A friend from my Chicago days sent me a link to this article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune last Sunday. The article describes the Ranch for Kids in Montana, a residential and respite facility for children adopted internationally. Most of the children are from Eastern Europe. The Ranch serves children from 0-17, and the average stay for a child needing behavior modification is 3-12 months. Children disrupting from a previous placement and moving on quickly to a new placement generally only stay at the Ranch for a few months. The Ranch works with A Child’s Waiting to facilitate the re-placement of a child.
I think the Tribune’s coverage of the need for this type of residential facility was accurate and not sensationalized. Poignant comments provided by parents at the end of the article punctuated the plight of our families. I added my two cents to the comments; I encourage you to do the same. The more balanced publicity we receive, the more services we can ultimately acquire … information is power. It is imperative that John Q. Public develop some understanding of the depth and degree of pathology that can exist in traumatized and attachment-affected children. We are not pathologizing the children; we are exposing the pathology injected into our families when we attempt to integrate relationship-fearing children. We are simply clamoring for services and public support rather than condemnation. Articles like this one work in our favor. Chime in and let the readers know that it isn’t a few isolated families … but rather, there are many families in need of services throughout the country.
I intend to address parental PTSD this week, a subject that dovetails nicely with this article. You can hear the stress and trauma reflected in the words of the parents who commented. Even the mom who adopted a child decades ago still sounds stressed over the experience. I wonder if she is still playing the “What if?” game? What if this opportunity had been available to my child? What if I had tried this … or this … or this? I think our constant effort to find the “right” button to push on our damaged kids (and therefore “make it all better”) is part of our PTSD. We can barely survive the challenge of living with them, and yet we are putting out additional effort, energy and money, (“What if I had been able to pay three grand a month to send my child to this facility?” …) trying to make them better. More coming on this … I really encourage you to read this article and the associated comments.
Photo Credit: Nancy Spoolstra