Monday, April 23, 2012

Respite from your RAD Child: Achieve the Impossible Dream!

by John and Diane

Taking a respite, well deserved, as we all know it would be, is next too impossible when you have a RAD foster or adopted child. Not only is it hard to find some angel on earth to take your RAD child, someone who will put up with all the stuff your RAD kid will do, but getting your trust disorder-ed kid to accept a respite without them losing it or freaking out and making the time before they leave a living hell for you … well, it all seems next to impossible. 

This is how I did it. (With God’s help, of course…)

My foster son who has been diagnosed with attachment disorder (or RAD) amongst other things is a teenager, but learning disabled so, much younger mentally and maturity-wise.  Two weeks before my planned respite, (oh, and believe me… I had been planning it for a loooooong time…) whenever he’d  break the house rules I would say to him…” see, this is why I need a respite.” They have been “in the system” long enough that all my foster kids understand the word “respite” means “break,” or “vacation away.”  

I know how much my kids love to use my words against me, so it didn’t take long before I heard those words come from his lips.  “Dad my brother has made me so mad that I pushed him!  He is getting too me so much I Need a Respite!”

Now, with a slight smile on my face I ask, “So you need respite hey? Why?”
He went on to explain what happened with his brother and why he needed to take a break from him—a respite.  I told him I understood, but he would still lose his dollar for breaking the house rules, and that I would see about a respite for him. (hee hee.)

 I was able to do this type of thing with him a number of times.

 Respite for me was 2 weeks away when his counselor asked me when I was going to tell him.   “Not yet” I said, “it will be his idea if it works out the way I want it to.”

She said she would be happy to work with him on it and to go to the home with him and get him ready.

I said, “No thanks he knows the people where he will be going already and I will do it the weekend before he goes if I have to, that way I only have to deal with him for 2 days if he decides to throw a fit.” 

 I was hoping that he would ask for respite one more time before that day would come and then it happened, like a gift from God! 

The kids got in to a fight and I went down to intervene.  First I found out how it started and then I would deal with the outcome and all the house rules that they broke that started the fight the first place.

By the time I was done hearing all about what he did and why he did it, the magic words passed through his lips…  

“ I Need Respite from this family!”

I tried not to smile.

Now that was more then I could have ask for from God so I thanked him under my breath and asked, “What did you say?”

He repeated it.  “I need respite from you Dad and every one in this family!”

I asked, “Why? Because I want you to follow the house rules like everyone else?

He replied, “Yes those are your rules! I don’t need to listen to you and your dumb rules!”

“O.K.,” I said, “Maybe you’re right, and you do need respite.  You said that a number of times to me before and you know I always listen to you and try to help you. (I couldn’t help myself; I had to add that on! Ha) so I called the last time you said you needed it and I think I have some one who may take you.”

I told him their names (another Foster family) I added, “ I didn’t know that is what you wanted though…”

He said stubbornly, “Good! I can’t wait!”  He was so happy he got his way he told everyone how he was getting respite away from us because life with us was too hard on him.

Overall, the experience had its ups and downs, and I will write more about that later. It was a good opportunity to test out his attachment to me and his brother, who is also in my home.

I learned a lot from the experience, both in how to get the respite I needed (by making it HIS idea) and on how to test out the attachment of a RAD kid.   Most of all I just wanted to share with you all that getting a break, a respite, from your RAD kid IS possible… in spite of the odds against you… so DO IT!  J (just make it your kid’s idea!)

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1 comment:

  1. Letting the RAD child believe that he controlled the situation and got to get the respite he wanted may not be the best idea. He has once again "won" and controlled your family - and you just validated him. We have a RAD foster child, his brother who is not RAD, and a biological child who is not RAD. It has definitely been a learning experience. Love them all equally and show it often, but you must make sure the RAD child views the mother as the boss or he will eat you for lunch.