Colorado Life Coach: A Special Message to Adoptive Parents
My name is Carrie O’Toole and I’ve been around adoption my whole life. My family adopted my brother from Vietnam when I was 7. In 1992, My husband and I adopted our son as a newborn, then I delivered our daughter 15 months later. In 2000, we adopted our 3 1/2 year old son from Vietnam.
Sadly, that adoption went painfully awry, and we reluctantly decided to relinquish him to another family after 8 years. Why?
Because at the time, we had no idea what kind of struggles would come with parenting a child with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Our marriage was falling apart. Our other kids didn’t invite friends over anymore. They were isolating in their rooms more and more. We couldn’t do anything as a family. We were dying. I was dying.
I know how difficult it is to explain what your life feels like while trying to raise a child who is unable to form a healthy bond with his parents. I understand how your child looks to everyone else. I get how your family doesn’t truly see what’s happening, and how teachers make suggestions they think will be helpful, but they don’t work with your child. I know how frustrating it is when every counselor you look to for answers has no clue what you’re really going through.
With a whole team of editors, I’ve written our story in a book called Relinquished: When Love Means Letting Go. It was healing for me to document my journey. It is even more healing to recognize how it is now providing a voice for those who feel too weak to even come up with the words to describe their daily experiences with adopted, foster, or step children.
This book is my offering to every person who interacts in any way with these chidren. Let it be your voice. Give it to your family members, teachers, counselors, therapists, doctors, pastors, judicial workers, mental health care professionals, and friends–and maybe we can help society as a whole understand some of the mysteries behind what adopted, foster, and step children, and especially adoptive, foster, and step parents, really need. Maybe there is hope. Maybe you can get the support you need. Maybe your child can be one of the success stories. Maybe…
This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.