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RAD Sucess Stories?

We are facing a dilemma, and I would appreciate feedback from this adoption community, if you can help.
    I am interested in hearing from any families who have successfully navigated Reactive Attachment Disorder.  I would love to know if any of you have seen real trust and attachment develop with your RAD kids—-and/or a lessening of controlling behaviors.
    We have been fostering a sibling set (brother 8, sister, 6) for 7 months.  We took them as an emergency placement because, after 15 months in their previous foster home, their behaviors had become more than the foster family wanted to handle.  In our home, the honeymoon has been over for months, and the controlling behaviors are in full bloom.  Brother is guarded and manipulative (lying, splitting, triangulating, gas-lighting), and Sister is overly affectionate (especially to strangers) and uses flirtatious behavior to control the attention of others, then she breaks down into angry, raging tantrums.  They are both superficially charming, but no real attachment has taken place within our family—not them to us, and as a consequence, not us to them.
    The children are moving toward TPR, and we are trying to decide if we are the right family to adopt them.  We have 5 kids at home (ages 17-9), and these last 7 months have been very stressful for them.  I’m not sure how to proceed for these two kiddos who need so much.
    I have tried researching RAD, and the internet is full of the sad stories (no attachment, PTSD among the bio kids, chaotic homes, defeated parents) and the horror stories (house fires set by RAD kids, rape of bio kids, murder of parents).  However, there aren’t really any “success stories”.  I am hoping that there are plenty of stories with happy endings for kids with RAD, but maybe they just don’t get the “press” that the more dramatic stories do. 
  Please, if you have a happy (or even a moving-steadily-toward-happy) story, would you share it?
    Thank you!


First of all, God bless you for opening your home to those babies. Even if it is for a short time, you are making an impact. Secondly, I highly recommend you make sure you have appropriate therapy with a therapist who specializes in attachment disorders. You can use the following link to find a good one:

I would also just recommend reviewing Nancy Thomas’s website for information and for success stories!

We are in the trenches right now but I can say that we are making headway with our youngest who has a RAD diagnosis. It isn’t easy. We have an older son who was also adopted from foster care and it can be hard on him as well. But, he understands pretty well what our little guy has been through even though he handled it differently (PTSD but no RAD). Our youngest has been with us for two years and adopted for one. We still struggle with control issues and trust. But, he is definitely bonded with us. He has never had much of the overly affectionate with strangers piece. But, he is ultra charming and loves to make us look like the bad guys. That being said, though we understand his trajectory is not the same as that of our eldest we can see him moving in the right direction. And, our normal isn’t everyone’s normal but I get to jump up and down with excitement when he comes to me to tell me he is sad and asks for a hug. He is getting better! It is possible. 

I would definitely recommend though that you get the state to make sure they are in proper treatment and at least part way through before you consider adoption. See if it is working for you and your family. It is okay to decide it is not the right choice for you and your other kids. But, you have the opportunity to get them on the right path now with an attachment specialist. Their methods are nothing like the methods of any other therapist. They can work with your current therapist to educate them and help you and your family help these kids. Good luck and I will say a prayer for you!

Posted by cltoleary on Oct 09, 2017 at 8:01pm

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