EMN Mailbag: Hope for RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)

Today I received the following note in response to my recent post on the subject of parenting a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I thought I’d pass it on!

I was moved by your post about the mom with a child with RAD.  Please pass along that there is hope!  We have a faith-based program in Quincy, IL that yields amazing results. Please send her to our website at www.chaddock.org or have her give me a call as we always have people who are willing to talk who live with RAD every day.  We’re also working on a parents guide to developmental trauma and attachment.  As soon as it is ready I’ll post it on our website. 

Most importantly, please let her know she is not alone and there is hope for these amazing and wonderful children!

My best wishes, Karol

Karol Ehmen
Associate Director of Marketing
Chaddock
205 S. 24th Street
Quincy, IL 62301
(217) 222-0034 Ext. 324
FAX (217) 222-3865
kehmen@chaddock.org

Miracle Monday: “Beyond Consequences”

The Austin paper the other day ran an intriguing story about Twyla Loftin, an adoptive mother whose child has emotional challenges that she learned to respond to with a methodology called “Beyond Consequences.” This system acknowledges that when children act out, it is often out of a place of fear rather than rebellion.

I plan to be picking up a copy of this book myself . . . very soon! In the meantime, I’ve added the author’s website to the “Special Needs” and “Parenting Resources” blogroll at the right.

Miracle Monday: A Special Needs Child Aspires to Religious Life

schoolchildren-circleHappy Day after Mother’s Day! I hope you had a great weekend.

The other day I came across this article by Karen Wolff at CatholicMom.com entitled “Perseverance is the Key.”

Karen has a twenty-three year old daughter, Amanda, who has special needs. All her life she has worked hard to learn and grow, and to become independent. She wants more than anything to be a nun — but finds that most communities are not open to receiving a special-needs member.

When you read Amanda’s story, I hope you’ll pray with me that Amanda’s steps will be guided to the special community that needs her most.

“Mom, Why Does She Look Weird?”

Today at Mommy Monsters, I write about a “teachable moment” with my daughter, in which we encounter a special needs child at McDonalds. 

My sister lost her leg when she was ten due to complications from cancer — I was twelve. Sometimes people could be downright rude, pointing and staring as though she were deaf and blind rather than simply legless.  Chris always much preferred the guileless questions of children, even when those questions made the parents squirm. So now when my kids ask Chris if her leg has grown back yet, she just laughs and says, “No yet!” And I remind them that Aunt Chris’ leg is waiting for her in heaven.

When they comment (always loudly and in earshot) about a young woman at church who has Down syndrome, I try to take my cue from Chris and simply answer the question. “Yes, she has special challenges — she doesn’t talk or act quite the same way you do. But she has special gifts, too. See how she’s always helping in the nursery? See how she always seems happy to be here, instead of grumpy? How she’s kind to everyone? I think she would be a great friend, don’t you? One way you can be her friend is by not saying things to her or about her that might hurt her feelings.”

Today at “International Mom” Julie also has a discussion about how to talk to kids about treating people who are physically or mentally challenged. Go take a look!

Pray on Autism Sunday!

CatholicMom.com just posted my column about Autism Sunday, a reflection on “I Am Sam.”  Check it out!

prayerToday is the International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in the UK. Let’s join our prayers together!

Pope Benedict XVI wrote to the co-founders of Autism Sunday, Ivan and Charika Corea, invoking his apostolic blessing on the autism community. For more information, click here.

Lord, today we remember families touched by these chronic illnesses.

In their isolation, may they experience Your presence.

In their frustration, may they know Your peace.

In their sorrow, may they feel Your joy.

Calm their anger with Your infinite love.

Together with our brothers and sisters all over the world, we thank you for those you have entrusted to us, for as long as they are with us. Teach us to measure each other not by our challenges, but by our blessings.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen!

Adoption “Unnatural”?

Hey, Al … Where’s Heidi?

If you got my newsletter today, and tuned in to “Kresta in the Afternoon” wondering where I am … tune in again on Thursday! We’ll be having a lively discussion about EMN and adoption at 3:00 EST. Don’t have Catholic radio in your neighborhood? Just listen in by computer by clicking here!

This afternoon I was also on Lisa Hendey’s “Catholic Moments” podcast. Right after the podcast, Lisa was leaving to attend the funeral of an eighteen-year-old boy, Russell, who was in a skateboarding accident last year, and finally succumbed to his injuries. Please pray for the soul of this young man, and for his mother, Cathy.

Mighty Mom sent this link to me today, a YouTube clip about “the dog who had cats for lunch.”

If animals are capable of cross-species “adoption” — how much more should we be willing to tend to the needs of children in need of families?

Are you a struggling adoptive parent? Is your child acting out in ways you are afraid you are not equipped to handle? Is she so destructive you are afraid to leave her alone? Is the reality of parenthood turning out to be harder than you thought it would be? Are you seriously considering just throwing in the towel?

You are in our prayers today. Take a deep breath, then find a way to take a break — hire a babysitter for a couple of hours, or talk to your agency about finding respite care (preferably someone who speaks your child’s language, if he or she is foreign-born). Then go to a coffee shop and read this article at “Destinations, Dreams and Dogs” about meeting the challenges of raising older adopted children, particularly those from Russia (though her wisdom translates well to foster children, too!).

Thanks to “O Solo Mama” for sending it!

Above all, hang in there, and remember the words of St. Teresa of Avila:

Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you.
All things pass away, but God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
She who possesses God, lacks for nothing.
God alone suffices.