Saturday, March 31, 2018

RAD Mom Summer Camp is here!

My sweet husband, an engineer, says, "It's time to shoot the engineer and release the design." LOL I've been working on this for weeks!

Here's the flyer, feel free to share!:


Click flyer to see a larger version!
Scroll down for details.







































And here are the details:


"When can I register?"

Registration (through PayPal) will open on Friday, April 6 at 6pm Mountain Time. 


"How many moms per camp?"

10 moms per camp.


Facilities

The Mother Ranch is a 15 acre working ranch in Longmont, CO. Attached to the ranch house is a large apartment with my office, group room, fully stocked kitchen, dining room, large art room, and 2 full bathrooms. This is where we will be cooking, eating, and hanging out during free time (along with outside space of course!)


Discounted Private Coaching

I have set aside days on either side of each session for private coaching clients from the retreats. If you decide to come into town early or leave late, please schedule a private Equine Gestalt Coaching session with the horses and me. You won't regret it! 
My normal rates are $125/hr and $50 for each additional 30 minutes. 
Your discounted rate is $100/hr and $25 for each additional 30 minutes.
Private Coaching days:
Session 1: Thursday, May 10 and Monday, May 14
Session 2: Thursday, July 5 and Monday, July 9
Session 3: Wednesday, August 1 and Monday, August 6


Group time

Summer session groups will be held in the coaching barn with the horses nearby, fall and spring sessions could be inside or outside depending on weather.


Food

A fully stocked kitchen will be ready and waiting for you! 

Breakfast is on your own and simple: cereal, toast, yogurt, fresh eggs from our chickens. 

Lunch is on your own during free time in the afternoon: sandwich fixings, chips, fruit, cookies, etc. Think of the lunches your mom made for you, that's the kind of stuff we'll have on hand.

Snacks, yes! Snackie foods are a must! And chocolate! MUST HAVE CHOCOLATE.

Nearly all of the mothers in the RAD Mom Summer Camp Facebook group have expressed interest in cooking dinner together. Please inform me ahead of time if you have "food issues" as my mom would say :-) My "food issue" is gluten so I understand. I also tend to bring a lot of my own snacks to events so I'm always safe. I will work with each group via group email to preplan their 2-3 dinners so I know what to buy (2 dinners for 3-day camps, and 3 dinners for 4-day camps.)


Free time

During this time you can just relax, have lunch, get your included massage, read a book or nap in a hammock under the trees, or just hang out and talk. It's up to you!


Goat Yoga, Transformational Breathwork, Massage, Art--all included!

Goat yoga is just a gentle yoga class with goats in the barn with you. Some people are yogis and some aren't. You are welcome to bend and stretch or just sit and snuggle a goat. The choice is yours! Either way, at the end of the hour you'll have a smile on your face. I always get asked this so I will answer here: No, I've never been peed or pooped on or seen it happen to anyone (doesn't mean it won't!) It will probably happen to your mat (just flip them over if it does) but don't worry, I scrub them after camp!

Transformational breathwork is a gentle way to get back in touch with your body and enter that creative, in-touch-with-Spirit zone. Mary Kennedy is our facilitator.

Massage is included for each mom! They will be scheduled once you've registered.

Art--I've been an artist for 30 years. I'm happy to "play" with anyone who would like to :-) Whatever we create during free time, it will be fun and informal and anyone can join in! Maybe you'll learn how to needle felt, or create a vision board, or paint a mandala rock to remember your experience here on the ranch!


Will there be more camps this year?

When these fill, I have the ability to add a few in the fall. 


"Why so few? So many RAD moms need this!"

There aren't a ton (yet!) because I started planning 2018, last year and at that time, RAD Mom Summer Camp was still just a dream. I'm not holding out on you, I just filled up most of my summer with children's camps and art classes through the Longmont Rec Center. 
2019 will be a different story!

Airport & Transportation

Denver International Airport (DIA) is about 40 minutes away.

Car Rentals at DIA

Green Ride Shuttle 

Longmont Shuttle 


Lodging


2 minutes from the Mother Ranch:

Super 8 Longmont, Highway 287 and Highway 66, recently renovated and doesn't look like a Super 8, check out the pictures on their site!



5-10 minutes from the Mother Ranch:


Victoria Inn, 2400 17th Ave., Longmont



15 minutes from the Mother Ranch:

Ellen’s B & B, 700 Kimbark St., Longmont

Thompson House Inn, 537 Terry St, Longmont

Best Western, 1900 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont



20 minutes from the Mother Ranch:

Springhill Suites, 1470 Dry Creek Dr., Longmont

Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 1355 Dry Creek Dr., Longmont

Courtyard by Marriott, 1410 Dry Creek Dr., Longmont

Residence Inn, 1450 Dry Creek Dr., Longmont

Candlewood Suites, 1340 Dry Creek Dr., Longmont

Hampton Inn, 850 S. Main St., Longmont



About 25 minutes from the Mother Ranch

Niwot Inn, 342 2nd Ave., Niwot, CO. 


Other options:





Staying on site. 
As most of you know, my dream is to offer glamping (glamour+camping) someday. I can't wait! For now though, we offer two options for those that would like to stay on the ranch. There are two full bathrooms in the apartment that you are welcome to use for showers, etc. but you must supply your own towels.

No matter which option you choose, hotel, B & B, tent camping, or motor home, know that we will be together all day and into the evening--we have to have campfire time and s'mores! 

Camping:
If you are a camping kind of person, and would like to stay on site, you are welcome to bring your own gear: tent, bedding, sheets, blankets (50 degrees at night even in the winter), towels, etc. Whatever you'd bring on a normal camping trip and set up camp here on the ranch. The cost for that is $20 per person, per night. There are two full bathrooms in the apartment that you are welcome to use for showers, etc. (Air mattress tip, place a blanket on top of air mattress and under your bedding. The ground temp will be very cool and air mattresses suck the warmth right out of your body!)

Motor homes and camp trailers:
You are welcome to bring these, just know that there are no dumping facilities here. You can plug into 110 with your extension cord. The cost for that is $20 per person, per night. There are two full bathrooms in the apartment that you are welcome to use for showers, etc. 

There are places that you can rent motor homes in the area, do a google search. Remember you have to be able to drive them to get them here! Also, "sleeps 8" probably means 2 per mattress. Do some research. We found some rentals on craigslist too.

If you have other questions, let me know!

3 and 4 day camp schedule (subject to change of course since it's only April 3rd!)


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Who are the "Glass Children"





Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, artist of 30 years, and Reiki Master. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one with Developmental Trauma Disorder aka Reactive Attachment Disorder and one "glass child"), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations DTD/RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of DTD/RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Oprah Winfrey and Developmental Trauma on 60 Minutes

There was a lot of hype, and the Underground World of RAD was excited about the 60 Minutes episode that aired last night 3/11/18. Oprah Winfrey was on board! She was presenting information about developmental trauma! We mothers of children with Developmental Trauma* had high hopes that our story would finally be heard! 

If only it were that simple. We know, better than anyone, that our stories are not simple. Life with a child with Developmental Trauma Disorder/DTD aka Reactive Attachment Disorder/RAD is anything but simple. Even the names aren't simple!

So, 60 Minutes and Oprah had to start somewhere. And where they started was at the beginning. What is Developmental Trauma? What creates it? Oprah brought in her own background of abuse to help tell the story. She hit important points:

• Introduced the public to the concept of Developmental Trauma. Didn't mention Reactive Attachment Disorder/RAD--which I believe is a huge step forward for everyone. RAD needs to be taken out of the DSM (manual used to diagnose mental health disorders). This disorder needs to be described in full and the DSM needs to be using DTD instead of RAD. Therapists using the DSM to diagnose would have a much clearer picture.
• Introduced Dr. Bruce Perry and his work.
• Brought Oprah's power and influence to the field.
• Touched on Trauma Informed Care and two of the places that are teaching it.

What the episode didn't (understandably) delve into, or even touch on:

• Loving parents (often adoptive but can also be bio, step, or foster) who are raising children with DTD/RAD and who no one believes because the behaviors of these children are confusing and triangulating.
• While the 2,000 children at Saint A are being given true "wrap around services" (everyone in contact with the children are on the same page and have been trained in trauma), the families who have children with DTD/RAD are not. We are still struggling with getting anyone to believe us, let alone help us, because there is a:
• Lack of Trauma Informed Care training within the community: schools, health professionals, churches, adoption agencies, family and friends.
• Yes! Relationships! But what about when the child with DTD/RAD is severe and is physically, psychologically, verbally, and sometimes even sexually abusive to his/her family? When living with these children, safety is above all else.
• Even if we had true wrap around services for our children with DTD/RAD--what about the rest of the family that has been hurt? DTD/RAD moms are targeted and siblings (aka Glass Children) as well--they need massive support too. (Take the Glass Child test here.)

It seems DTD/RAD moms feel a sense of...excitement that Oprah shed ANY light on it and a sense of resignation that it didn't go where we needed it to go. This just touched the tip of the iceberg. 

I'm choosing to focus on the incredible fact that Oprah started the conversation within the public realm! I hope she continues. I plan on sending her information myself! Also, I hope that all of the DTD/RAD moms who spoke out after the Florida shooting will continue to do so. I believe that together we can make a difference.

60 Minutes--watch Oprah's segment focused on Developmental Trauma here.  
It's 13 minutes long.

Oprah talks about the 60 Minutes episode on Developmental Trauma
 

Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, artist of 30 years, and Reiki Master. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one healthy and one with DTD/RAD), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations DTD/RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of DTD/RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.




* Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) aka Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

How does Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) Develop?


A child with RAD endures enough fear to change the way their brain develops.

Coming from a loving family, it’s hard to imagine how an innocent child can become abusive. As adoptive parents we’re told, “These children have come from hard places.” and yet, it’s still hard to understand what exactly creates children who harm their family members.

So, let's find out about one of the many ways this happens--come with me…


A beautiful baby boy is born, ten perfect fingers, ten perfect toes. A miracle. His mother, who is supposed to love him more than life itself—hurts him, or his mother, who is supposed to love him more than life itself, doesn’t or can’t protect him from abuse.

He cries, but no one comes to feed, change, rock, or soothe. If they do come, his life gets a lot worse. He learns to be silent. He learns that no one will help.

He’s two now. He doesn’t speak. He only hears furious screaming at home. It’s dangerous to make any noise at all. He sits in the shadows, making himself as small as possible.

The massive growth his brain should be doing during this time, slows. Some areas don’t develop at all.

He’s three years old. Nothing he can do can make the fear stop. There is no hope. Time crawls by and the only thing he know is that life is full of horror and the one who should love him, caused it—either directly or by not protecting him from it.

He should have learned connection while being fed, looking deep into his mother’s eyes. He didn’t. 

He should have learned laughter and giggles while playing peek-a-boo with his mom. He didn’t. 

He should have learned that his cries meant something to someone and been held, fed, changed, rocked. He didn’t. 

He should have learned that he meant something, but he didn’t.

What he did learn is that the natural love a child has for his mother only equals abuse and terror. So much terror that it feels like he might die from it.

Eventually, if he's fortunate, someone notices and he’s removed from his mother. He’s placed into a foster-adopt home with a family who immediately falls in love with his cherubic face and who knows that children should be cherished. This child, who has been bathed in fear his entire life, comes into a loving and healthy home. He has experiences he’s never known. Kind, soft words. A warm bath. Clean, dry clothes. As much food as he can eat. He is terrified. What does this mean? At least before he knew what to expect. He has never known love, has never known stability or health. What does he know?

A mother’s love is untrustworthy and terrifying.

His adoptive1 mother quits her job to stay home with him. The family showers their new child with love. Younger and older siblings want to hold and snuggle the tiny toddler. He recoils in horror.

He can’t make eye contact because no one taught him how.

A gentle scolding and he stares off into space, going within to hide.

He rarely cries. Instead he screams. For hours. Every day. For months. His “fury” is evident but no one really understands—he’s not furious, he’s terrified. He can't connect because any connection to mom threatens his instinctual sense of survival.

When it comes to mom and the people, pets, or things that mom loves, he hurts like he’s been hurt and shows no remorse or empathy. His brain didn’t develop in that area.

His behaviors are brushed aside because he’s a child and crashing, breaking, kicking, and hitting happens. But no, not really, not like this.

As adoptive mothers, we are told to, “Love them more. Hold them more. Spend more time.” No one tells us that for some of these children a mother’s love creates a deep, irreparable terror. No one tells us that the more we show our love for these extremely traumatized children, the worse they get and the more terrified they are.
 





Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, artist of 30 years, and Reiki Master. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one healthy and one with RAD), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.




___________
1Children with RAD can be bio or step but are most often adopted.

Friday, March 2, 2018

What is trauma?

I most often talk about trauma in reference to children who suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and the families who raise them but I'm often asked, "Well, what exactly constitutes a trauma?"

Psychological trauma is an individual's experience of a one-time occurrence or ongoing condition where:
1. The individual cannot integrate their emotional experience (overwhelm) or
2. The individual experiences a threat to life, body, or sanity.1

Common examples:
  • Experiencing war as a soldier or close to home
  • Assault: physical or sexual 
  • Domestic violence: experiencing directly or witnessing2
  • Adult abusing child: physical, psychological, sexual
  • Natural disasters 
  • Terrorist attack
Less common examples:
  • Witnessing3 death or injury
  • Child on child abuse: physical, psychological, sexual
  • Divorce
  • Adoption, even as an infant. (Loss of bio family at best, or worse, the child is removed from the bio home because of abuse or neglect.)
  • Neglect: emotional and physical
  • Verbal abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Incest 
  • Nontraditional domestic violence (where a child harms the family): experiencing directly or witnessing2
  • Medical interventions
You may be thinking, "Oh please, my parents divorced and I'm just fine." Your point is valid--for you. Here's the thing about trauma though: it's a subjective experience of an objective event. Not everyone responds to an event the same way. Two people can experience the exact same thing, one will walk away unscathed and the other will be traumatized.

The more powerless you feel in a frightening situation, the more traumatized you will be. 

Psychological effects are likely to be most severe if the trauma is:
  1. Human caused 
  2. Repeated 
  3. Unpredictable 
  4. Multifaceted 
  5. Sadistic
  6. Undergone in childhood 
  7. And perpetrated by a caregiver3
And that is where many of the children with Reactive Attachment Disorder come from. When you read that list, it's not hard to understand why these children are the way they are.

Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, Reiki Master, and artist. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one healthy and one with RAD), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.



 --
1Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995, pg 60

2 Witnessing trauma: The more attached you are to the victim, the greater the distress. It is particularly horrifying for a child to witness violence in any form toward their mother/primary caregiver both in and of itself and for fear of losing their main source of security.

3Sidran.org

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Underground World of RAD--why are we "underground?"


The Underground World of RAD are a group of parents and caregivers, usually moms (adoptive, foster, bio, or stepmoms) who have, or have had, children with Reactive Attachment Disorder living in our homes.

We are “underground” because children with RAD have a specific set of symptoms that make it hard for the outside world to detect what’s going on. Professionals, including therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, clergy and teachers are most often “snowed” by the child. The child looks, to the outside world, as if she were a perfect angel-- while at home she is full of rage and abusive behavior. 

Why is she angry and abusive? Because Reactive Attachment Disorder is caused by trauma. Children with RAD have been abused and/or neglected when they were very young and their brains didn’t develop in the typical way. They really have a right to be angry. They do not have a right to be abusive.

Here are a few of the symptoms that relate to this particular piece of RAD, where the child fools the outside world:

• cannot give or receive honest affection
• often engaging and charming, but only superficially
• false allegations
• gaslighting 
triangulation 
• extreme manipulation
• little eye contact

When the child with RAD is at home, she is angry and abusive. She’s often frightening to be around. Often the nicest thing she has to say is, “I HATE YOU!” while pushing mom away.

When mom takes her kids outside to play with the group of neighborhood kids and mothers that gather in the afternoons, the child with RAD is sunshine and roses. She waits until her mom is talking among all the other mothers and then runs up with a big smile, throws her arms around her mother, and beams up at her, “I love you so much mommy!” As soon as the other mothers start to gush about how sweet she is, she angles her head so no one else can see her eyes and they meet her mother’s, throwing her a triumphant smile.

In the early days of this happening, the mom acts instinctively and pushes her daughter away. The lie is too much for a new RAD mom. The other mothers are horrified. (As time goes on, the mother resigns herself to this display and steels herself for the smiles and hugs that hurt.)

And this is the beginning of a life of isolation from friends.

This same story often plays out inside the home with her parents. When dad is home the child with RAD is easier, maybe not sunshine and roses, but much easier to live with. The moment dad leaves the house (even just to the garage or to get the mail), his daughter lays into mom and younger siblings doing things that, if he had seen or heard, would have had her father charging back in like an angry bull. So often, he never sees the abuse. He sees what she wants him to see. Later, when the kids are in bed, he finds his exhausted wife curled up in bed sobbing. Through the tears, she tells him what her day was like. He is confused. His daughter seemed fairly happy all evening. His wife is distraught. Her anger slowly fades to depression. He begins to wonder if she’s not well…is that why she keeps telling him stories that are obviously blown out of proportion? Has she not attached?

And this is the beginning of a life of isolation from her husband.

Grandma is visiting! The child with RAD really puts it on for her grandmother and they bond over makeup, nail polish, and clothes. Grandma is ecstatic over her girly granddaughter. She’s fun and sparkly. Sure, she’s a “spirited child” and “quite the handful” but her bright smile and booming laugh are infectious. While mom gets her kids ready for bed upstairs and away from grandma, her daughter says hateful things to her and pushes her away, hits her brother, and kicks the dog. Later, when mom, in tears, tells her own mother about what is going on, it’s brushed aside, “Oh well…you and your sister were bratty sometimes too.”

And this is the beginning of a life of isolation from her family.

Due to the nature of RAD most of us are not believed. Many of us have taken to online groups (and if we’re lucky, in-person support groups) where we can speak the truth. It’s such a relief to find that we are not alone in this life of fear.

And so, Reactive Attachment Disorder remains largely misunderstood and hidden.

There are many safe groups out there, most are closed and you have to ask to join, some are even considered “secret” where someone has to invite you to join. And yet, there are thousands of women who find their way in and find solace in a tribe of sisters who are enduring daily abuse in their own homes. 

Are you a parent in the trenches, or have a child with RAD somewhere in your family? Join the facebook group called The Underground World of RAD. This is a safe place to find support. This is also a place where we will be educating professionals. You can learn more once you're there! If you're a mental health professional that would like to learn more, please contact me julia@TheMotherRanch.com

Please feel free to share this post (and maybe share just a little of your own story.) Make sure to set your own settings for your facebook post to "Public" so others can share as well.

We are getting the word out! 170,000+ people read my last post and it's all because of you! I see your posts flying across facebook and feel the power behind your words. I see you telling others, "Please share, I've made it public." and I am in awe of your power. I've gotten dozens of emails telling me stories like, "I posted my story on facebook and a long lost friend contacted me. We had the best talk, she listened and really heard me!" or "I posted my story on facebook and 60 people had supportive things to say!"

I see you. You are vulnerable, with your heart exposed to the world--scared but doing it anyway. 

Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, Reiki Master, and artist. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one healthy and one with RAD), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Florida School Shooting and the Underground World of RAD

There is an underground world of RAD moms and they are more frightened than ever this week. The Reactive Attachment Disorder facebook groups are lit up with information and worry about the Florida shooter. It's coming up because the shooter was adopted, the police were at his home multiple times as he grew up, and then to top off his trauma, his adoptive parents died. These RAD moms are saying: "This will be my kid someday."  and "This is why my child with RAD needs to be somewhere safe."

We don't yet know what Nikolas Cruz's early years were like, and may never know as his adoptive parents are deceased but there are a lot of similarities to the life we know.

New York Times: 
In the hours after the shooting, people who knew Mr. Cruz described him as a "troubled kid" who enjoyed showing off his firearms, bragging about killing animals and whose mother would resort to calling the police to have them come to their home to try to talk some sense into him.

CNN:
Broward County Mayor Beam Furr said during an interview with CNN that the shooter was getting treatment at a mental health clinic for a while, but that he hadn't been back to the clinic for more than a year.  "It wasn't like there wasn't concern for him," Furr said. "We try to keep our eyes out on those kids who aren't connected ... Most teachers try to steer them toward some kind of connections. ... In this case, we didn't find a way to connect with this kid," Furr said. 

Gordon Weeks, another attorney representing Cruz, added, “When your brain is not fully developed, you don’t know how to deal with these things. That’s the child I’m sitting across from. The child is deeply troubled and he has endured significant trauma that stems from the loss of his mother.” 

As RAD moms, we wonder, "Does Nikolas Cruz have RAD?"

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder or RAD?

A quick and easy description is given by the Institute of Attachment and Child Development: A disorder in which children’s brains and development get disrupted by trauma they endured before the age of 3. They’re unable to trust others and attach in relationships.


Unfortunately, it's so much more than that quick and easy description.

RAD is often thought of as only a mental illness that adopted children suffer from but this is not true. I know children with RAD who are step kids, bio kids, foster kids, and adopted kids. This isn't an adoption issue, this is a trauma issue. As children from severe trauma often end up in the system and are adopted, RAD is most often found in the adoption world. However, not all adopted children have RAD.

RAD symptoms:

• cannot give or receive affection
• no empathy
• extreme manipulation
• long arguments over ridiculous things

hypervigilance  
• often engaging and charming, but only superficially
• nonsense questions and unrelenting chatter
• “mad peeing” (peeing all over the house when angry, years after potty training and up into teen years—this can happen with feces as well)

• crazy lying and stealing
• little eye contact
• no cause and effect thinking
• poor hygiene

triangulation
• parents (particularly the mother) seem hostile and/or confused


Severe RAD symptoms are the above and also:


• threatening behavior, particularly toward the mother and siblings
• hurting or killing pets
• abusing mother and/or siblings--physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, sexual
• false allegations
• threatening harm to self or others
• gaslighting 

Again, these behaviors all stem from early childhood abuse and/or neglect. Children with RAD are angry and they have every right to be.

If Nikolas had early childhood trauma, from losing his birth mother and/or abuse or neglect, then he could have undiagnosed RAD. As we all scroll through facebook and watch the news we are faced with judgements aimed at the adoptive parents of Nikolas: 

"He needed more discipline."
"A good spanking would have fixed him."
"Where were his parents?"
"Maybe this wouldn't have happened if the parents would have spent more time with him."
"Why wasn't he in therapy?"

The mere thought of this riles RAD moms. We work hard to get help for our children with RAD, we learn therapeutic parenting skills, we beg for help but are more often than not met with misunderstanding and simple parenting strategies. "Try a sticker chart!" we are told. "Hug them more, spend more time with them. They just need more love!" We are not believed when we tell the truth, "My child is trying to harm her brother." We are surrounded by ignorant (not stupid, but ignorant) "professionals" who have very little, if any, trauma training. 

We need and want help but there are so few resources out there and the good ones are often private only. No insurance will cover them. If RAD parents are able to get their child in, these resources can work on the children with less severe RAD. 

But what about the children with severe RAD? 

These are the kids who have killed their pets and the parents are not believed. 

These are the children whose parents have had to defend themselves against physical attacks, have been listening to their child with RAD tell them she wants to kill them and then they find the knives she's been hiding in her bedroom and the parents are not believed

These are the kids who have tried to maim and/or kill their siblings (please read about glass children!) and the parents are not believed. 

These are children who rape their younger siblings and the parents are not believed

These are the kids that no one knows how to help. Yet. Some of them can live in super structured group homes where people care for them but do not love them. As surprising as that seems, the "care not love" can help. Love is much too frightening for children with RAD. Love triggers them and creates the violent behaviors. This is hard to believe. It took me years to realize the truth. To get an inkling of how this works, read the bottom paragraph of this post. Others end up in prison for the things they do. Still others continue to be in their adoptive homes and the entire household lives under video cameras and terror.


What You Can Do


As a nation, we know we need better mental health services but what can you do, right now, today?

Be kind. Suspend disbelief. Reserve judgement. Listen. Find out more. Be supportive. 

The next time you hear about a troubled child, don't immediately jump to the conclusion that the parents are at fault. When you hear about a mom who has found a group home, an RTC (Residential Treatment Center), a boarding school, or a wilderness camp for their child with RAD and you think, "How could she?? I could never!" please remember she isn't talking about children like yours. She's talking about a kid who could easily be the next mass shooter. She's not being a drama queen, she's lived through things you might be thankful you don't know about. Her search for a safe place for her child with RAD, is to keep her family safe, her loved ones and friends safe, her community safe, and her mentally ill child as safe as possible. We don't want our child with RAD to have the opportunity to hurt others. We don't want to be the parents of the next mass shooter. If you know someone who is making a decision to place a child she loves outside of the home, support her. Then, hold your healthy children close and be thankful for what you don't know.

Join The Underground World of RAD facebook group.


Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a trauma-informed certified Equine Gestalt Coach, Reiki Master, and artist. I combine my skills to create an individualized care plan for each client. As an adoptive mother of two (one healthy and one with RAD), I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations RAD moms and their glass children face as they navigate the muddy waters of life with a mentally ill child. While I see many types of people in my practice, my heart and my specialty is the health and healing of RAD moms and their glass children. 
Learn more at The Mother Ranch.