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Children with RAD, “Mom Shopping”

It just hurts! When a child approaches a strange woman and bats their eyes while oozing with cuteness  then tell her how beautiful she is, what

cute shoes she has, and how she has all the right groceries. Then they throw the big one “Can I go home with you and live forever?” It breaks the real Mom‘s heart. She loves them and feeds and care for them, and they go to a complete stranger and want to trade her in!  Out with the old in with the new.  It hurts!

The current mom is often feeling like “Why am I not good enough? Why doesn’t my child love me? How dare they just trade me in for a complete stranger after all have done!” The pain is deep. It can cut to the core.

Why Do They Do it?

What is a child thinking and feeling when they are doing this behavior? They’re not “thinking”! They are not in the conscious part of their brain. It is all subconscious processing that causes this. But why!?

I figured it out one day. My dog, Elan, was drawn to four different children in one day that she wanted to be with so much that she pulled me toward them over and over. Each one of the children had abused or killed animals in their past. There were other children to play with.  I did not understand why this highly trained therapy dog would do something so dumb! My friend overheard me when I grumbled, “I thought my dog was so smart”.  She replied, “Well, haven’t you heard the adage ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? A lightbulb went off! That was the moment I understood what “mom shopping” is!

Our adopted children have been abandoned and rejected very early. Their deepest wounds, their rawest spot, is that abandonment and rejection by the birth mother. Every woman has the potential to become their mother and rip their heart out, causing them (but once again) the greatest pain they have ever endured.

 So, they butter up to them. They come alongside them to become a friend to keep from being hurt. “Be my best friend so you won’t hurt me. See! I’m your pal! Don’t hurt me! Don’t hurt me!! That’s what mom shopping is. If you really take a look at it, they don’t want to trade in the mom that they have, they just don’t want to get hurt by any mom ever again.

The saddest part of this behavior is that it shows us the child has not attached. They have not learned to trust their real mother yet. We have work to do! They can heal but, we have to help them get there without getting our hearts ripped out. YOUR heart is your child’s heart medicine! Take care of it!

Keep your sunny side up!

Nancy Thomas

 

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