I’ve been pondering how to write this post, so I guess I’ll just jump right in and say it: Bug got a RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) diagnosis on Monday, and it’s thrown me into a tailspin.
It’s not like we didn’t know something like this was coming; we wouldn’t have started therapy if we didn’t think something was wrong. I’ve done enough reading into RAD to know it’s not a one-sized fits all diagnosis, so even though Bug doesn’t fit the classic RAD mold it doesn’t mean the label doesn’t apply. I guess that, in my mind, I thought — or maybe vainly hoped — no one would ever say she had full-blown RAD, and her attachment problems would just be termed “anxious attachment” or PTSD, or some other less ominous-sounding diagnosis.
I know in reality that getting a RAD label changes nothing. Bug is the same wonderful little girl, full of love and beautiful on the inside and out. And I know she’s gotten markedly “better,” for lack of a better word, in the two and a half years she’s been home. She’s made great strives in loving and learning how to be loved, and I knew we had a lot more work to do, work that will last for years.
Still, I guess it’s human nature to mourn, at least a little bit, when your child gets a diagnosis like this. I look at my beautiful little Bug and think: This is not the face of RAD. The problem is, she is the face of RAD. As are a lot of other kids. There is no one “Face of RAD.” RAD is a spectrum, and Bug is just as much a face of RAD as any other child with this diagnosis.
I’m slowly coming to grips with the fact the RAD label doesn’t really change who my daughter is and what we have to face, but it’s so hard when I look at that sweet face. The past two days I’ve been gazing in her eyes and thinking about how life isn’t fair and how much this really sucks for her. For all of us. But she will get better. G and I will get her there. Because she deserves nothing less.