Updated: Sep 19
The most shocking part about the book but, he spit in my coffee is that it's true, at least for those unfamiliar with reactive attachment disorder (RAD). In the reads-like-fiction memoir, author Keri Williams lifts the curtain on what everyday life looks like for many people raising children with the disorder.
"The lives of moms of children with RAD are unimaginable for those who haven't experienced it," Williams says. "I wrote this story to read like a novel to enable readers to experience for themselves the struggles and nuances of a family in crisis."
The memoir also exposes the dysfunctions of the child welfare and mental health systems and how they fail kids with reactive attachment disorder and their families—a nationwide problem of which very few people are aware.
For those raising children with the disorder, Keri's book can provide relief that someone understands them. Parents of kids with reactive attachment disorder often feel alone and misunderstood. They typically don't realize that other families share their experiences because so many parents are shamed and silenced from discussing it. Many people blame RAD parents, not the disorder itself, for the child's struggles. Williams hopes to help break the silence.
"My hope is that the community—therapists, doctors, mental health professionals, educators, and others—will gain a newly informed perspective to begin to rethink their assumptions about our families."
"The lives of moms of children with RAD are unimaginable for those who haven't experienced it," Williams says.
In a recent podcast, Williams spoke with Tracey Poffenroth-Prato, also a mom of a child with reactive attachment disorder, about the cathartic experience of writing her memoir over six years and what she learned along the way (listen to the episode here).
"I was very disillusioned with adoption and what I thought adoption was going to be. I was so disappointed with myself for not being able to be what I thought I could be," says Williams. "Ultimately, I realized that I was asked to be something I couldn't be and do something I couldn't do. I was asking myself to do something that was unfair. I think a lot of us do that as RAD moms."
Williams continues to share, through speaking events and her online presence, what she learned the hard way as a mom of a child with reactive attachment disorder. She will speak at the Navigating RAD 2023 event, to be held Oct. 13-15, 2023, in Missouri. There, Williams will present "Redefining Success as You Raise a Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder".
"I think that one of the ways we free ourselves is by resetting our expectations of ourselves," Williams says.
About the Author:
With a background in the nonprofit, education, and mental health sectors, Nichole Noonan founded Pen & Stick Communications to help organizations further their reach in the world via the fusion of communications strategy and copywriting. She has a particular niche in the area of reactive attachment disorder and passionately supports the RAD Advocates mission. Nichole earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Education.