A Chance to Do a Lenten Work of Mercy

A Chance to Do a Lenten Work of Mercy February 19, 2015

A reader passes this along:

My family is asking for assistance in obtaining appropriate care for our 2 adopted sons, J.P & S.L.  They both have been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, RAD.  The type of care we feel the boys need now is a residential treatment facility.  These types of treatment facilities cost $5,000.00 – $12,000.00 per month.  The average length of stay is 6 months to a year.  We have hope that God has bigger things planned for our family.  Our sincerest desire is for our sons to overcome their struggles and find true peace and healing.  

We have 8 beautiful children.  We have adopted 3 children from the fostercare system.  We have been so blessed by God’s abundance.  We truly believe all of our children were meant to be ours.  J.P. & S.L. are biological brothers.  It has never been easy.  They have always had emotional and behavioral problems.  Their adoption was finalized over 7 years ago.  They were removed from their birth home twice due to severe emotional abuse and neglect.  These boys have had a very rough start to life.  

Our family has done so much for them yet it is not enough.  We have had our sons in outpatient therapy on a continuous basis.  They both have spent time in psychiatric hospitals.  We are now receiving in-home services through our county.  The school system has schools to help emotionally impaired children heal and learn with properly trained staff, but we have been denied because we have not yet jumped through all the proper hoops.  This process would take years at the pace the school district is moving and has no guarantees.  The treating doctor at the psychiatric hospital suggested residential treatment.  However, the insurance agency denied this level of treatment and their suggestion was to dissolve our adoption and “give the boys back to the state.”

What is RAD?

RAD is a complicated, misunderstood diagnosis.  We’re not about to define it or cite a single source for RAD because much of the information on RAD is fraught in debate including causation, diagnosis, & treatment.  What I can do is explain our perspective on RAD and our hope for our sons.

Our hearts are broken because we have been unable to heal our sons after all these years.  Our hearts have had to grieve the loss of what we had hoped for our children.  Our hearts are heavy with uncertainty about our sons’ futures.  Our hearts feel empty because our sons aren’t able to reciprocate our love for them.  Our hearts are saddened because our other children have had to witness so much pain and suffering as we struggled through these last several years.  This is our RAD.

My sons have each described RAD in their own way.  I asked J.P. to write a list of what would make him happy.  He came up with a six item list.  The first five items were all materialistic things he wanted.  He included video games, toys, & money among these items.  The last item simply stated, “To be alone.”  This is J.P.’s RAD.  You can see how difficult it is to be a family when someone’s deepest desire is to pull away from it.

One time S.L. was complaining about a perceived injustice.  I tried explaining to him that things can be fair without being equal.  I continued with an analogy about robots.  The only way for everything to be fair and equal was if we all were robots and all loaded with the exact same hardware and software.  I told my son this was not God’s plan for us and that being human is far better than being equal.  S.L. is typically not at a loss for words, but he paused for a rather long time.  In a slow and purposeful voice he said, “Well, that wouldn’t be so bad.  At least, I wouldn’t have to feel anything.”  This is S.L.’s RAD.  He would rather not experience the good in order to rid himself of the bad.  

What my boys have shared and what we failed to fully comprehend until recently is that every feeling is painful to them because everything comes from a place of hurt.  This comes from such a deep place in them.  It comes from when they were traumatized and abused.  Until my sons can overcome these feelings, they can never truly heal.  

Please help us get the appropriate care for our whole family and start the healing process for everyone.  We have set a rather large goal and we would like to explain its purpose in greater detail.  While we have not applied at any specific residential treatment facility yet we have done preliminary research into the cost.  Facilities cost several thousand dollars per month.  We have 2 boys with severe issues and are planning on a year of treatment for each.  In addition, we would like funds to plan visits in order to make treatment as successful as possible.  Costs for a simple weekend trip for a large family adds up fast.  Lastly, we want to ensure we take care of each other’s and our children’s emotional needs as we take this new journey to true healing. 

We’re planning for $6,000.00 per month in fees.

J.P.  – 12 month treatment  = $72,000.00
J.P.  – 12 month treatment  = $72,000.00
Family travel expenses         = $5,000.00
Therapy for family                   = $1,000.00

         Total Goal = $150,000.00

We appreciate all of our donors.  We promise to lift your families up in prayer as we trust God’s plan for our family.

Love in Christ,

Jeff & Jen Freeman

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