trying to get psychological treatment for children in foster care

past few weeks on other posts many people well Kerry and Bizzi had written about their experiences with mental heath treatment.

Life for my son, now 17 has pretty much been the same.

I current have dx him myself as "locked in a room by his birth mom for 7 years and then placed in foster care and then treated like crap at public schools syndrome" 

I call it for short "the system sucks disorder"  SSD

I fully believed at one time my son had RAD and only RAD. Part of the problem is the mental health system is also not so much about helping people but in many ways about making money. He has been diagnosed everything from ADHD, Mentally Retarded, OCD, Autistic, Bipolar, Learning Disabled, Slow Learner, Dissociative Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, RAD, PTSD, and Depression. He has real licensed psychologist say he does not have each of those as well.
My son was placed with me for straight adoption in Aug 2001.  He was almost 9 years old.  He had lived with his birth mom until a month after his 7th birthday where he and his biolgical sister were removed because a man was having sex with them in the living room of the apartment they were living in while the mom had people over for Thanksgiving.  The people called police.  Social services had been out to their birth mom's home 40 some times during the 7 year my son had lived with her.  He has and older biological sister who was removed as an infant.  (that is another odd aside, when I fostered all of the children placed in my home were brought in by police, nary a 1 did social services think was in bad enough of a situtation to be removed.)
My son is not Mentally retarded.  when in good settings he functions well.  He can read, write, do some math.  He knows how to play people.  His IQ has tested 87, his non-verbal 98. 
The mental health treatment he has been given has consisted of drugs and many saying he is too dumb to participate in therapy.  I was required at placement to take him to thereapy until the adoption was final.  He asked to play with a school bus or used the restroom the entire time therapy sessions went on.  This therapist also dx him RAD and I was told I had to get RAD therapy before community services board or social services would help more.  This my fall into the RAD cult.
My girls in stark contrast have faired much better yet had just as dismal predictions.  I was their one and only foster parent.  They were not in therapy long, just enough to get clear statments made to be used in court about the sexual abuse they went through.  I was not really made to be in therapy with them (well we did have to go again for 3 months to get letter for court saying adoption was appropriate for the then 6 and 3 year old children.)  They do well in school for the most part.  No mental health dx. 
My son was either placed in classes at school where he was the only potty trained talking student; or dumped where he was bullied to the point of trying to kill himself.  He was treated like dog shit by the one agency, public schools, which is given most of the federal money to help children like him. 
My son was in RTC for 5 months last year due to him being arrested for being in a neighbors home 1:00 am in the morning....  a long story.  the RTC sucked...  the drug they had him on was damaging his liver... he walked around nasty dirty... (if he walked around like that in my community, with his disability, especially when he was younger, you know what they would do?  call social services on me; but the same system pays a high profit RTC $18,000 per month to house him, drug him, and neglect him)
Last night, drug free, we sat through dinner at a Japanese steak house... his behavior was getting a little off, we switched around chairs and the rest of the evening was FINE. 
some little thing, change the environment, is just too hard for the federal funded government systems to do. 
what was my point in this blog.... 
my heart goes out to all the poor kids stuck in the RAD cult and then the subsequent public mental health system when the RAD cult fails them....  can't anyone just see the problem and let the kid sit somewhere else?   

Finding the right help

Those who have followed my writings know my early days on the Internet found me on two main forums -- adoption.con and this support group for adults with RAD.  [The owner of the website was an AP, and agreed to have an adult-RAD only section because a former foster kid explained to her adults living with RAD need their own private place to discuss problems they are having.]

Most of us RADults were either adopted, fostered and/or victims of domestic abuse.  We saw ourselves as RAD because the homepage offered a list of symptoms and descriptions.... behaviors and reactions that really seemed to fit.  According to most RAD lists, we the adopted/fostered have:

  • An aversion to touch and physical affection. Close contact is seen as a threat and causes enormous discomfort.  [I would tell people I liked about my safety-bubble...  this imaginary barrier that surrounds me and keeps people from touching or hugging me.  Friends of mine always thought I  was nutty and hysterical.] 
  • Control issues. Because so much in our lives has gone out of control, our need to control certain things gets perceived as demanding, defiant, even dysfunctional.  [I was always amazed how many of "us" have eating disorders and alcohol/drug/sex addictions because of our warped control-issues.] 
  • Anger problems. Anger is a major problem mostly because many of us never learned how to express anger properly or effectively.  Many see us as being manipulative, passive-aggressive, or even unstable.  [I have been told by friends they used to get scared/afraid of me when I would unleash.] 
  • Difficulty showing genuine care and affection.  This "symptom" seems to bother people the most because many of us don't have a problem showing care and affection towards strangers.  In fact, we seem to prefer strangers to those wanting a relationship that requires commitment and depth.  We're seen as superficial and inappropriate, but only by those who think they deserve ("earned") more. 
  • An underdeveloped conscience.  When a person has an enormous amount of hurt, hate, rage, and resentment inside, it's hard to concern oneself with the thoughts or feelings of another person.  This is especially true if the "other person" is abusive or acts like a demanding nag.

    In terms of the RAD site I used to visit, rarely would the owner read/post in this adult-section, so some of us took it upon ourselves to be daily "regulars", greeting and guiding each newbie through our written hell.  I liked that RAD website because it was not led by a therapist... it was simply a group of people posting comments, stories and problems, showing they too had extreme difficulty in certain social situations and intimate relationships.  I hated that RAD website because there was too much of a push to accept and embrace the RAD label, especially if you were adopted, fostered, or removed from a parent before the age of three.

    That web-site experience taught me there are many many people in this world trying to figure out what a healthy relationship really is, (with the real underlying question being, can such a relationship be accepted?)   I think the real problem for those damaged by dysfunctional toxic people is simple -- when all you know is abandonment or abuse or psycho-nut parents who are seen by others as "ideal" or "perfect", the words "normal" and "acceptable" become confusing and twisted. 

    While I was actively posting on that web-site, I was convinced I had RAD.  It was the only term used to describe actions and reactions to given situations, so I bought it.  Only when I removed myself from that single-minded company did I realize my therapists were right -- my problem was not RAD.... my problem was a crappy childhood.  My problem is I have trouble trusting other people; it's safer I assume all people are going to hurt/abandon me.  Once I left that site, I came to realize a very simple truth... if I want to experience happy, healthy, fulfilling relationships with people., I need to work on my trust issues and my communication skills

    Those who know me know I have really come a very long way.  While I still have my freaky hang-ups, fears and unexpected triggers,  I'm not as afraid of people like I used to be.  I'm willing to be a little more trusting and a little more giving because I finally see how trust is a two-way street.  Friends need to trust I'm not going to shut them out, and I need to trust friends won't try to hurt (punish) me because I said the wrong thing at the wrong time. 

    I had to smile at the example Rinda used to illustrate how her son is improving.

    Last night, drug free, we sat through dinner at a Japanese steak house... his behavior was getting a little off, we switched around chairs and the rest of the evening was FINE. 

  • I can't count how many times I was afraid to complain about something that was bothering me.... simply because I was afraid any complaint would be answered with an attack.

    I think people tend to forget there are huge numbers of people who did not grow-up in safe, loving, non-abusive homes.  Even if a person is fostered or adopted, one should never assume that foster/adoptive home was safe and without neglect or violence.  For decades my entire world revolved around people who would say one thing, but then do something else.  My entire childhood was spent surrounded by people who not only had their own anger/control/touch issues, but when scary problems were at their worst, my Aparents would leave, or not be around.

    Un-learning bad habits and re-learning new healthy ones is not easy to do.  It takes tremendous strength and hope to say, "I want better for myself"... and it takes a very special patient person to help the wounded who is very angry, frustrated and confused.

    While having support-groups for those with RAD behaviors may bring comfort to many.... I think  too many people are missing the point when they see a list of troubling symptoms and behaviors that need change/improvement.  While unwanted behaviors do need to change, more and more people need to start asking what's causing those unwanted behaviors in the first place.  WHAT is happening to children once they are removed from a home and put in ("better"?) care?  Are they being neglected, are they being abused... are these children receiving mixed messages from care-takers and can these troublesome problems be prevented?  What can be done so children are not given the RAD label by those who claim to have all the answers?

    SSD, so true

    That is a totally brilliant term.

    Can't say I relate to the RAD label, though needless to say RAD-like accusations abound in my case.

    Somebody needs to look into the RAD/attachment therapy model as applied to queer adoptees with homo-hating, heterosupremacist adoptive parents.

    My stuff occurred before these labels came into vogue as quasi-legitimate terms. But when coupled with crap like "reparative therapy" slathered over with ungrateful bastard treatment like, "Well! You ought to be GRATEFUL Jesus came to save you from your sins and you are not living in Old Testament times because then we would have [read: "get"] to stone you to death!!"

    Personal aside - lol I'd only kissed a girl at that point, was nowhere near self-identified as "gay", "lesbian" (bi, queer, etc were not accepted even by The Gay Community™ at that time.)

    Sad part about it is, when my parents -- proto-Buppies with aspirations for white suburban USA -- were in the market to live their picket fence fantasy, they MIGHT have actually been somewhat normal people, OK PAPs. Might.

    Then along comes the post-Civil Rights conservative movement, eager to distance themselves from their segregationist/neo-confederate roots. Ah yes, professional Black couple, "barren" wife" oh the poor thing will never be a REAL woman, moving into all white neighborhood...oh look here comes Negro Baby X, let's shove Negro Baby X into this scenario, won't that be quaint.

    Then parents both get the revelation from Baby Jesus himself they have been "called into ministry". Yeah, those were real swell years. When the shit went down and I got kicked out of the house for "rebellion" and "unrepentence", you can bet the attachment therapy was unleashed full force, though it didn't have a label at the time.

    Attachment Therapy is just angry adoptive parents taking out their rage on people they consider lesser or weaker than them. Classic conservative mentality.

    System Sucks Disorder has been with us for generations. I love this term. I hope you will let me borrow it.

    not following the script

    thank you for liking attachment therapy to reparative (conversion) therapy. converting a person's core beliefs and feelings may work temporarily, but imoho, old feelings return, whether a person wants them to or not.
    o/t for a minute. i can relate to not living up to the barren spouse's dreams and expectations. i tried to follow the script, but it only made me miserable. all i can add is, nature made people incapable of getting pregnant for a reason.

    Pound Pup Legacy