Reactive attachment disorder, or RAD, is a rare condition that renders young children incapable of making a connection with another person. It particularly affects adopted kids, which Eric Kinzel found out firsthand when he adopted his daughter Alani and eventually had to give up custody because of her dangerous behavior.
Alani and her older brother Julian came from a home where they were completely neglected by their mother. That type of environment is often a precursor to RAD, which stems from abandonment issues and causes destructive instincts, according to therapeutic parenting specialist Nancy Thomas.
"The reason they want to kill their mother especially, but both parents often, is to stop the love because love hurts," Thomas said. "They got their little hearts broken, and they don't want love because it may hurt them again."
Kinzel joined HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri on April 22 to share his painful story. His daughter was almost 4 when she was adopted, but even at that young age, Kinzel was floored by Alani's "level of manipulation" that allowed her to turn the people in her life against one another.
The family hit their limit when Alani used a knife to gouge out the eyes of everyone in a family portrait except for herself.
"The day we found that photograph with the eyes gouged out and we found the slice in her mattress with a steak knife slid inside the mattress, that day is the day I went out and purchased an alarm system specifically for her bedroom door," Kinzel said.
After exhausting every option for treatment over four years, the family made the excruciating decision to remove Alani from the home. But when they broke the news to Alani, her reaction was unlike anything Kinzel expected.
"She was excited. She was happy. She said, 'Hey, I'm going to get a new mom and dad,'" he recalled. "When my son [Alani's biological sibling] said to her, 'What about me? I've looked after you since you were born,' she just simply looked at him and said, 'Well, you're not my brother anymore.'"
See the full HuffPost Live conversation about reactive attachment disorder below.
Start here, with the latest stories and news in progressive parenting. Learn more