We have been experiencing hard times in our house lately. Bunny has been struggling with the anger of RAD, and we have been trying to manage her rage. Sometimes, being the parent of a child with reactive attachment disorder just becomes too difficult, and the entire family needs a break.
This is when respite care plays a role.
As much as grandparents want to help and think they understand, they really don’t get it. They try to apply the same parenting principles they used as parents, but we didn’t have RAD, and spanking and yelling just doesn’t work.
So, when grandparents aren’t really an option for a family break, where else do you turn?
We’ve only had to use respite care once, a year ago, when Elle needed additional help fixing her life that we couldn’t provide. Driving her to a stranger’s home and dropping her off was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
But this time around, the decision to use respite care to help repair the fabric of our family wasn’t as hard to make. What was difficult was finding a good and reputable home to send Bunny to.
We are fortunate that we have a great attachment therapist who was many close ties to the community. The couple of times we have looked into respite care, she knows who to call for help.
But, the first time we used respite care a year ago; the situation wasn’t the most ideal. It wasn’t an unsafe place, and they had been trained in attachment therapy respite. It’s just that I didn’t appreciate the lecture on how to be a better parent. I didn’t need to be told what books I should allow Elle to read, or how religion wasn’t playing a strong enough role in our lives. No one should ever lecture a RAD parent unless they have walked a mile in our shoes.
After reporting our displeasure about the respite provider, we found ourselves once again without any place to help. Thankfully, the one visit to respite was enough to convince Elle she wanted a better life.
But now, we are in need again and the arduous task of finding good respite has started. Luckily this time, we have found someone. She is a woman who has fostered dozens of children, has her own children, and is well versed in the ways of RAD. After two seconds on the phone with her, I knew this woman understood.
So far, our schedules and Bunny’s behavior haven’t allowed us to take her to respite, yet. But, I just feel better knowing that when the time comes, I will have a safe place to send her. A place that understands the disorder, and can help us repair the fabric of our lives.
If you find yourself in need of respite care, make a call to your local foster care agency. If they don’t have a respite program in place, they will at least have an idea where to start the search. And, if you don’t click with a provider, that’s OK. Just keep looking until you find someone you do click with.