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I know my kid is rad, but could my kid be RAD???

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Simeon is now at the age where he is qualified to receive a psychological evaluation. As Leo and I look forward to making Simeon a legal member of our family, we’re thinking about the kind of parents we’ll need to be as he grows.

The last few weeks have left us off our feet and wondering “what do we do now?”

Simeon is a wonderful treasure of a boy. He’s curious and witty. He can be charming and engaging. He can and will show affection and we are blessed beyond measure to be chosen to love him.


In the privacy of our home, he can amazingly manipulative and conniving. When I say manipulative, I mean a behavior will continue or build for several days before Leo and I realize it’s an act and Simeon is controlling us. The first time we realized what was happening, I was shocked. He’s four. I’m an adult. How is it possible for him to even think that way? He self-sabotages and destroys property violently. He can shut down, build an emotional barricade we cannot break. He lies bizarre lies. There are a myriad of other concerning behaviors we’ve been cataloguing the past year and now that we’re preparing to meet a psychologist, I’m wondering what the outcome will be.

His speech therapist seems to think there are some deeper issues influencing behavior and she’s probably the only other person who sees even a glimpse of the child he is in our home.

So… we’re waiting to get a psychological and we’re looking into attending a conference by renowned attachment therapist, Nancy Thomas. But mostly, we’re praying. We’re praying for wisdom. I’m praying for grace. We’re praying for his heart and we’re praying for peace.

My other foster mamas out there, how young can RAD be diagnosed? Does this sound right? Am I just ill-equipped to handle this litle boy? Am I making too much out of these behaviors? Am I alone?

Oh, and we have a pre-trial for termination scheduled. This is getting real, y’all. This thing is getting real!


About Monica

Christ following, husband loving, children hugging foster and adoptive mama.

7 responses »

  1. It can definitely be diagnosed at that age. I read a book of one foster/adoptive mom’s experience – An Unlit Path. You could also check out this blog, or maybe you already know about their story –

    Praying for you and your boy, too.

  2. It can be diagnosed that young.
    I would recommend getting multiple opinions though. Medicaid may not cover it – but in the long run it could be really worth it to get a correct diagnosis.
    The only reason I suggest this is because once a child is diagnosed with something, it is very, very difficult to get the label removed later on – and a diagnosis like RAD can effect his life in lots of ways.
    So, anyway – I hope that the evaluation goes well! It’s always tough when you’re the only one who sees him in a comfortable environment. So exciting that things are really getting rolling!!!!

  3. Just praying for you. All I can do. You are equipped for this child. I know this.

  4. I’m actually writing a paper about RAD for a college course. From what I’ve learned children can exhibit symptoms of RAD at as young as 6 months. When the symptoms are shown, treatments can be utilized regardless of official diagnosis. My little guy is under two but is being treated for RAD through his special needs pre-preschool. No official diagnosis, but it was obvious.

    That official diagnosis may have to wait until after 5 years old (not sure how old Simeon is), because by that time the impact of neglect and attachment disturbance is somewhat permanent. Not that it can’t get better, but it will be something to deal with for a long time.

    I’m going to post about some of this later today, I found an incredible article about the effects of neglect on the brain. When we understand it, we can deal with it better.

    Good luck with that appt, don’t be disappointed if you don’t get an official diagnosis.

  5. I don’t know what RAD is, but I know what sin nature is. I pray that as people evaluate and diagnose, the goal of “new creature in Christ” is the priority! Oh, how I know you and I love that little boy. As milly always says, “God loves him more!” It’s hard to believe my love for my kids is lilliputian compared to His.

    When is court??? That is so exciting!

  6. both of my kids with disordered attachment were diagnosed at two. in reviewing their records after we adopted them from foster care, I found that their symptoms began much earlier. you don’t necessarily have to get an official diagnosis to get help. and you definitely should get help early, and frequently.

  7. It is possible that he could have RAD.. but even if he does not have full blown RAD, most children who have had early trauma (neglect or abuse) have insecure attachment. If you think of attachment as a spectrum, with a securely attached child at one end, and a RAD child at the other, it is likely that Simeon falls somewhere in the middle. It would be very difficult for him to fall on the completely securely attached side, just because he got cheated.. he did not get you, from the time he was in utero, loving him, wanting him, then holding him, loving him, meeting his needs, matching his facial expressions, etc.

    I wrote a post about this that might be of interest..


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