In my article Respite Care for Adopted Children, I stressed the need to have respite set up both for the child and for us as parents. The next step is finding appropriate respite care. This is the biggest problem because not everyone is fit to do healing (or at the very least – place holding) respite care for our kiddos. Let’s discuss the differences.
Inappropriate Respite Care
Starting with don’ts may help make the do’s clearer!
1. Don’t expect everyone to be a respite option. Unlike children without childhood trauma issues, you cannot ask the 13-year old next door to come babysit. Or the sweet lady at church who just loves your kids. Or..
2. Your family. This is a real touchy one because family members can be appropriate, but for the most part this can add to stress in your extended family and a wonderful opportunity for your kiddo to triangulate! Your older children may be an option but not in your home.
3. Daycare facilities. Most are not trained to handle children who are diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Order. Even if they have experience with Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), this does not make it an ideal place. And unless the kid to adult ration is small, you could have a “child gone wild” at the end of the care.
Please don’t be discouraged. There are places and hope!
Appropriate Respite Care
Ideally, everyone in this list would be a healing, helpful provider. But that is not always the case. Sometimes, just a break for both you and your kiddos might be all you can receive. Like I said above, if they only hold your place in the healing process that would be enough. Anything less, would not be considered respite.
1. People who are formally trained in handling children with Reactive Attachment Disorder. There are several schools of thought on correctly working with RAD kiddos, so be sure to find respite providers who are using the same system you are. Carefully screen beforehand these providers – talk to them on the phone, visit their facility and review their philosophies on respite care. Your counselor would be a great resource for referrals.
2. Your family. Yes, they can be appropriate care. These would be family members who support your parenting techniques and are privy to the kiddo’s desire to lie and manipulate. If you can get them to a seminar or online training, that would be great! Nancy Thomas has an excellent DVD out titled “Give Me A Break”. It is an excellent resource that I have used to train respite care providers. It also was helpful in opening their eyes to the reality of our situation as parents and the mindset of the child. If nothing else, it is a great tool for people in your close circle who just don’t get what is going on!
3. Facilities trained in working with RAD kids. www.attachment.org has a resource list (please do your due diligence and check each one out prior to using!). You can also google Reactive Attachment Disorder respite care to find providers. Please, please be careful in doing so. I belong to several Reactive Attachment Disorder facebook groups that are also an excellent way to find respite help. Use your support groups too for referrals. There may be a cost involved with this kind of care.
4. Friends you have trained. Using the information in #2, this can be an excellent source for respite. I have trained my best friend and a very close friend from our church who get it and help with no questions asked.
5. Other families in similar situations. I put this one last because most of us are already tapped out. But I have found that when I do respite for other families, I get a great chance to practice my skills. And because there is no strong emotional attachment to the child, this can be very handy, especially practicing calm face!!! Here is a link from one of my facebook groups that might help you find families in your area.
This mostly covers short term care. Long term facilities care is a whole other animal. And takes a lot of research and usually has a cost attached.
Overall, my best advice is to set up your respite care resources as soon as possible. Trying to find care in the heat of the moment can lead to poor decisions. And feelings of hopelessness. I know, I have been there!