What It’s Like to Parent a Child With Reactive Attachment Disorder

Medicaid denies our request, saying his behavior issues do not meet the requirements.

I am running my own day treatment program.

In addition to our 10-year old, our 8 year old’s behavior has been deteriorating rapidly. He doesn’t have the same behavior issues as our older adopted son, but he has some. He is also developmentally delayed and he copies what he sees. Plus, living with an older brother who rages has been traumatizing for him.

This summer, we develop a strict daily behavior plan with the help of Nancy Thomas via conference call, and a friend who has attended one of Nancy’s attachment camps.

What do our days look like?

  • Every moment of the day is planned.
  • No TV.
  • No computer games.
  • I choose the activities, and these are very simple — a box of Legos. Blocks. Coloring. They sit in one designated place and play quietly.
  • I read them books and we go to the park.
  • We go to piano lessons, Sunday School or church, and Tae Kwon Do. I go with them to these activities, not just drop them off.
  • They do chores.
  • The younger boys don’t play together. (They can’t handle it right now.)
  • They are always in the line of sight of an adult.

If you walk into my house, would have been shocked at what we have done. I felt like we don’t even live in a home anymore. The closets are locked. The garage is locked. There are padlocks on the kitchen cabinets. The bathrooms have nothing in them — not even soap. The 2 younger boys bedrooms have a bed, one pillow and blanket, one stuffed animal, and alarms on the doors. The windows have sliding locks.

I lock up their shoes and only take them out when I know it is safe to do so. At least if my child runs away, it will be without shoes!

More than one person has seriously suggested we let our son go run in the neighborhood so the police will pick him up (forcing him to be placed somewhere safe), but I can’t do this. How could I?

I have to do what is in my power to try.

But my energy is running out.

What’s so crazy is I LOVE this child to pieces.

He is driving me totally nuts and I am so exhausted and angry with him, but I will do anything in my power to help heal him.

People ask how things are going.

My answer is always, “Oh, hanging in there,” with a bit of weary smile.

How else do I begin to explain?

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:12


This article originally appeared at SaraBorgstede.com.

Sara Borgstede
Sara Borgstede
Sara Borgstede is a 100 lb weight loss success story, real wife, and super real mom. She is a triathlete, motivational speaker, and writer. A mom to 5 kids through birth and special needs adoption, Sara and her husband Mike were foster parents to 35 children. She blogs at www.saraborgstede.com and runs an online faith and fitness program at www.faithfulfinishlines.com. She lives in Aurora, CO with her husband, children, and three cats who eat potato chips.

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