Have You Heard of RAD?

Smaller Final Cover 12-2013

Scattered Links is a novel that pulls its characters from the gutter and, in the end, celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit.

I traveled to Russian in 1997 to adopt our daughter who’s now 18. At 25 months, when we first saw her, she only weighed 16 pounds and was developmentally delayed. Now she’s 18, five feet tall, and still a peanut—only weighing about 105 pounds, but she’s no longer delayed in any way. She’s been a joy to raise and a gift from God.

However, many families who adopt orphans have not been as blessed. Their children suffer from of a disorder called RAD, reactive attachment disorder.

Mayo Clinic’s definition follows:

Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don’t establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers.

A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused or orphaned. Reactive attachment disorder develops because the child’s basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren’t met and loving, caring attachments with others are never established. This may permanently change the child’s growing brain, hurting the ability to establish future relationships.

Reactive attachment disorder is a lifelong condition, but with treatment children can develop more stable and healthy relationships with caregivers and others. Safe and proven treatments for reactive attachment disorder include psychological counseling and parent or caregiver education.

Last month, I read an article that some parents were re-homing their children like pets because their child had this condition. The parents couldn’t cope with the behavior problems that arise from this disorder. It’s devastating for both parents and children.

SCATTERED LINKS is a story of a Russian teen who’s abandoned in an orphanage before she has the chance to say goodbye to her mama or tell her a secret that haunts her. Although Oksana’s story is different than other kids with RAD, the book was written to increase awareness about this disorder.

Readers who love children and horses will enjoy this story, but should keep a tissue handy! They’ll feel Oksana’s adoptive parents frustrations as they struggle to bond with her, but they will get a glimpse into Oksana’s life and why attachment disorders happen, too.

The link to Amazon to read more about the book is HERE 



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Every month I get a newsletter from another Michelle, a young woman in Ukraine, who teaches and mentors children in the orphanages. She sends calendars of the children’s birthdays (above is a screen shot example) and includes their photos, asking caring families to send cards and prayers. Michelle brings the children hope of a better life, and sometimes they are adopted into loving families.

When Michelle was 19 she left college to be an advocate for these children. She inspires me. This month she sent this poem and I thought it was appropriate to help raise awareness of the orphans in our world. I hope you like this poem as much as I do.

To Know

By Michelle Maly

How would you know that your life had meaning . . .

If you were in the hospital for weeks and no one came to visit you or worried about you?  

If you ran away and no one came looking for you?

If you never went to class and no one asked where you were

How would you know?

How would you know that God knitted you together in your mother’s womb and that He planned the time and place of your birth. . .

If your birthday came and went each year without celebration. . .

If you had no idea of who your mother or father were? . . . 

If there were no relatives to watch you grow up and tell stories from your baby days?

How would you know?

How would you know that you are valuable and the things you do have worth . . .

If no one ever came to watch you sing in the school concert or play soccer? . . .

If no one looked at your report card? . . .  i

If no one told you how talented you are? . . .

How would you know?

How would you know that God is love. . .

If no one  comforted you when you were sad or wiped away your tears? . . .

If no one ever tucked you in at night? . . .

If no one noticed or cared when you were having a bad day? . . . 

How would you know?

Lord give us the courage, strength, and wisdom to



come looking,







and care

for orphans who are desperate for a way to KNOW.

Today, I ask you to join me in prayer for orphans everywhere, but to also pray for those families who have adopted orphans or foster children who are struggling with the behavior issues that accompany attachment disorders.

I’m hoping that Michelle’s poem helps you understand why some children behave in a not-so-loving way. They haven’t been shown how to love.

“For an orphan to know how to love he must first be loved.” (Tweet this.)


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  1. I’d heard a bit of your story before, Michelle, and it’s gripping. God has obviously led you on a specific-assignment journey. I’m thrilled you’re championing this now through powerful writing to 1) help this nasty Goliath be clearly seen, and 2) knocked down and slain. You’re so hard at productive work, I think I see clouds of dust rolling by. Keep it up!

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