Monday, June 22, 2009

Bringing Home Your Adopted Child

Preparation for a new child is an exciting time for the parents and siblings. We decorate, we read up all the books on parenting and we tell everyone we know about it. I remember walking up to the door of the foster home where our boys lived and feeling like my heart was going to beat right out of my chest.

For them it is trauma. They are taken from yet another home; even if it is an orphanage, from their family; even if that family is other orphans. They leave their beds, their room, their schools, their friends. They are told these smiling strangers are their new parents. I cannot even imagine how scary that must be. If you add in RAD the fear must be through the roof. I remember at Dr. Bruce Perry's conference hearing him say that the fear kids with RAD live with is something like this. Imagine you are in a car going across tracks. Your car stalls on the tracks. You see the train coming closer, closer, you hear it. You know it is going to hit. Just as it is about to hit, someone hands you a book and says "Read me the Gettysburg Address." I'm guessing you couldn't if you wanted too.

There are some very helpful articles and blogs on preparation for your child to make this transition as easy as possible. I will include a few things I have written about our transition. The move is different for foreign and foster adoptions so I will include both.

First, Dr. Arthur Becker-Weidman, PhD has an excellent article on his Center for Family Development blog on bringing home a child from an orphanage.

Here is an article on what transition was like for us. Ours was a foster care adoption. has an excellent article on Toddler transition in adoption. They also have an article on Transitioning Siblings.

This article on Transitions was adopted from Kinship House.

Finally on article on Transitions from

I hope these articles are helpful. This is a stressful time for all. Having realistic expectations and understanding your child's trauma are helpful. Having knowledge is powerful.


Christine said...

Working my way through Perry's new book. GOSH, do I learn so much from that man.

Brenda said...

Chritine~ Oh please do a book review. I will link to you! It is going to be a while before I can read a book because I want too! Just text books for now.

Arthur Becker-Weidman, PhD said...

Thanks for posting this. I hope your readers find it helpful.

Ericka said...

Thanks for this Brenda. July 9th is our committee date. We will (hopefully) be putting these great articles into use! :)

Brenda said...

Congratulations Erika!

Life's Mom said...

Does Dr. Perry have a book newer than "The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog?" I've already read that and found it to be very beneficial. If there is a newer one, I would love the name of it so I could read it as well.

Our transition was too quick, but we managed through it. Because "Life" had had a failed adoption and was acting out tremendously, she had been moved in February, March, April and then was recently placed at a new foster home in June. CPS decided that leaving her at the new foster home even longer would only make it more difficult. So she moved in with us with only one short pre-visit in July. Bless her heart - that's a lot of stressful moving. But the quick move to our home gave her over a month to acclimate to our house before school began. To go more slowly would mean that she would have to start another school only to be moved. It was a bad way to transition, but I'm not sure that dragging it out would have been better in this circumstance.

Her case of RAD presents itself a bit differently because she has Disinhibited RAD. She really would go with anyone - even now after a year. I can certainly see how that would develop given all of her moving. We were her 9th placement in all. Because she is disinhibited, singing and reading to her were no problem for her. She ate up any attention given to her. She loved it at our home immediately. Our problems arise when she has to do anything which she does not wish to do - like math, brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc.

We re-decorated her room and painted her name on the wall. We tried to do things which implied a sense of permanancy. We also changed out all of the family pictures to include her. But I didn't think to include her name on the telephone answering machine. I once overheard her telling someone that her name was not on the answering machine because she is "just a foster kid." That broke my heart. Of course we changed it immediately.

Thank you Brenda for all of the insights. I hope our stories can help those about to go through this process. Even when it is very hard, it is still good. We really believe our daughter is healing and attaching. There really is hope for these kids.

peggysue said...

I so wish the adoption agencies would prepare you for this a bit better, we didn't hear about RAD before we brought our daughter home. Post adoption there is little to no support. We received none, and had to figure things out on our own.
My daughter has disinhibited RAD. She has been home almost five years now and even last year she would still go off with a total stranger. I think we've passed that stage now, but she still will strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere and wander off . . . we're working on it. BUT the good thing is I have to say in almost five years we HAVE seen progress . . . lots of it.

Brenda said...

Life's Mom,

Wow! That is a powerful story. Thanks for sharing it. Dr. Perry's website is Check there for the list of his books and publications.

Brenda said...


We had the same issue. Any services we received were because we called and sought them out for ourselves. The child's chances of healing are much better if the parents are informed. Frustrating. I'm glad you have worked on it on your own.

Simply Moms said...

I don't want to talk about RAD right now.

I just want to say "hi" tonite :)

Brenda said...


Hello friend. : )

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