I first became familiar with Reactive Attachment Disorder when I adopted two children from the foster care system. Initially, I was told that my oldest son had issues with anxiety. The social worker stated that when he gets anxious that he steals money, but this issue would eventually settle down once my son got use to his new home. Eventually, this issue did eventually get "resolved" once my son settled into his new home. Unfortunately, his behavior began to slowly escalate. My son went from stealing small amounts of money at home to conflicts with peers and teachers at school to shoplifting from stores to destroying property to physical aggression.
I had him in counseling after the first couple of months when he came to live with me. He was given various diagnoses. However, his behavior continued to slowly escalate of a period of years.
I can remember thinking to myself that he has two paths to choose from at this time---the path of psychiatry or the path of the juvenile justice system. I attempted to keep him on the path of psychiatry. However, those two paths collided one night---my son had run away from home after being grounded and physically assaulted another person. I had called the police and filed a missing persons report and was told that my son had recently been arrested for assault.
When my son was eventually found, I decided to take him to an area hospital to be evaluated and admitted. I took him to the emergency room at St. John, during the assessment, my son related that he intended to kill me. However, he was denied admission. I was told by the social worker that they had recommended Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP). I told her that was unacceptable and that I was not going to take my son home. A physician came and spoke with me and stated that my son could stay overnight in the ER and that morning I would come and take him to the IOP program. As it was now about 3AM in the morning, and I had been dealing with this since aobut 5PM that night, I agreed. I figured that I could look for some resources during the day for my son.
While I was concerned for my son and wanted him to get help, I was also concerned about what I may have done to my son if he came back with me. I was at the end of my fuse with him. I took him to IOP that morning and began looking for resources for my son---specifically a short-term emergency shelter placement. However, no beds were available. As the day went on, the more worried I became. My efforts were not leading to any results. Finally, when they time came to pick up my son from the IOP, I called the staff and told them that I was not going to pickup my son.
Only through my refusal to pick up my son did they admit him to the hospital. The hospital agreed to keep my son until I could get him placed at a local 30-day emergency shelter. It was at this time, that a co-worker approached me. She had adopted a son from the foster care system. She told me about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). As I began to look over information about RAD, it was like finally an answer. However, this optimistic moment was short-lived as I looked into counselors who dealt with RAD. At the time, there was only a couple of counselors who worked with RAD and each one of them did not take insurance.
This began my journey to understand RAD in a clinical sense and to provide treatment that could be affordable.