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What is it like to Parent an International Child with RAD?

Many people may ask me questions like, "What is it like to parent an international child with RAD?" No one could answer this better than my new friend.

Ann and I met shortly after my post on the therapeutic home; you can find it here She commented on that post and I knew we would hit it off. We also became Facebook friends.

We discussed books that she had written and I mentioned I was writing one as well. I purchased hers immediately from Amazon (see link below) and read it a few days later. After reading her book, I asked if she would share her story with my readers. I hope you enjoy it and get a sense of the reality of living with RAD. Remember that this was in the 70s and 80s when Reactive Attachment Disorder was not a "real" diagnosis according to psychologists and psychiatrists or medical doctors. Also, remember that Ann would not have had a support system like Facebook or this blog to lean on when things were tough.


What is it like to parent an international child with RAD?

In 1976, I became the first single person in the state of Utah to be approved for the adoption of a child from the United States. After 3 plus years of waiting, I decided to adopt internationally.

India seemed like a good possibility as they had placed children with single parents in other states. I asked for a child, either boy or girl, 5-10 years of age.

Indian Children

When the call came, I was asked if I would accept a 5-year-old boy. Of course, I would. A few weeks later I received a call and the person on the line said they had a picture and she was beautiful.

I said “She! She’s supposed to be a he!” No, this a 10-year-old girl.

My imagination of a child from India....

Wow! My new kid went from 5 to 10. I think I should have had an inkling this was not going to be a typical adoption. When I received a call from the director of the India agency, I knew this was not normal. My 10-year-old turned out to be more likely a 13 to 14-year-old.

Her boy turned out to be a girl.

What is it like to parent an international RAD child?

Kara, my new daughter, arrived on Friday the 13th. She spoke no English, had no idea where she was, and was scared out of her wits. She considered me just another caregiver.


A lot can happen in 5 years. Since I was new to parenting, I didn’t recognize Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) behaviors. I just knew she was not a normal child.

Family get-togethers became horror stories. She always resented being disciplined for doing things she did in India without restraint. The battles never let up.

I always suspected she was sexually reactive. I didn’t learn her history until she had been home for 3 ½ years She only told me after a year and ½ of therapy.

She had been home a couple of years when I saw her standing sideways and I could see she didn’t look normal but looked pregnant! She was! AND was 6 months along!!!

She had a baby girl in January. We planned to place the baby for adoption because I had to work and Kara was legally 12 years old with no parenting skills.

The baby was put up for adoption.

The call I received at 3:00 am the day after the baby was born changed our lives forever. Kara had been raped in the hospital. Our lives were just turned upside down.

The police didn’t seem to want to investigate the crime. They blamed her and said she must have invited the rapist to come to the hospital. I had to hire an attorney to stop that nonsense.

What is it like to parent a child with RAD?

You’d think that could be the worst thing ever, with Kara; that was pretty much just the beginning.

I’ve written a short book on the rest of the story. It’s called My Adoption Life: Living with a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) Child. The link to the book is:

Book by Ann Lamphere

For more information on Ann, you can find her on

What do you think would be the most difficult thing about parenting an adopted child with Reactive Attachment Disorder? Have you ever considered an international adoption? Are you a single parent adopting a child? Tell me a little about yourself in the comments.

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Impressing Minds is about creating value in the mind of a child through the foster parents. Imagine the mind of a child being made of play-doh, and you are about to make a permanent impression. What type of impression will you make? I will encourage you to make a soft, lasting, affirmative impression in their mind by giving tools to get started fostering, accomplishing a great foster care home, and serving the children in your care. I offer support to you and others fostering. An important element of Impressing Minds is the support that others have given to those in need.


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