My Perspectives Over the Years
First, look at the genetics. If our RADlings were conceived by parents who themselves came from strong genetic stock, the odds are very good that they would not have RAD and would still be with their biological family. So most of these kinds have susceptibilities to FASD, mental illnesses, and all sorts of other disorders.
RAD is a self-protective response to trauma, neglect, and abuse so intense that most people really can't conceive of what these kids survived. RAD really defines how they perceive and react to their world. Personalities are formed by how children perceive and interact with their world. My 5 year old Hope has a personality and is trying to solidify it. Hope will never be easy going. She will always be intense and strong willed. It is part of the RAD, but as her personality develops, it will incorporate the intensity and stubbornness into it. The same interconnected experiences that formed RAD are also forming the RADlet's personality. With out healing, our RADlets are headed for Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Disorder, or even becoming a sociopath.
Even when our Radlets experience healing, that does not necessarily mean complete healing. They will never be what they would have been had they had experienced functional love from the very beginning. Their personality is forming in the midst of RAD and some of RAD will be a part of them forever. My oldest RAD, when younger, only felt loved when someone was spending on her. She has done a lot of growing and experiences other gestures as love. Still, buying her something is the fasted way to make her feel loved.
My oldest RADish is 25 years old. There seems to be cycles of easier years interspersed between harder years. 7 and 8 were difficult and then healing seemed to be happening until she was 14 when we went off on another spike of RAD behaviors. 18 and 19 were good years- she stepped off the cliff when she realized she wasn't ready to grow up after she graduated from high school. We just started another easier cycle the last eight months or so, where she seems to be maturing and healing. I don't know, at this point, if we have another crash ahead of us.
My goals have evolved over the years. First, I was going for normal. After many years in the trenches, my goal was simply to keep them out of jail. Now, with a more balanced perspective, my goal is to help my children heal as much as they are capable of healing, and give them as many tools as I can so that they are as productive and happy adults- at least as productive and happy as they are capable of.