August 14, 2015

Adoption and Reactive Attachment Disorder

Adoption, Illinois family law attorney, Marriage

When a family decides to adopt a child, it is never an easy decision or one to take lightly. Not only will a new child in the family drastically change family dynamics, but there is also the consideration of the child who is being adopted—will he or she fit in with the rest of the family? Will he or she be interested in forming bonds and relationships with other children in the household? Is it possible for a family to seamlessly transition from one of four blood-related people to one of five people, in which not all are technically related?

One of the most common challenges that adoptive parents can face, especially those adopting children internationally (and even then, particularly children from Russia or Eastern Europe), is a condition seen in the children known as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

Reactive Attachment Disorder is a condition experienced by children who refuse to attach with their adoptive parents, likely because of some trauma or severe neglect that they have experienced in their young past. The children subconsciously see their adoptive parent as another caretaker who will abuse or abandon them, and so build psychological walls that are often impossible for adoptive parents to penetrate. The condition can carry over into other areas of the child’s life as well—he or she may be completely unable to bond with other children or to live a normal life. The condition is not yet widely understood by pediatricians, and sometimes mistaken for other anti-social conditions such as autism.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with a RAD child is that he or she will likely crave chaos, even though that is the situation that got him or her into the condition in the first place. Removing all signs of true chaos and providing a stable and drama-free home can begin to help a child heal.

If you or someone you know is considering adoption, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call Mulyk Laho Law, LLC at (630) 852-1100 today.