We recently visited with my Dad and his wife. It was a somewhat difficult visit. I didn't really expect it to be easy. It is not easy to take three kids to stay with someone else for a week. It is not easy to keep those same kids entertained somewhere with very little to do and significantly less toys then they have at home. Additionally, this was the first time we were visiting with my Dad since Little Sister left. Like I said, it was a difficult trip. The one saving grace to it all was that my sister was there and I do have to say that I am so grateful to have her. I really am. If she had not been there I think it would have been absolutely miserable. And really, just in life, I am so grateful to have her. She is awesome and in ways she may not even realize she has supported me and shown me more love then anyone else through everything. I am truly grateful for her (not to imply I am not grateful for my brothers because I am but in this she has been a God send).
Anyway, the thing that my Dad's wife kept coming back to was that Little Sister was "only a child" and we "sent her away for being bad." Over and over she said that Big Brother must be afraid that if he does not behave we will send him away as well. That the girls will not worry about that because they are our "real" kids but since Big Brother is also adopted he must be afraid. Over and over again she said the phrase "sent her away for being bad."
It irked me. Quite a lot. The thing is first of all we DID NOT send her away for being bad. We did not. Yes, it is true that when RAD parents talk about they why of not being able to keep going we often list behaviors. Because behaviors are the only tangible thing. They are the thing that are supposed to help you, the outsider, get a glimpse of what our life is like. But it seems to backfire. People always tell us that this or that behavior is "typical" or "all kids do that" and no matter how hard we try to explain that no it really is different people don't hear it. But we did not "send her away" because of the behaviors. We gave her to a family that we thought could do better for her then we could. Period. It is that simple. We looked at the situation, evaluated everyone's needs and saw that this was the best option for everyone. That is what we did - we did not send her away for being bad. There are no bad kids - none. Kids are not bad. Kids like Little Sister need help. They need a lot of help and sometimes they cannot get it in certain family situations. She could not heal properly while being triggered by a sister six months older then her and a baby sister. She could not. That was not going to change. So, we had to change the situation.
And lastly my kids understand better then anyone else why we made this decision. They lived here. They saw how unhappy she was. They felt how that affected them. They saw and felt and witnessed and took part in and heard it all. They understand. My Dad's wife might not, my Dad might not, Hubby's parents might not, any amount of strangers might not, any amount of you reading this might not but my kids understand. They understand perfectly. They lived it. So, as the saying goes do not judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.