This is easily among the most difficult and painful decisions I’ve ever had to make…..

This is easily among the most difficult and painful decisions I’ve ever had to make…..

I had two phone conversations over the last 24 hours with both of Gavin’s case managers with his insurance.  He has one for his physical health and one for his mental health.

We are getting the ball rolling in the next and likely final stage in our journey with Gavin.

As you may or may not be aware, Gavin’s officially diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder.  However, if he were 18 years old today, he would be diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder or in layman’s terms, he’d be called a Sociopath. 


We’ve tried everything over the past decade to help him but nothing has helped.

As his behaviors have gotten more and more difficult to manage, we are left with only 4 options.  I’ll share the options and explain the feasibility of each.

1) We do nothing

The first option is that we could do nothing and simply continue on with the status quo.  This is a terrible option and one that lead to the destruction odd or family.

Anyone familiar with living in the same house as someone with Reactive Attachment Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder will understand exactly why this option is the absolute worst thing we could do…

Moving on….

2) Residential Treatment

This is the absolute best option because it gives Gavin the best chance at making the changes needed for him to maintain some type of relationship with his family and the world around him. 

The truth is that Gavin is broken in a way that cannot be fixed. No amount of love with make him better.  Trust me, we’ve loved him to hell and back.

Love isn’t the issue.

The major obstacle here is funding.  Insurance will cover all medical expenses associated with residential treatment but it won’t cover things like food or room and board. That leaves us with $800 per day of out of pocket expenses. Considering that our financial situation couldn’t cover that on our very best year, we have to seek outside funding and that’s an almost impossible task. 

We’ve tried several times now to get funding for this but to no avail.

3) Place him in a group home

This is another ideal situation because it places him into a situation that lacks the social expectations of living within the family unit at home.  He does so much better when those expectations are removed.
Unfortunately, we face a very long wait list for this type of housing for him. He’s already on a wait list to fund type of solution but the wait list can be upwards of a decade.

4) Foster Care or Parallel Parenting

The only other option is to do some type of emergency foster placement.  Again, this would work because it removes the social expectations that are present when living at home with us. 

I’m not sure the feasibility of something like this because it’s not something we have much information on. 

Sending him to stay with family is not an option…..

Making a very, very difficult decision

Lizze and myself, along with his specialists, will have to sit down and figure out what the best approach will be. 

The only way I can describe this is absolutely heartbreaking. This is easily among the most difficult and painful decisions I’ve ever had to make…..

This site is managed almost exclusively from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Please forgive any typos as auto-correct HATES me. 😉

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Mom of three

Do you have a Medicaid Waiver? They have long wait lists but if it’s an emergency, I think you can move up the list. That would give you funding for in home services- an aide, or placement in a group home or ICF-MR. WE went through our FAPT team and got him placed and funded for 15 months in residential treatment. Eventually money ran out, but he does well with his in home services.

Lost and Tired

That’s awesome. Unfortunately, we had a waiver until DD lost funding. There is a huge waiting list right now

Val Cross

You are all in my thoughts and prayers, I hope you find solutions that work for each of you. I’m curious, why would you say there are not social expectations in foster care? There are typically other children in foster homes and I wonder Gavin would do with them?

Lost and Tired

It’s the family dynamic that he doesn’t do well in. When he’s at someone else’s home, it’s more like he’s in a public place. I’m not sure how else to describe this. I’ll ask Dr. Pattie when I see her. 🙂

Christy Garrett

I couldn’t imagine having to make the decisions. You are very strong and I hope that you can figure out the best option for Gavin and your family.

Why Not Fathers

My friend. My heart aches for you and your family. I understand completely what you are going through, and the decisions that you will have to make. I am here if you need or want to talk about it.

Placing a child out of the home for care is a last resort. Until you experience RAD, you can’t know how hard the decision is to love them enough to let them go.

Marc is still our son, but having him at home is definitely not an option. Our whole family dynamic has changed with his placement in the PRTF care facility. We are still very much involved in his care, as well as family therapy weekly. By all accounts, he is doing well there.

I am working on a book about our life with RAD.

Lost and Tired

thanks Carl. 🙂

Jen Lee

Just going to say I’m here in spirit and support you and Lizzie no judgments, I know whatever you decide to do you do after second guessing and questioning yourselves at great length. huge hugs my friend.

Lost and Tired

Thank you


Thinking outside the box, what if Lizze and your mom switched places for the summer? You’d have another set of able hands in your house, which might change the dynamic a lot, and Lizze would get away from Gavin without him losing his family. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. (I don’t know your mother of course, but Gavin seemed fine with them before, and grandparents are the only other people, usually, to be super invested in kids’ outcomes. Surely that’s a better option than sending Gavin to a stranger’s house for foster care.) Does this option ever come up?

I know you feel as if you are putting out fires, and it sounds like just an awful situation to be in. My heart goes out to you, and I hope you find something that works.

Lost and Tired

Unfortunately, my Mom has similar health issues…


I can relate to whats happening. My daughter went into a group setting when she was 17. Its not easy and it is heartbreaking but there is a way to look at this to maybe make it feel less drastic… kids grow up and kids move out. After much thought and many tears, thats the way I looked at it.
Perhaps what helped me though is that I had worked in group homes with dual diagnosed adults and I knew how much we (staff) truly did love and care for each and every person there. We cheered we cried but we lived with them depending on schedules 3 or 4 days and it was alot like a family. I had also worked in the school system with dual diagnosed kids/teens and knew what it was like there.
You cant beat yourself up over this…. get the bal rolling and give Gavin his next step in his life. That’s what this is, is a step, Gavin has alot of steps to get where he needs to be.

Whatever you decide I wish you the best, Sometimes loving someone means making hard decisions this is one of those of those times .

Lost and Tired

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I really appreciate it. I hope your daughter is doing well. 🙂

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