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Carol This is Claire's story

After 4 year's of trying to get pregnant, I finally was! Our daughter Charis was born in 1979, then we adopted Corinne in 1989, they were 10 years apart. Corinne's adoption was a dream come true, just like when I found out I was pregnant with Charis. Corinne and I bonded quickly; she was 3 weeks old at time of placement. I felt my love for her was no different than Charis. Corinne is biracial. She is 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 French Canadian - we are Caucasian. I always wanted more children, but we were never in the financial position to adopt again. In the meantime, Charis became pregnant at 15 years old, a parents worst nightmare! She concealed her pregnancy for 4 months, we found out she was trying to get an abortion from a phone call, from a family friend. We gave her the opportunity to put the baby up for adoption - boy was that hard! I have been on the other side of the fence, I, wanting more children, by no means wanted her to give up this baby, yet I having an adopted child myself, had to let it be her choice. She did decide to parent her baby, my wonderful grandson, Brayden. It was hard letting her be the mom, since she was only 16 years when he was born, but I did, and she became a wonderful, responsible mom. She just got married in March 1998 to a wonderful Christian guy, not Brayden's birthfather. He will now adopt Brayden. We started thinking that maybe we could adopt again, plus I was having a hard time, I loved Brayden, he lived with us, and I wanted another child.

Because of our ages, we were in the early 40's, we thought a baby would be a lot of work. (Ha ha) So why not call our adoption agency to see if they ever had older children to place, we also were thinking about going over sea's to Korea to adopt. The agency that we got Corinne from mainly is a crisis pregnancy agency, so I called them, and they hadn't had an older adoption for 2&1/2 years. Then I got a call from the agency about a little boy that was 5 years old. Nothing came of that call. Then weeks went by, and I got another call about this little 2&1/2 year old girl that was in one of their foster homes. She had been abused and neglected and had been taken care of by her Grandmother, who we found out made the initial call to the agency. She was the middle child; she had a 4&1/2-year-old half sister and a 6-month baby brother. Her birthparents had put her in foster care at 6 months old, considering adoption, but because of family pressure took her home. I think she was shifted from grandmother's house and friend's homes a lot. She had constant diarrhea, which her birth mom said was genetic just like her birthfather. We saw her 3 times before her birth parents signed away their rights. Her mother didn't call during the 12 days she was in foster care. Her birthfather just wanted to sign away his rights without ever seeing her again. Her birth name was Harmony. We added Claire for her middle name; all our names start with C. I promised her birth mom that I would keep her name. We called her Harmony for 1 and 1/2 years, not wanting to take away her identify, but for a RAD child that was the worst name. We then called her Harmony-Claire, and then with our help, she said she wanted to have a "C" name like ours. So now she's Claire. Her birth parents looked through our profile and chose us right away, didn't want to look at anymore, we felt that this was God's way of saying this is the child I have for you. We read a few books on grieving and children, so we thought we were prepared. All we needed was time and a lot of love and she would learn to love us and feel secure. We brought her home, and the next morning she ate 3 adult sized bowls of cereal. She also didn't sleep, only 6 hours a day, she said the silliest things, mumbled, lied about the obvious, said and did the opposite, didn't give us eye contact, was stiff as a board, she broke our backs from leaning away from us when being held. She also raged, and threw tantrums, would cry for hours, she had high fevers, got sick a lot, had 12 poopie diapers, a day, had a lot of gas, we could hardly stand to be around her. I forgot to tell you that, we moved 4 days after bringing her home. The agency said that would be good, we all could have a new beginning together! Here I had a freaked, out not so normal child and this would be good? I had enough wits about me to give her a bottle and a pacifier; she had no coping skills. Her birth mom took everything away, her bottle, pacifier, was trying to potty train her, going poo-poo, 12 times a day? I stopped that and put her back in diapers. We have muddled through the past 2 years, trying this and that. About 1 year ago we read something on Attachment Disorder. My personal therapist helped keep me sane during this time. We just found out in April that Claire has Cystic Fibrosis, it's a genetic disease that effects the Caucasian population. The diagnosis is fatal. Kids used to die by 8 years old. Now with new medicine and treatment, CF patients are living until into their's on the average and higher. It effects the bowels, by malabsorption and the Lungs with lung disease. She has always been small, eaten like a horse, gorged on food, and finally our doctors were able to diagnose it. She hasn't had trouble with her lungs, so it was hard to diagnose, until she had failure to thrive. I think all the screaming has kept the sticky mucus from building up, and causing a problem, she coughs after screaming. She takes enzymes with her food, and has gained 4 pounds so far, her height has improved, and she looks really healthy. It's hard for me to think of her as sick sometimes with the disease, especially since she is so much trouble. We are in the process of having her diagnosed with RAD, her bio, and way of relating to us, show us she has RAD, we don't know how severe yet. She has improved in time, and lets us hold her comfortably. We have some eye contact. She just keeps playing these games to stay in control. To her, it is death to let us have very much control; she is very self-parenting and bossy. We did the RADQ Questionnaire, and sent it to a treatment center in Evergreen, Colorado, their staff psychologist said, that she was showing signs of RAD. it will be nice to have that diagnosis in writing. So here we are...

This story was written in Aug 1998, Claire is 5 years old now, and she has been officially diagnosed with moderate RAD and we are seeing an Attachment Therapist; we have seen some progress and have hope that someday her heart can be healed.
New Update
It is now Feb. 2001
There have been many changes in Claire's life and Ours, We finalized her adoption December 13th, 2000 after 2 long years of Attachment Therapy, CranioSacral Therapy and EMDR and finally Meds.

After one year of attachment therapy and seeing little change in Claire, we were ready to give up and give her back to the adoption agency. She just didn't want to work on her life and be apart of ours - she was too hurt. We decided to give Meds a try, and Claire was put on Buspar to help her with Anxiety. We saw dramatic results with that, and it seemed she calmed down, to let all the things we had been trying to tell her with Attachment Holding Therapy, to sink into her heart. Then after a few months, we saw that she needed something else to help her, and we tried the drug Risperdal. That has been our Wonder drug; Claire's brain really needed that drug, to help her think and comprehend all that we were telling her, and showing her, with our love and commitment, holding therapy, Nancy Thomas Parenting etc., in helping her heal her heart. I also was so run down emotionally, with all the behaviors that Claire was doing, so I went on the anti depressant Prozac. That helped me a lot in how I felt and dealt with the 24/7 RAD behaviors, we also had a great Respite Mom that helped us, and that also had a great effect on Claire.

There is hope, you just have to find all the right puzzle pieces that are missing, we are still working on those pieces, but Claire is Attached to us now, and is healing. I can say now, that I Love My Daughter. I almost hated her when we started Attachment Therapy, what I didn't realize was that I didn't hate her, but her behaviors. It is great to have an Attachment Therapist that understands the Angry Parents and everything we all go through parenting these children.

Also Claire, is very healthy at this time with her Cystic Fibrosis, she has gained 32 pounds in 2 1/2 years, She has gained in height too. She looks like a normal healthy 7-year-old. Her lungs are also clear and healthy so far.

I hope my story, can help give you some hope, when 3 1/2 years ago, when I started this journey, I wondered is there any hope for us to ever be a family? or will I ever love this child with RAD? We still have a ways to go in healing, but Claire is attached to us and we to her.


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