etc.

I had heard that they had some troubles.  Really, maybe mom was just expecting too much.  Maybe she was being too strict with her kids as they were getting older (preteens and teens).  Maybe the kids had gotten in a bad crowd so were trying some stuff out.  But mostly, they still seemed just fine. Remember, I saw them regularly.

Mom didn’t complain a lot, but she did seem frustrated.  VERY frustrated.

Well, stuff has happened and the girls are no longer around.  Sadly, they’ve chosen a horrible life, are out on the street, are both currently pregnant (at the time this post was originally written).  They are halfway across the country.

So I’m talking to mom yesterday.  She kept it brief; but what she went through with these girls was awful.  As you read through the diagnoses, a picture slowly starts to form.  They had a ton of diagnoses: RAD (reactive attachment disorder), IED (intermittent explosive disorder), ADHD, ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).  Other than adhd, those are some pretty hefty diagnoses.  And the diagnoses give you a GLIMPSE of what her life must have been like with these two children in her home.

I do want to say that though her anger, frustration, and fear were very evident, her sadness and love came through clearly also as we talked.

If you know a worried or frustrated foster or adoptive mom of charming children, please know that you see only what the children want you to see.  They can hold it together pretty well, “honeymoon” for you; but mom pays the price for that sweetness when she gets home.  She gets the rages, the tears, the poop, the urine everywhere, the hurting people, the masturbation, the threats, the being pushed away.  SHE gets all the child’s anger, sadness, and FEAR.

I wish I could explain this better.


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