Please click on the image above to watch Amy’s interview. This is the final segment of her story series. Read part one here and follow with part two from there.
Just when Amy thought she was done fighting for her family, she realized the battle had only just begun. The funding she secured to get her daughter to a residential treatment center wasn’t enough. Amy had to keep going for her daughter Michelle*, no matter how weary she had become.
At first, Michelle* had seemed to thrive during her time at a residential treatment center. She wasn’t acting out. The reason she wasn’t acting out, however, was the very reason she couldn’t stay. Between the rotating staff, artificial environment, and other clients in and out, Michelle wasn’t threatened by the risk of real relationships. She didn’t need to push anyone away. The longer she stayed at the residential treatment center, the further she became from Amy and her husband. “We weren’t healing what needed to be healed with her,” said Amy. “So we found the Institute for Attachment and Child Development. It just hit home for everything we felt she needed. We felt like we had to get her there for her survival.”
Yet, Amy needed to find funding again. Once again, everyone she approached shut her down (hear/read Amy’s story from the beginning here). When she was told that Medicaid wouldn’t cover her daughter’s treatment costs at the Institute for Attachment and Child Development, Amy asked for a reason. The woman on the phone told Amy it is just how the system is. “I cannot accept that it’s just the system for any of my children when it’s a life or death situation,” said Amy. She refused to accept the system for what it is.
It took Amy at least six hours to compose an email to the director of human services in her county. “I had one chance to get the attention of this director to hear our story and know that it’s important,” said Amy. Through her research, Amy learned that the cost of IACD closely compared to the cost of the residential treatment center the county paid for Michelle. She presented the director with what her daughter needed, the solution IACD offered as well as the similar cost to their current payout, and asked him how they could work together. While the director didn’t give her an answer, he directed her inquiry to a director of child protective services. At least she wasn’t turned down again.
After more hours of research, phone calls, and writing letters, Amy’s persistence had made a difference. The county agreed to pay for Michelle’s treatment at the Institute for Attachment and Child Development. “We had no choice but to fight for our survival,” said Amy. “It’s not because I had strength. It’s not because I was so well rested and my child with RAD was doing great so I had all this time to compose emails and find documentation. No, it was because I was desperate. I was fighting for my daughter with RAD, my other children who have the effects of RAD, for myself, for my husband, for our family unit,” said Amy.
Sadly, Amy and her family’s experience is typical. Too many families raising children with reactive attachment disorder have little support financially and emotionally. When parents don’t fight relentlessly for that help, they simply don’t get it. “It’s very sad that it has to be that way,” said Amy. “I was crawling on my hands and knees, asking everybody and anybody to please help us. That’s what got us through.”
*child’s name changed to protect identity
No matter where parents ultimately seek treatment for their children with reactive attachment disorder, we support them. It shouldn’t be so difficult for parents to find qualified clinicians for their children, to secure funding to get their children the help they need, and to get support from their friends, families, and other support systems in their lives. Sadly, however, it is. We’re on a mission to create a paradigm shift in this country in regard to reactive attachment disorder. But we can’t do it without you. We urge parents and professionals to keep educating themselves and others and to speak up. Even if you don’t see major changes in your lifetime, you’re doing so for future generations.