Sunday, February 13, 2011

Adopting a RADish- You never know!

I have read, from more than a couple of sources, that kids with Rad can do well in larger families, as long as no safety issues exist. The first time I read that, my mind said, well maybe in SOME cases and promptly forgot it. I came across it a couple of more times, and my brain acknowledged it made sense. I stuffed that knowledge way back in my head; you know  that place? The place you put information you are sure you will never need again (like how to breed a goldendoodle). And life went on. Since I was sure, beyond thinking, that GB was our last child, I built our routines around exactly what GB needed, and how GB functioned best. Then the medication side effects hit, we had to withdraw the risperidal, and we lost stability. Minor problem, one that would be solved with a little research and a new drug. Nine months later, we are still looking, but I digress.

In the beginning of July, I saw Hope's picture on the CHASK website- and I couldn't let it go. I showed it to my husband and he couldn't let it go. We were sure God wanted Hope in our house. I sent an inquiry, exchanged a couple of emails, spent an hour on the phone with her Texas Mom. Hope had an alphabet of diagnoses, but listening to her adoptive mom for an hour, her behaviors didn't fit with any of the diagnosis. Her Texas mother and I spent a lot of time talking. She didn't want to try respite, she didn't want to try bringing services into the house. She just wanted her gone. We finalized Hope one day, took her home the next. Gotta love Texas :(

It is somewhat ironic that our pastor convinced Hope's Texas mom that we were the perfect Christian family to adopt her, since neither our pastor, nor his wife have spoken to me since Mali was born.

What we didn't realize when we adopted Hope, was that none of the diagnoses Hope came with were accurate. The only diagnosis she didn't come with was RAD and Rad was the only (seems like a strange word in this sentence) diagnosis we are left with after six months of seeing every specialist I trust.

What does this mean? It means my household was ready for FASD, PDD-NOS, a child who wasn't toilet trained, and according to her records, suffered extreme delays across the board. I knew she would also be RAD, but the rest of the problems would fit in well with the structure that already existed in our home.

It didn't work out that way. Hope was already toilet trained, she just chose not to be when she was with the Texas parents. Her language skills were a full 2 years behind. Without any speech therapy, she had age appropriate language skills by November. All that is left is articulation difficulties and now she is receiving speech therapy for that. The bottom line is that Hope was environmentally deprived, never bonded and all we had to deal with is RAD.

GB still has all the difficulties of FASD, ASD, and Bipolar Disorder. Hope is bright and RAD. Anybody see a problem here? While I try to as much as possible to keep GB's routine to the one that works with her, it is not easy. By necessity, we have made Hope's world very small. Extended family has been told "hands off". The church has been told "hands off".  The gymnastic class has been told "hands off'. While I try to keep Hope's world small, I am also trying to expand GB's world, still keeping the structure. GB is attached but sometimes she still has with issues such as why doesn't BM ever call or see her. It is not constant, it does not consume her life.Contrasting that, why the Texas family got rid of her is on Hope's mind all most of the time.

Where does the idea that RAD kids may do better in larger families come in? It resurfaced Thursday when the structure Hope needed and the structure GB needed were diametrically opposed. I thought;" you know, maybe there is truth to large families being a good choice for a RADish". My thinking was that the larger family would have a structure encompassing a much wider range of needs, and therefore be easier to modify when adding a child with different needs. 

This is our family and we will do what needs to be done. I wonder though, if I had known that the only problem Hope was battling was RAD, would I still have felt God wanted her to be ours? God and I discuss it most days and probably will for a while. In the mean time, I work everyday at interweaving the girls very different needs into a new home that can meet the needs of both of them.

Now, we are getting ready to go to the indoor pool at the local Inn. We are suppose to get GB in the water as much as possible, as that is the only place she truly relaxes. I couldn't yesterday (another story), so we stayed home from church today. Hope is coming with us- not because she needs the water, but because The Dad needed a break from Hope, who requires a lot of energy to keep her regulated through a church service. Church will be waiting for us next week.


Sarah said...

My son also came to me with every diagnosis in the book except RAD- and that and PTSD are the only ones we are really left with at this point. He is my only child and for that I am very grateful- good luck to you on your journey, it sounds to me like you are doing a great job. :)

Sincerely Mama said...

Hey! I DO love Texas! :-)

I suspect God wanted Hope in your house because he knew that, even though it will be difficult to strike the balance necessary to meet the needs of both sisters, YOU and dh can and will do it. Who is more qualified? Who loves more? or better?

It's you, girl. And you can do it!

Anonymous said...

I think of the mix between my younger, smart, boys and my older "developmentally delayed" daughter. If she didn't have the hormones of a teenager, I think they would still be playing very well together. Hope will surpass GB, yes, in time. Before then, GB may possibly be pulled up as she witnesses Hope's gains. Hope, being younger, will take a while before she is "beyond" playing at GB's level. And maybe she will even become an astute and capable teacher for GB after many years.
As for the current needs being in direct opposition, I haven't got any answers other than perhaps you should buy pointe shoes to help you stay on your toes all the time. : )

Miz Kizzle said...

Maybe a larger family allows RAD kids to fly under the radar. If there are many kids, all with different problems and all clamoring for attention, a smart kid who knows how to work people can either turn on the charm or fade into the woodwork.

Penelope said...

We have only 2 boys not rad but one struggles with attachment. I can't imagine more kids in this mix right now.

Sunday Taylor said...

“I wonder though, if I had known that the only problem Hope was battling was RAD, would I still have felt God wanted her to be ours?”

This question is even more interesting today then it was when you originally asked it...