Saturday, November 29, 2008

20/20 show adoptions, disruptions, Russia

Last night 20/20 aired a show about adoptions. They were following a family who had adopted three children. Two had issues, including RAD, which we too deal with. Since we also adopted from Russia I was interested in the show. On some of the boards and the lists I am a member of, there was a lot of commentary about the parents and the kids and the issues. Some were concerned that it would scare people from adopting older children from orphanages, others were excited to see the issues of RAD brought to the public. Some were supportive of the parents in the show and others were very critical.
Here is a link to the show, and then you can read my comments.

OK I just watched it. I had recorded it. I do not think it was that bad at all. A couple of points that have been brought up here and in other places that I wanted to comment on. I do have a child with RAD, and it has been a very rocky ride.The video taping: I have been advised by multiple professionals to videotape certain behaviors including tantrums. There are several reasons. One is to show the professionals what is going on. Another is protection for the parents. Some children hurt themselves and then will blame the parents. I have a child who was refusing to eat and throwing up anything he did eat. He told people he was not fed at home. Doctors were concerned over his weight loss. Luckily he told the doctors and specialists the truth. (at least some of them) and we were in enough situations where his behavior had witnesses, though the worst was always saved for home. I know of a child who bang her face into things during tantrums and then tell teachers her parents punched her. For these people the video tapes were essential. The money thing: People criticized these parents for owning a nice house and then complaining about the cost of the therapies. I heard them talk about using up their savings and their retirement accounts and such. Did it occur to anyone that they had taken out second mortgages on their house and might not be able to sell it? The possibility that if they sold it they would not have enough left to get a place to live? As for them fixing up the kids bedrooms nicely, come on we all wanted to do that when we got kids. I did it too and I knew better. I have since had to pare down what is in my son's room because he could not handle it. Preparation: I had read every book and talked to lots of parents and RAD still shook me. I don't think there is any real way you can be prepared for such behavior. I will say though that I adopted twice and neither agency required any preparation or education. Had I not taken it upon myself to get educated I would have been shocked. Also I had children already. If I had not, I would have had a hard time knowing what was normal and what was not. RAD: Some of the things these kids do seem normal, it the levels and the repetition of it that makes it a problem. For example, every kid breaks some of their toys, but not every kid breaks every single toy they and their siblings own. Every kid tells little lies, but not every kid lies about almost everything, even inconsequential things. Every kid steps on people's toes, but not ever kid steps on family members toes every single time a family member is within three feet of them. Every kid throws tantrums, but every kid doesn't throw tantrums that last for hours on end. Every kid has occasional bathroom accidents, but not every kid has them all the time in different places and on purpose. Anyway, you get the idea.The parents: One of the symptoms of RAD is the parents seem angry and hostile. This is for a number of reasons. You remember the people on the video talking about how they kept it a secret? That's common, who wants to admit you are a failure at parenting? Often these kids are very charming in public and act very sweet, so parents who are doing things like checking the child's pockets or not believing the child or being very strict with the child are seen as crazy parents. The kids are great at convincing relatives that they are being mistreated and causing family strife. I did hear the family in the show mention that they had been alienated from relatives and neighbors. This happens a lot with RAD. Finding help: Easier said than done. I have had a very hard time finding qualified help to help my child. Some therapists were not taking new patients, some were so far away that it would be detrimental to our family and the child's education, not to mention so expensive we could be living in our car! We had one therapist that made things worse. We have had some that was ineffective. We have tried hard to deal with all this and our son is healing, but it's been a rough journey and it's not over yet. Anyway I think they did say that there are lots of happy adoptions and honestly I think it gave hope. The main parents in the story did not disrupt, the ones who did, another family was found. I think it took a lot of guts for those parents to allow their story on TV. As for the lawsuit I don't know enough about it. I did hear them say the agency told them that the girls had been part of a loving family. If the agency knew that this was not true, and if the agency knew about the little boys troubles and even some of his diagnosis, but lied or did not disclose this information then they were wrong. If they did not know this stuff, then I don't think the lawsuit will go anywhere and it's not appropriate. however, as I said, there was not enough information provided.

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