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I have finally placed 17yoDD (*very* RAD, Bipolar) out of our home and into an emergency youth shelter. Enough is finally enough. I've had it with the stealing, lying, manipulation, dishonesty, and everything else. While she is, and always will be, a part of our family...she no longer lives here, nor is she welcome in our home until she gets her life together. Even then she will *never* live here again. She will be there for 14 days (their max), and my goal is to work my tail off to find another placement for her, either a group home until she 'adults out' at 19, or into job corps, which is my ideal solution as it's residential combined with voc training, which she desperately needs to survive in the real world.<br><br>
She has been volunteering as an aide with an elderly disabled lady for the past couple of months. Keep in mind she's had this facade of maturity and honorability for a while, and she was highly recommended by the church pastor based on her tireless volunteering their as well. Well...she stole $300 cash from this dear woman, right from under her nose, and proceeded to BLOW IT ALL in less than two hours. No joke. When confronted by the woman she confessed, very callously, and the woman was kind enough to call the police and press charges (she has our FULL support with this). This isn't the first time DD has done this, it's just been a couple of years (we thought) that she did it this badly, and genuinely...honestly...I thought she only stole from me. That doesn't make it ok, I mean I've got locks on every door inside my house (bedrooms, pantry, closets, etc) to keep my stuff from disappearing into her world, she just hadn't stolen things from others before (ok she hadn't been caught...I do get that LOL). She's been working so hard to convince everyone that she's this perfect angel, and she's gained so much trust. Well it turns out it was all an act (which I had guessed anyways) and I'm glad others are seeing her true colors, as I'm so tired of everyone thinking I'm a maniac for not trusting this kid. The police ticketed her for theft and I immediately packed a bag for her (while she waited outside, I wouldn't let her back in the house for a millisecond) and took her to the shelter. DH and I went through her room and found HUNDREDS of dollars of stuff she has bought with stolen money (with receipts, of all things to keep)...well over and beyond the $300 she got caught for. Keep in mind the child has a freaking job and makes about $200 a paycheck, she can buy anything she wants, but she prefers stealing. How do we *know* it's all bought with stolen money?? Because her freaking bank account (it's a minor's account under mine so I have access) logs every debit purchase, she doesn't own checks, she hasn't withdrawn cash from her bank account since before Christmas, and she paid for all of the stuff with cash that apparently materialized out of nowhere.<br><br>
I'm so.beyond.done, and frankly I feel like a weight has been lifted and I am so ready to move on with our family in a healthier direction. Honestly, her presence at home has felt poisonous over the last year, although getting anyone outside the family to believe us was impossible (what?? DD??? No, she's AMAZING!, I wish I had TWO of her! etc. etc. etc while DD has a big, smug grin and demon eyes glaring at us). We've dealt with year after year of the crazy lying to my face, the belligerent "prove it" attitude, the framing her brother for stealing when she did it (she would steal things from me, then hide them in HIS room and tell on HIM), the endless manipulation of every adult that has ever tried to help her...the list goes on. Frankly, it's exhausting to even think of everything we've dealt with, and I've lived it since she was 9. I want the best for her, but she doesn't...and nothing I can do will change her mind. So, we have gotten her clothes together, along with her personal momentos, and put them in the shed, awaiting delivery to wherever her long term home will be. Everything else she had in her room...and I mean EVERYTHING...has been donated to a homeless shelter.<br><br>
I really didn't want this to happen, but I'm glad it happened now and not in three weeks when I have a newborn. I thought I'd feel so sad about this, but I really don't. I'm sad for her, sad for her future, sad for her hell bent goal of ending up the best con artist in prison...but I'm not feeling sad about how we handled it. I've always said that when I make a decision I want to know without any doubt that I've done everything I can do before letting go. I genuinely have, and it wasn't enough. Not because I'm not enough, but because her hurt is so great that I can't heal it.<br><br>
So remind me of all this bravado when I'm bawling uncontrollably in a few days, K?<br><br>
Thanks for listening.<br>
Bellevuemama
 

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Wow, what a difficult decision that must have been. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to live for years with such challenging behavior, trying and trying and trying to find something that would heal her. I hope you can get some rest and peacefulness before your little one comes.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">s<br><br>
It sounds like you've been through hell. I hope that you're are all able to find peace soon.
 

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It sounds like you really know you couldn't go on the way you have been. I do know how difficult this must have been. Keep in mind that she is going to tell everyone who listens that you are evil and threw her out for no reason and all of the stuff you know already. Just be prepared with a support system. It hurts to be called an evil mommy.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"><br><br>
I hang out in the adoption forum a lot, and have been reading up for our own adoption, and RAD is often a main topic of conversation....RAD is <i>rough</i>. I'm so sorry for what's happened, and I hope you can do what another poster suggested--rely on a strong support system.<br><br>
Also, if anyone dares to challenge you or your choices or your feelings, I know a bunch of folks will have your back. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> The whole "don't judge until you've walked a mile in their shoes" is so true with RAD.<br><br>
Vent/cry away.<br><br>
Wishing you lots of healing...
 

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When you have done all you can and your kid is 17yrs, I don't know what else would help. It's gotta be pretty bad if you have to have locks on every single door <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I hope she gets a spot at the Job Corps. It's a good place for younger people to get their stuff together. They have some great programs and people who can deal with her with lots of experience.
 

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Do you think she has a substance abuse prob? Could that account for the constant stealing? (Not that, that would make it any less lousy to put with. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
True RAD is pretty rare. I think they over dx kids who have had a break in attachment with this. Does she have the DSM dx from a qualified psych?<br><br>
I'm asking b/c it seems to be a catch all dx with kids who were adopted who have behavioral issues. Sometimes it's better to look at other reasons for the behavor, like PTSD, FAS, learning disabilities, family issues and a whole lot of other reasons why a kid acts the way they do, before we latch on to the RAD dx.<br><br>
I'm not suggesting that I don't think you've already done as much as you can to help. Just that maybe it isn't as hopeless as it might seem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Do you think she has a substance abuse prob? Could that account for the constant stealing?</td>
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She doesn't, I can assure you, and we've checked during her routine psych blood screens (she doesn't know that). The behavior patterns with her have been consistent and ongoing for years, since before we got her at age 9. There's no ebb and flow, there's no genuine motivation on her part other than to get away with as much as possible whenever she can, while looking like the quintessential perfect child. It's pathological, deeply ingrained, and deeply disturbed.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">True RAD is pretty rare. I think they over dx kids who have had a break in attachment with this. Does she have the DSM dx from a qualified psych?</td>
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Both my 17yo and my 14yo have been eval'd by numerous psychiatrists, neurologists, pediatric psychiatrists, neuropsychiatrists et al, some 'specializing' in RAD and some fairly skeptical of it. *Every* single professional has concurred that they are both 100% DSM certified RAD. DD has no other comorbid issues, although there is a suspicion of mild bipolar that they haven't been 100% sure of for years. DS has tons of comorbid issues that complicate his dx, but RAD is still a biggie for him as well. I've had psychiatrists tell me point blank that having just one of them was a recipe for disaster, having two at their level was practically suicide for our family. I realize (although I realize some people don't) there are differences between 'attachment issues' vs. 'attachment disordered'. She has been described by numerous professionals as pathological in her manipulation and deception, she is vindictive to the core, and she is disturbed beyond what even I had realized...and I was pretty realistic about her mental health abilities (or lack thereof) from the start. She's been fired from three therapists since she was 12, and we've done everything under the sun to work with her. This is *not* a casual dx.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I'm asking b/c it seems to be a catch all dx with kids who were adopted who have behavioral issues. Sometimes it's better to look at other reasons for the behavor, like PTSD, FAS, learning disabilities, family issues and a whole lot of other reasons why a kid acts the way they do, before we latch on to the RAD dx.</td>
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Behavioral issues are rectified through consistent positive behavior modeling, behavioral modification/motivation, internalization of the parental model and identification of personal impact on society etc. etc. etc. It doesn't work that way with 'true' RAD kids, I can assure you. There are no other 'reasons' for her behavior, although she would love to have someone believe it so she can continue evading all responsibility. I mean c'mon here...the police said to me "maybe she has some kind of uncontrollable impulse to steal, maybe she can't help it" RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER. At this point you see a light go off in her head and she says...and I quote..."Yeah! I bet that's it, that's a great idea!" Her hands fold in front of her, she cocks her head to the side and shoots me a demon grin, then asks the police "So, if it's not my fault then the judge will go easy on me, right" The police just rolled his eyes and quit offering suggestions.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I'm not suggesting that I don't think you've already done as much as you can to help. Just that maybe it isn't as hopeless as it might seem.</td>
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Until she makes some serious and permanant choices for the better it is a bleak outlook for her at this point. Like I said, I'm sad that she made those decisions and disregarded the help she's had available to her 24/7 for the past 9 years. I want the best for her, but until she wants the best for herself then my hands are tied.<br><br>
I appreciate where you are coming from, but to give you a bit of a background here I've been a therapeutic parent for the past 12 years and I've definitely been around the block a few times. I've woken up to DS (5 at the time) standing over my bed w/a butcher knife calmly telling me it's 'mommy's turn to die', I've dealt with CPS and the police knocking on my door because DD (at age 10) went to school in hysterics that she was just raped at home by DH...when he is OUT OF TOWN FOR A MONTH (turned out she didn't want to take her social studies test). That's just a sample if our life with them. I'm not new at this, it wasn't easy to decide she needed to leave, and it certainly wasn't a spur of the moment decision. This is what is best for our family, best for the rest of our children, and ultimately I believe it is best for her.<br><br>
Sorry if I sound at all snappy or crabby, between this, my pregnancy winding down (while my blood pressure creeps up), and my XH on the warpath, it's been a long weekend and to be honest this whole mess just sucks. The feeling that there is more I could have done keeps creeping in, although I don't know what it would have been. I'm doing everything I can to stay focused and clear headed right now.<br><br>
Bellevuemama
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">the police said to me "maybe she has some kind of uncontrollable impulse to steal, maybe she can't help it" RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER.</td>
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Whoah!!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="dropjaw"><br><br>
Sorry if I came off sounding like a know-it-all or something. I have guardianship of my nephew who was misdiagnosed (over the phone) with an attachment disorder by a "specialist" who'd never met him before he came to live with us, so I act weird sometimes when people start talking about RAD kids.
 

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I can imagine such a mix of feelings here. I hope she gets in the job corps and your family gets some peace. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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i'm asking because i think i have experience with a similar situation but would like some more info before i offer any. don't want to put anything out there that's not constructive. how did she become the way she is?
 

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What a tough time you're going through. My youngest sister(adopted) has been in care or the past 2 years. She was with our family since she was 1 until she was 15. She was furious at my mom after my mom found out she was sweetly offering to make her a cup of tea, only to go up to the medicine cabinet and add whatever she felt. My mom became very ill. I know what it is like to live with someone with RAD. To have her look at you with those eyes and then lock your door at night. Hugs to you. It sounds like you are doing whats best for your family.
 

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I couldn't read your post and not reply. What a hard decision to make, and I am sure is even more diffiicult because of being pregnant and the new baby on the way. It must be close to impossible, but try and relax and enjoy the last of your pregnancy and your new baby. Take care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>thebarkingbird</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10780910"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">i'm asking because i think i have experience with a similar situation but would like some more info before i offer any. don't want to put anything out there that's not constructive. how did she become the way she is?</div>
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I'm not sure that there even is a clear cut or straight forward answer. There are so many levels to these kids and there's no 'smoking gun' that we can identify and say Voila! As for why she chooses these specific behaviors, girl RADs tend to be much more sneaky/conniving/manipulative/devious and boy RADs seem to follow a more explosive route. She was in and out of placement w/bio-mom until she was 9 and the final placement happened w/me. This stuff she does is her bio-mom to a "t', and she's really ingrained these acting out behaviors & rampant manipulation that were modeled for her during that extremely impressionable time. Bio-mom makes DD look completely functional and has an even more traumatizing childhood than DD does so it's no surprise that DD has patterned right in step with that line of thought. It's so astounding how deep the imprinting goes, whether positive or negative.<br><br>
Otherwise, I think she 'is the way she is' because it keeps control in her court. She can initiate seemingly positive relationships that are entirely superficial and for her own self interests, and she can reject the world when she is ready to, all the while playing the victim card to the next willing soul who steps in to 'care' and rescue her. It's a sick and twisted cycle for her, it's her comfortable chaos, and it's where she's the center of the entire process. The psuedo power and control that she feels temporarily replaces that aching emptiness of abandonment and loss.<br><br>
To put it simply, it's safe. She does not trust anyone to respect her soul, so she launches pre-emptive strikes to distance herself from anyone who might dare to care. That's why I didn't place her out the first five thousand times she did this stuff. I know it's a self preservation tactic, I know it's her way of testing to see if I'll abandon her at a moment's notice (I'm apparently a glutton for punishment LOL). But as I tell her and DS both, I love you and you are *always* a part of this family, even if it has to be from a safe distance.<br><br>
Does that answer your question?<br>
Bellevuemama
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Brinley</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10779503"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Whoah!!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="dropjaw"><br><br>
Sorry if I came off sounding like a know-it-all or something. I have guardianship of my nephew who was misdiagnosed (over the phone) with an attachment disorder by a "specialist" who'd never met him before he came to live with us, so I act weird sometimes when people start talking about RAD kids.</div>
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No worries, I see where you are coming from <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
The reason we are so sure is because I agree with your viewpoint and exhausted ALL resources to be sure this was accurate for both of them. First because I was pretty dumbfounded that we'd won the RAD lottery twice. Second, I was a psych major in college and I knew what we were up against if it was 'real'. I have seen so many kiddos that are handed a dx of RAD when, quite frankly, they are spoiled brats and just need some clear boundaries *or* there is some underlying undx'd psychiatric issue that could be resolved w/meds, faily counseling, or both/all.<br><br>
So, no hard feelings, I promise <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br>
Bellevuemama
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>thebarkingbird</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10780910"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">i'm asking because i think i have experience with a similar situation but would like some more info before i offer any. don't want to put anything out there that's not constructive. how did she become the way she is?</div>
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There's a lot of discussion of the "how"s of RAD on another adoption board I visit (not MDC). It's not conclusively known, but several researchers believe that traumas in childhood/infancy (emotional/attachment traumas) effectively re-wire and damage the brain. Children who are repeatedly moved from homes, or who experience a traumatic loss, or who never have a chance to attach/feel love from a secure source....there are so many reasons, and the amount of "trauma" it takes to cause RAD in a child varies from child to child. It takes a great deal of work, and skill, to start undoing the damage...and in some cases it can't be done. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Getting past RAD never seems to be a matter of "loving" the trauma away, nor is attachment parenting always an effective parenting strategy for children with RAD. It's hard to understand as a mom who believes so strongly in AP, but I've seen/read enough of RAD to know that there's no easy fix...no single strategy that helps a child.
 
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