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Adoption and Child Separation at the Border

On June 1, 2018 Rebekah Henson published an important thread on Twitter critiquing the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether and #Ke...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Adoptee Reactions to Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) in the Media

Photo by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr
I’m not a therapist, a social worker, or a counselor of any kind. I've never been trained in psychology or psychiatry.

I am an adopted person, which means I was once an adopted child—which in turn means that I was separated from my original family. I was without any family at all for several months of my life. I am also a mother.

These experiences are the lens through which I viewed a recent video on HuffPost Live in which four adults who describe themselves as “adoptive parents” discussed the “reactive attachment disorder,” aka RAD, of the children in their care.

The segment begins with Nancy Thomas, who I discovered is well known for her wrong-headed thinking on RAD. She helped her daughter deal with attachment issues by appearing with her in an HBO documentary. She calls herself a “therapeutic parenting specialist,” though it’s not clear whether she’s had any more training than I have in this area. She comments that RAD kids are “affectionate with strangers but not with their mothers,” conveniently ignoring the fact that the so-called “mothers” are, in fact, strangers to these children.