Category: Resources

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) visualization: Restoring empathy

Here’s a meditation from Chel Hamilton created especially for RAD moms to help us recenter and return to that place where we can view our child’s challenging behaviors through the lens of their trauma. Chel walks us through a powerful visualization exercise to restore our empathy, a feeling that is so easily worn away by the daily struggles we face with our child.

Rejecting Blame and Shame (visualization)

Highly specialized meditations created for moms of kids with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) by professional hypnotherapist, Chel Hamilton.

Visualization

Rejecting blame and shame (5:58)

How to use these meditations

Of course, use these meditations as a tool when you’re in crisis. But you’ll get the most value if you also listen to them when you aren’t in crisis. Each time you let the words and affirmations soak into your mind, you’ll be building your resilience. Bookmark and favorite this page and come back often. Listen until they become a part of your internal strength and come back whenever you need a boost!


Chel Hamilton, is a hypnotherapist, and the host of the popular Meditation Minis podcast which has over 40 million downloads . Find and listen to her other meditations on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. Thank you, Chel, for this incredible gift!


Calm Frustration and Anger (meditation)

Highly specialized meditations created for moms of kids with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) by professional hypnotherapist, Chel Hamilton.

Meditation

Calm Frustration and Anger (9:38)

How to use these meditations

Of course, use these meditations as a tool when you’re in crisis. But you’ll get the most value if you also listen to them when you aren’t in crisis. Each time you let the words and affirmations soak into your mind, you’ll be building your resilience. Bookmark and favorite this page and come back often. Listen until they become a part of your internal strength and come back whenever you need a boost!


Chel Hamilton, is a hypnotherapist, and the host of the popular Meditation Minis podcast which has over 40 million downloads . Find and listen to her other meditations on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. Thank you, Chel, for this incredible gift!


Finding Hope (meditation)

Highly specialized meditations created for moms of kids with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) by professional hypnotherapist, Chel Hamilton.

Meditation

Find hope (9:17)

How to use these meditations

Of course, use these meditations as a tool when you’re in crisis. But you’ll get the most value if you also listen to them when you aren’t in crisis. Each time you let the words and affirmations soak into your mind, you’ll be building your resilience. Bookmark and favorite this page and come back often. Listen until they become a part of your internal strength and come back whenever you need a boost!


Chel Hamilton, is a hypnotherapist, and the host of the popular Meditation Minis podcast which has over 40 million downloads . Find and listen to her other meditations on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. Thank you, Chel, for this incredible gift!


The BIG little book on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Just getting started on your RAD parenting journey? This little 99-cent book is literally a BIG bang for your buck!

  • Quick start guide with an introduction to the disorder, how to get your child an evaluation, and next steps.
  • List of over 125 RAD related resources including books, conferences, coaching, blog posts, and support groups.

Available here on Amazon as e-book only!

The 2 must-have books on RAD

Among caregivers of kids with RAD, these are the most popular books available today. Written from the RAD-parenting trenches, instead of an office armchair, they’re full of practical advice and straight-forward truth.

  • Learn all about Reactive Attachment Disorder, how to get an evaluation for your child, and next steps
  • Learn invaluable tips and tricks to navigate the system
  • Lists of organizations that “get it”
  • Free tools to educate family, friends, teachers, and therapists
  • Information on online support groups, retreats, coaching, and more
  • Includes list of over 125 Resources

What Readers Are Saying

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Great resource

This book has great suggestions. A pretty quick read with lots packed into it ! importantly it has compiled so many resources in one place for us to plug into. Links to blogs, rad advocates, book suggestions and more. It will take me says to checkout all of these resources listed. I loved the sample letter to a therapist and letter to friends and family to help explain how you are struggling. So helpful as so many parents feel shame and try to hide what’s going on

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Excellent book

This is the clearest, most honest book on Reactive Attachment Disorder I have read. Williams presents what is known about RAD—by experts, other RAD parents, and her own experience—in an easily-read format and style. She writes hopefully but also honestly, realistically, and unflinchingly.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Clear, practical advice for RAD parents

The place is awesome with attending staff. Excellent and authentic flavors. Will surely visit this place again. It also is an excellent place to have a business conversation. We really recommend this restaurant.

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


BUT, HE SPIT IN MY COFFEE
WINS 2022 INDIEREADER DISCOVERY AWARD FOR BEST NEW BOOK IN NON-FICTION

June 1st, 2022 – On Wednesday June 1st, IndieReader, one of the original review services for self, hybrid and independently published authors, announced the winners of the eleventh annual IR Discovery Awards (IRDAs) for 2022. BUT, HE SPIT IN MY COFFEE by KERI WILLIAMS OF NORTH CAROLINA won in the BEST FIRST BOOK in the NON-FICTION category.

IndieReader launched the IRDAs in 2011 to help notable indie authors receive the attention of top publishing professionals, with the goal of reaching more readers. Noted Amy Edelman, author and founder of IR, “The books that won the IRDAs this year are not simply great indie books; they are great books, period. We hope that our efforts via the IRDAs ensure that they receive attention from the people who matter most. Potential readers.”

Past and present sponsors for the IRDAs include Amazon, Reedsy, Smith Publicity and NY-based literary agents Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. Judges have included publishers (from Penguin Group USA and Simon & Schuster), agents (from ICM, Dystel), publicists (from Smith Publicity), and bloggers (from GoodeReader).

BUT, HE SPIT IN MY COFFEE received was the following verdict by IndieReader’s reviewers:

“BUT, HE SPIT IN MY COFFEE, Keri Williams’ gripping memoir of adopting a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), is a heartbreaking portrait of a family in crisis—and the child welfare and mental health systems that fail them again and again. Presented with raw, unguarded candor and masterful storytelling skills, BUT, HE SPIT IN MY COFFEE is a harrowing and unforgettable reading experience.”


# # #

But, He Spit in my Coffee: A reads-like-fiction memoir about adopting a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

2022 IndieReader Discovery Award Winner
16th National Indie Excellence Award Winner 

Available in paperback, ebook, and Audiobook.
The gripping and heart wrenching true story of a desperate mother who must grapple with impossible choices as her young son becomes too dangerous to live at home but is only growing bigger, stronger, and more violent while in treatment.

When Keri and her husband adopt Devon, he has concerning behaviors, but she’s confident all he needs is the love of a “forever family.” Devon’s hidden history of early childhood trauma quickly takes center stage when Devon throws screaming fits, yanks his bedroom door off its hinges, chases his classmates with a knife, and pushes his younger brother down the stairs and viciously karate-chops him in the throat. When Devon is admitted to a psychiatric residential treatment facility at age 10 and is diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), Keri is faced with an impossible choice—Devon is too dangerous to live at home, but he’s not getting better in treatment. Keri must race against time to find help for Devon and keep her other children safe, as he grows bigger, stronger, and more violent.

Based on a shocking true story, this reads-like-fiction memoir exposes the dysfunctions of the child welfare and mental health systems and how they fail kids with RAD and their families.

Online support groups for parents of kids with RAD

Are you parenting a child who came to you from hard places? If your child is suffering from the effects of early childhood trauma, also called adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), they may have extreme behaviors that seem impossible to manage.

Unfortunately, you may not fit into typical parenting support groups. Your child’s behaviors and emotions may be so extreme that other parents can’t relate. As their parenting-101 and common sense advice falls flat and over time, their lack of understanding can feel an awful lot like blame.

You may be feeling:

Developmental trauma (often diagnosed as Reactive Attachment Disorder) is a very serious disorder that requires specialized and specific treatment. You’re unlikely to find the support you need in typical mommy-and-me, ADHD, or other types of parenting support groups. The approaches to those parents use may not be effective with your child.

First, know you are not alone. There are thousands of us going through the same things. It’s just difficult to find each other and connect for support.

So where can you find the support and community you so desperately need? One fantastic option is a private online support group. Here are the two I like to recommend, and am most active in. (Tell them that I sent you!)

These groups are for parents and caregivers only and have strict confidentiality rules. They are a great place to ask for advice, vent, and feel understood. However, always keep in mind that only conversations with your attorney (and sometimes your therapist) are legally privileged).

You don’t have to do this alone!

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD): The Essential Guide for Parents

If you are struggling to parent a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), this is the resource you need.

No platitudes or false hopes here, only practical suggestions that actually work!

  • Understand developmental trauma and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
  • Learn tips and tricks to help you to navigate “the system”
  • Get resource recommendations that will provide a way forward

Adopting or fostering a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is beyond challenging.They may have violent outbursts, engage in outlandish lying, steal, play with feces, and hoard food. With histories of early childhood trauma, kids with RAD too often break even the most loving of caregivers. Many parents of these children feel utterly isolated as family, friends, and professionals minimize the struggles.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) – The Essential Guide for Parents comes from a parent who’s in the trenches with you. Keri has lived the journey of raising a son with RAD and has navigated the mental health system for over a decade.

Available here on Amazon.

Christmas Gift List for kids in Residential Treatment Facilities (RTFs)

It can be challenging to Christmas shop for kids who are living in residential treatment facilities (PRTFs, RTFs, or group homes). There are almost always restrictive rules about personal items along with special rules for Christmas gifts. For example, in most facilities electronics, candy, and hardback books are not allowed.

So what can you give your child for Christmas? Below is a list curated from parents who have successfully navigated the holiday season while their child is living in an RTF.

But first, here are some tips.

  • Gifts deemed inappropriate or against policy will likely be thrown away and not returned to you.
  • Most facilities do not allow wrapped gifts because they need to approve the items.
  • Often gifts must be dropped off on a specific day.
  • You may not be allowed to open Christmas gifts with your child. If this is important to you, ask their therapist about doing so during a family therapy session or home visit.
  • Kids in higher level facilities aren’t allowed to have “dangerous” item which may include shoe laces, belts, hard back books, calendars with staples, etc.
  • Ask the facility if your child will be getting additional gifts from local charities or the facility. As you shop, it can be helpful to know if you are supplementing gifts or supplying all your child’s gifts.
  • Plan for the gifts you buy to be lost or destroyed. Shop at Walmart and don’t give expensive gifts. Label what you can with your child’s name.
  • To successfully navigate Christmas gift giving with the least amount of frustration and waste, email your child’s therapist your planned gift list ahead of time for approval.

Christmas Gift List
(For kids in RTF)

  • Clothes
  • Pillow
  • Stuffed animal
  • Pajamas
  • Markers and coloring books
  • Dot to Dot books
  • Playing cards
  • Family Pictures
  • Art Supplies
  • Basket ball
  • Soccer ball
  • Foot ball
  • Journal
  • Hygiene supplies
  • Hair bands
  • Stickers
  • Pillow case
  • Picture book of “happy” memories
  • Paperback books
  • Crayons
  • Teddy bear
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Shoes
  • Puzzles
  • Funky Socks
  • Magic 8 Ball
  • Comic books
  • MP3 Player/iPod Shuffle with no internet access
  • Stationary
  • Legos
  • Crazy Aaron’s thinking Putty
  • Blanket – burrito etc
  • Posters
  • Calendar (no staples)

Please let me know your additional ideas so I can add to this list!

A few thoughts about realistic expectations…

Kids with developmental trauma, especially those diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) are likely to turn any situation into a power struggle, including their Christmas gifts.

Even if you give them a gift they’ve been asking for – that you know they’ll love – you can expect them to:

  • Tell the therapist they know you aren’t planning to give them any gifts because you don’t love them.
  • Complain to staff about the gifts they do get, and say they don’t like them.
  • Destroy the gifts even if they love them and desperately wanted them.

It may feel personal, but it’s simply how your child relates to the world because of the lasting effects of early childhood neglect and abuse. Unfortunately, you may end up feeling manipulated, lied about, coerced, and judged. It can be tempting to withhold gifts because of these behaviors or because your child is not cooperating with treatment, but that’s not a good strategy.

First, keep in mind that it will be very difficult to execute. Staff will likely compensate by giving your child extra gifts creating an opportunity for triangulation.

Additionally, your child’s therapist will almost certainly see your lack of gifts as a sign you are a cold, and unloving parent – and the focus of your child’s treatment will be side tracked.

Most importantly, your child will internalize feelings of rejection and this will not be a learning lesson no matter how well-intentioned you are. Jessie Hogsett, who was diagnosed with RAD as a child, reminds us that our child’s actions aren’t necessarily reflective of what’s going on inside. He says “I remember being in an RTF during Christmas. So lonely. And I felt totally unwanted. Horrible times. A gift would have made me feel wanted, special, and thought about.”

So, plop on your Christmas hat, sip a peppermint latte, and go shopping.

The Special Needs of Adopted Children – Bible Verses

Whether you are religious or not, this list from Sherrie Eldridge is a powerful tool. She’s included Bible verses for those who would like them.

EMOTIONAL NEEDS

  • I need help in recognizing my adoption loss and grieving it. (Ecclesiastes 1:18)
  • I need to be assured that my birth parents’ decision not to parent me had nothing to do with anything defective in me. (Proverbs 34:5)
  • I need help in learning to deal with my fears of rejection–to learn that absence doesn’t mean abandonment, nor a closed door that I have done something wrong. (Genesis 50:20)
  • I need permission to express all my adoption feelings and fantasies. (Psalm 62.8)

EDUCATIONAL NEEDS

  • I need to be taught that adoption is both wonderful and painful, presenting lifelong challenges for everyone involved. (Ezekiel 17:10a, Romans 11:24)
  • I need to know my adoption story first, then my birth story and birth family. (Isaiah 43:26)
  • I need to be taught healthy ways for getting my special needs met. (Philippians 4:12)
  • I need to be prepared for hurtful things others may say about adoption and about me as an adoptee. (John 1:11)

VALIDATION NEEDS

  • I need validation of my dual-heritage (biological and adoptive). (Psalm 139:16b)
  • I need to be assured often that I am welcome and worthy. (Isaiah 43:4, Zephaniah 3:17)
  • I need to be reminded often by my adoptive parents that they delight in my biological differences and appreciate my birth family’s unique contribution to our family through me. (Proverbs 23:10)

PARENTAL NEEDS

  • I need parents who are skillful at meeting their own emotional needs so that I can grow up with healthy role models and be free to focus on my development, rather than taking care of them. (II Corinthians 12:15)
  • I need parents who are willing to put aside preconceived notions about adoption and be educated about the realities of adoption and the special needs adoptive families face. (Proverbs 23:12, Proverbs 3: 13-14, Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • I need my adoptive and birth parents to have a non-competitive attitude. Without this, I will struggle with loyalty issues. (Psalm 127:3)

RELATIONAL NEEDS

  • I need friendships with other adoptees. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
  • I need to taught that there is a time to consider searching for my birth family, and a time to give up searching. (Ecclesiastes 3:4)
  • I need to be reminded that if I am rejected by my birth family, the rejection is symptomatic of their dysfunction, not mine. (John 1:11)

SPIRITUAL NEEDS

  • I need to be taught that my life narrative began before I was born and that my life is not a mistake. (Jeremiah 1:5a, Ephesians 1:11)
  • I need to be taught in this broken, hurting world, loving families are formed through adoption as well as birth. (Psalm 68:6)
  • I need to be taught that I have intrinsic, immutable value as a human being.
  • I need to be taught that any two people can make love but only God can create life. He created my life and I’m not a mistake.  (John 1:3)

This list is reprinted with permission from: Copyright, 1999, Sherrie Eldridge, Random House Publishers-TWENTY THINGS ADOPTED KIDS WISH THEIR ADOPTIVE PARENTS KNEW.