To Her Teacher

Dear Miss Stacey, 

You have hit the jackpot. I say this without sarcasm or irony. My daughter is every teacher’s dream.

At times, she will hang on your every word. She will work to keep her classmates in line. Will absolutely follow every directive and do everything you ask with a smile on her face. If you need extra help in the classroom, she’s your girl. She will do everything in her power to ensure you see her as the sweetest, brightest, most charming child.

And for the most part, she is that child.

At school. 

When I tell you she refused to do her homework, you’ll eye me with suspicion.

When I describe how she pretends not to understand simple math calculations, it will sound like delusion. Especially after you watched her complete the work easily with you.

When I explain that we’re late to school because she intentionally poured a cup of water down the front of her outfit just before leaving the house, you’ll assume I’m crazy. 

Her charming, adorable—angelic, really—demeanor will belie every detail of any stories I might share with you.

But I’m not making it up.

In the beginning, she truly will be your ideal, perfect student. This may last well past Christmas if you’re lucky.

Once the school honeymoon has worn off and she begins to recognize you as an authority figure, you will likely begin experiencing RAD.

This doesn’t mean you won’t still enjoy her. Her third and fourth grade teacher (she looped with the class) absolutely loved her. But she was fully informed about the RAD symptoms and messaged or talked with me several times a week.

Last year, RAD manifested in the following ways: 

  • Wandering into class late or at the last minute (even though she was dropped off on time)

  • Taking excessive time to get organized

  • Obsessive playing with items in her desk instead of doing her work

  • Dropping pencils or other materials

  • Multiple bathroom trips

  • Difficulty getting along with peers in more than surface interaction

  • Bossing or controlling other children (she’ll call it “helping” them)

  • Not reading or following the directions on assignments

  • Ignoring, daydreaming, “zoning out” during teaching

  • Sitting by herself and “looking sad” to get other kids to ask her what’s wrong (at which time she regales them with stories of her past and of being adopted)

    These may sound like “regular kid” issues but are actually her bid to control her life…and your classroom.


A prime example of her determination to have control: she decided she “won’t” be good at math. Her refusal to learn endangered her ability to graduate 4th grade. We’re still dealing with this.


She’s willing to crash and burn

in order to live life on her own terms. 


(RAD kids) are in a constant battle for control of their environment and seek that control however they can, even in totally meaningless situations.  If they are in control they feel safe.

If they are loved and protected by an adult they are convinced they are going to be hurt because they never learned to trust adults, adult judgment or to develop any of what you know as normal feelings of acceptance, safety and warmth.  Their speech patterns are often unusual and may involve talking out of turn, talking constantly, talking nonsense, humming, singsong, asking unanswerable or obvious questions.

They have one pace – theirs. No amount of “hurry up everyone is waiting on you” will work – they must be in control and you have just told them they are… Need the child to dress and line up, the child may scatter papers, drop clothing, fail to locate gloves, wander around the room – anything to slow the process and control it further.  Five minutes later the child may be kissing your hand or stroking your cheek for you with absolutely no sense of having caused the mayhem that ensues from his actions.

-Arthur Becker-Weidman, PhD
Center For Family Development
(c) all rights reserved

Our girl is a beautiful, bright kid. She has the potential to do anything she wants in life.

Right now, what she wants is control.

We want her to have some control but she needs to learn she can’t control the people around her in negative ways. 

We are working with a therapist to help her resolve her issues. She’s made slow progress in the five years with us. She may try to discuss this with you or other students in order to garner sympathy. If that happens, please remind her she can talk with us or her counselor but may not share life details at school.

A couple years ago, she convinced a teacher we were mistreating her and Social Services paid us a visit because the teacher called. If she says anything concerning, please ask the principal to call her counselor. School administration is aware of her situation.

Please don’t try to counsel her yourself; if you have any concerns (or if you see the behaviors listed above) please text or call me as soon as is convenient. I will be happy to work with you to find creative solutions. 

Our goal is to show her that adults can be trusted to protect and care for her. We appreciate your understanding and willingness to work with us. It’s not easy.

Trying to help her develop trust is exhausting.

Someday, though, she’ll graduate. She’ll be a healthy, happy adult. She will succeed. 

And you’ll be one of the people we thank.





About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'm determined to give my kids the chance they deserve. Adoption isn't always easy. I promise, you're not alone in this. Join me at - we're in this together.

Posted on September 4, 2016, in Adoption and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I have never heard of this.As a parent, I appreciate the desire to learn as much as you can, and educate other figures in her life on it.


  2. Love this! I reblogged it. Seriously, you and I could BE each other, your kiddo could BE my Middle, and I’m not sure anyone would notice XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the reblog! You aren’t kidding! I met another one of our doppelganger duplicates on vacation; hers is a little older than ours. Although I wouldn’t wish RAD on any child (or parent), sometimes it’s nice to know we aren’t alone! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Trauma Mama Drama and commented:
    This blogger and I share so many of the same struggles.

    My Middle so convincingly pretended she couldn’t recognize letters and numbers that she failed kindergarten on her first attempt. Meanwhile, at home, on her own (but NEVER during homework time), she could magically read words like “beautiful” and “father” on first sight.

    The teachers didn’t believe us until the end of the year, and by then… It was too late for her to progress onto the first grade.

    Holding her back a year actually turned out to be a wonderful thing – since she already knew the kindergarten teachings she excelled and gained a TON of confidence at school. She’s now in the advanced academic tract at her magnet school and will be tested for the gifted program.

    But… she could have done that on her first go if her mind had been healthy enough to allow her to shine at school back in 2013-14.

    Enjoy this read by Casey. It’s a perfect explanation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow… those are issues that are not easy to deal with. Especially as a parent. I admire you for all you do. For the support, guidance and love you give your children. For this letter…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How wonderful…also, ‘Anne of Green Gables’ is one of my favorite movies 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Casey,

    Just like with my son, I verbally brief the teachers about my daughter on the first day of school.

    I tell them that both my wife and I like to be in control. Natalie got a double dose of control. . She may act like her Mom all sweet and innocent. But what makes her dangerous she got my personality and her Mom’s intelligence. She is the perfect destructive machine, She is dangerous and never to be trusted.

    So far the sweetness has won out but one day, I will be right about her because she is my child.



  7. Once again you nailed it! A beautiful letter to her teacher! Truly hope the teachers appreciate the gifts they have received this year in having your daughter and son in their classrooms. And yes how you ended it makes it all worth it!
    I also LOVED Anne of Green Gables 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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