Before Amy, Kathleen, and Beth met online, they were complete strangers—living in the same town and struggling with the same hardships. They are all adoptive moms of children with reactive attachment disorder (RAD). And they all felt alone and without effective professional help.
When they realized they all lived within miles of each other, the women decided to meet in person for coffee. “That was shocking because you think that RAD is so rare and you’re living alone in it,” said Amy. They quickly realized, however, how similar their stories were. Although each had her own unique child, the children’s troublesome behaviors were the same. And although Amy, Kathleen, and Beth had each sought outside help, clinicians had blamed them for their children’s troubles. That’s because children with RAD act very differently out in the community than they do at home. They charm and manipulate adults around them as a form of self-protection and to push away their primary caregivers. Oftentimes, parents of kids with RAD look like “bad parents” to therapists, friends, and family as a result.
The more they talked, the more Amy, Kathleen, and Beth realized how many other parents struggled too. They each shared many connections with other moms in what they call “the underground world of RAD”—closed online forums in which parents unite outside of the judgement of their own communities. Meanwhile, families worldwide are falling apart without the help of clinicians who understand.
So the women decided to do something. Today, Amy, Kathleen, and Beth are a 3-woman advocacy group called RAD Advocates to help other parents like themselves. “We’re not going to sit back,” said Amy, “and allow the lack of education that professionals have stop families from thriving.” RAD Advocates is on a mission to change the way communities and professionals support children and families affected by RAD. And they invite your help.
Watch the 6-minute chat below with RAD Advocates and IACD Director Forrest Lien about what clinicians are missing. And stay tuned for many more table chats like it in weeks to come.