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About Us

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Our Story

It all began with a mom, Googling. Amy VanTine desperately needed help for her adopted daughter with reactive attachment disorder (RAD). Her daughter wasn’t getting the help she needed to address the effects of early abuse and neglect—the root cause of her disorder.

 

Yet, Amy’s Google search only showed more of the same unhelpful information she’d come across before. From various therapies to multiple parenting techniques, she had tried it all. Meanwhile, Amy's daughter was getting more sick and the family was falling apart. The impact of her daughter’s early trauma severely impacted everyone in the home.

 

Just as Amy began to give up all hope, however, she found another mom online dealing with the same struggles with her adopted child. And then another. It just so happened that both of the women lived in her same small Colorado town. 

 

Amy wasn't alone anymore.

 

In fact, Amy continued to find more parents online. She happened upon hundreds of people, whether stepparents, grandparents or otherwise from all over the world struggling to raise kids with RAD. Just like Amy, they were dismissed by therapists, friends, family, and educators—everyone they turned to for help. Instead of finding support for their families, they were unjustly blamed and shamed for “poor parenting”.

 

Amy and the other moms she met felt compelled to do something. Parents of children with RAD needed a voice. And the people around them needed education about the disorder to better support their families. So three moms started RAD Advocates in 2017.

 

RAD Advocates is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, run mostly by volunteers. We've spent hundreds of hours, whether from the road on hotel room phones or at community events, empathizing with and advising other parents in crisis day and night since we began. We've educated graduate students at Metropolitan State University about RAD, shared our personal parenting stories with clinicians at the Mayo Clinic, and lobbied for legislation to protect families. 

 

And we've only just begun. Please, join us.

We believe that every parent has the right to raise a healthy and safe family. Some, like those raising kids with RAD, need far more support than others to do so. That's why we're here.

Our Mission

Our Mission

RAD Advocates educates and advocates to equip families, communities, and professionals to effectively support children with reactive attachment disorder.

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Our Staff

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Amy VanTine

Advocate|Chief Executive Officer

Amy founded RAD Advocates after facing the challenges of parenting a child with RAD. She understands the needs of RAD Advocates clients first-hand, as well as how to effectively and efficiently bring a family plan to fruition. Amy’s experiences, combined with her empathy, resourcefulness, and professionalism have made RAD Advocates a front-runner in bringing awareness and change regarding the disorder. Amy’s long-term goal is to create a nationwide shift in helping families of children with RAD.

 

Heather Houze

Advocate|Chief Operating Officer

After reaching out to RAD Advocates for help in seeking proper treatment for her own adopted children, Heather initially joined the RAD Advocates volunteer team. Heather’s compassion, empathy, and organizational skills proved invaluable, however, and quickly evolved into a leadership role with the organization. Before joining RAD Advocates, Heather spent 25 years of her career in administrative management and 15 of those years as a small business owner.

Our Board

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David Eplion, Board Chair

David and his wife Cherie, adopted biological siblings later diagnosed with severe reactive attachment disorder. They attended the first NavRAD experience in Denver, finding it to be the most helpful resource they had found. When their family was stabilized, David felt called to help other families struggling to raise children with RAD and joined the RAD Advocates Board of Directors. David has been a college professor for over 22 years, spending the last seven as the Dean of the School of Business  at Indiana University Southeast.

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Mike Bouchard

After adopting a child with reactive attachment disorder along with his wife and RAD Advocates founder Amy VanTine, Mike has a passion for the organization. He has been in the building industry for over 30 years with a background in operations, negotiation, purchasing, and inventory control. Mike has four children and lives with his wife in Colorado.

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James Brandon

James was drawn to the mission of RAD Advocates after learning about reactive attachment disorder from his close friend, and now fellow board member, Mike Bouchard. After learning about the parenting struggles Mike experienced with his adoptive child with RAD, James felt compelled to help other families. James has been in the banking/finance IT industry for 30 years.

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John Grotberg

John has many years of experience in raising, loving, and advocating for children with reactive attachment disorder. He has been in the aviation industry for 23 years. John resides in rural North Carolina with his wife Patty and their three sons.

Other Support

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Debi Banderman

Debi, mother of four children, sought help from RAD Advocates after struggling to find help for their adopted daughter with reactive attachment disorder. Through the organization's help, she found non-judgmental guidance and hope. She volunteers on the Navigating RAD event committee so that other parents can find the same support that her family did.

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Chris Prange-Morgan

Chris is an adoptive mom of two children, one of whom was diagnosed with RAD (among other conditions). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and a Master of Religious Studies from Cardinal Stritch University with a post-graduate certificate in pastoral counseling from Neumann University, and a Master of Social Work degree from Loyola University, Chicago.

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Ryan Brunner

Ryan serves as an Associate Professor of Psychology at Westminster College. He earned his PhD from the Ohio State University in social psychology and has taught psychology to undergraduates for over 20 years. He connected with RAD Advocates when searching for resources for his adopted son. He is interested in using his experience and expertise in higher education to advocate for increasing exposure to RAD and other attachment disorders to aspiring mental health professionals at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  

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Richard Choi

Richard is a former auto industry executive that now supports small businesses in underserved communities and non-profits as a business coach and consultant. His strong personal connection to RAD Advocates began when he and his wife Kim sought help for their children with attachment issues. Richard and family have lived in seven countries (and traveled to nearly forty), and currently based in the Detroit area. Richard has an MBA and enjoys cycling, guitar, and movies.

Educational Commitee

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Tracey Poffenroth-Prato

Tracey Poffenroth-Prato is a mom to children with reactive attachment disorder and a trauma-informed, certified life coach. She has worked in healthcare for over 20 years and has spent years researching and learning healing methods, modalities, and treatments. She is also the founder and host of RAD Talk with Tracey.

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Leslie Brunner

Leslie is a teacher with degrees in special education and school counseling.  She has over 20 years of experience working with children with diverse needs and recognizes the difficulties families face when raising a child with RAD.  She discovered RAD Advocates when searching for help for her adopted son.  Through formal and informal instructional training opportunities, she works to help educators learn to partner with the families of children with RAD. 

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Jennifer Collins

Like other volunteers of RAD Advocates, Jennifer first found the organization via their support membership program. Through RAD Advocates, Jennifer found support, education, and resources to navigate reactive attachment disorder for her children. She is now giving back her own time and life expertise to other parents. A busy, multi-talented, and curious person, Jennifer is a mom to five kids and three dogs, is certified in massage therapy and accounting, and is a sous chef.  

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Jenn Seivert

Jenn has been an instructional middle school coach for the past 10 years and a science, math, and gifted and talented teacher for an additional 10 years. She found RAD Advocates in a Google search of desperation after 16 years of struggling through RAD with her adopted daughter. She became a part of RAD Advocates to find strength from those also navigating the difficult journey and to educate others about the impact of raising a child with RAD and how to support everyone in the family.

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Katie Egbert

Founder of Foundational Connections, LLC, Katie is a child welfare expert and professional parent advocate with over a decade of professional and lived experience. She serves the greater Pacific Northwest and graciously volunteers her time as a parent advocate for RAD Advocates. Katie has a bachelor's degree in anthropology, a master's degree in human services, and a post-graduate certificate in contemporary family theory.

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Micaela Myers

Micaela adopted children from foster care in 2015. Since then, she has become an advocate for foster care reform and the support and education of adoptive parents. Micaela earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and works as a professional writer and editor. She volunteers her time, experience, and expertise consistently as a writer to support RAD Advocates' outreach and education efforts.

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Blaire Jamison

As owner and founder of Blaire's Social Media Management, Blaire has the expertise to reach audiences via social media and the heart to generously volunteer time to support the RAD Advocates' mission. Blaire has a graduate degree in human services and public safety and a working background in victim advocacy, legal, and human resource fields.

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Nichole Noonan

With a background in the nonprofit, education, and mental health sectors, Nichole founded Pen & Stick Communications to help noble organizations further their reach in the world via the fusion of communications strategy and content and copy writing. She has a niche in reactive attachment disorder and passionately supports the RAD Advocates mission. Nichole earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Education.  

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Crystalyn Johnson

Crystalyn, a volunteer advocate, is a former teacher and a special needs-foster-adoptive-biological-RAD mama to six children. Her passion is for people to understand not only reactive attachment disorder but also how the trauma brain works. Crystalyn has a bachelor’s degree in French and biochemistry and a master's degree in education. She is a lifelong book learner of all things brain and body with an emphasis on mental health.

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