Chances are that you know at least one person that has been adopted. It is no secret that I myself was adopted into a family were all of us but one was adopted. I need to be honest, when I was asked to read Rescuing Julia Twice A Mother’s Tale of Russian Adoption and Overcoming Reactive Attachment Disorder written by Tina Traster I was hesitant. I was put up for adoption as a baby, and was in way too many homes and one was horrible. I don’t want to go into detail, but I wouldn’t wish what I went through, on any child. Julia’s story It’s not the same as mine, but some areas I can relate to. For that reason I choose to read it.
To sum the book up in a sentence or two would be simply saying that it’s about parents adopting a child from a Russian Orphanage and learning to adapt to the struggles with comes with it. That sums it up briefly, but there is so much to the story.
Tina and her husband had wanted to adopt a baby since they weren’t able to have one of their own naturally and chose to do an international adoption. They went to Russia twice, per the adoption rules of that country. When she first saw her daughter and held her she didn’t feel that moment of maternal instinct that moms say they have. I think what Tina felt is more normal than we know. I think that the moms that don’t feel that instant connection just don’t talk about it because they may be ashamed. They shouldn’t be a shamed at all, it’s a natural feeling.
After bringing Julia home with them they noticed that she wasn’t connecting with Tina and her husband, or her nanny. Julia also didn’t connect to kids at school or teachers. Then Tina remembered someone talking about Reactive Attachment Disorder.
What is Reactive Attachment Disorder also known as RAD? TheMayo Clinic says this:
“Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don't establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers.
A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused or orphaned. Reactive attachment disorder develops because the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met and loving, caring attachments with others are never established. This may permanently change the child's growing brain, hurting the ability to establish future relationships.
Reactive attachment disorder is a lifelong condition, but with treatment children can develop more stable and healthy relationships with caregivers and others. Safe and proven treatments for reactive attachment disorder include psychological counseling and parent or caregiver education.”
After reading up on it, things made sense. Now that they had an idea on what was going on, they could help Julia. They could make a plan. The entire book was very well written, and in a lot of detail. I could really feel the emotion that Tina had while writing it.
“At this point adopting a baby still seemed theoretical, conceptual- something that would happen down the road. Soon after the call, we received a grainy video of a baby being coaxed to smile and crawl for the camera. She wore a diaper. She had the palest skin I’d ever seen and eyes as dark as a tree hollow. She was a piece of merchandise for sale, an object held before the camera to be marketed. I cried hard- for her abandonment, my disappointments, the way circumstance unites a mother and child.” I remember my mom talking about how Social Services told them about me and about how other kids are in a book with pictures and descriptions of them. Thinking of a baby being marketed makes me so sad. I know not every baby or child will be rescued with a great adoptive family, but I can hope and pray that when one does get out of “the system” they go to a great and loving family.
I am so glad that I read this story. I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Who knows, maybe I was meant to read this story in my life, so I could learn a little about me. It’s really funny how life works.
I also think that it’s a little funny, that I am writing this on Mother’s Day. That could also be why this hits home a little more. I think that any parent should read this book, especially if you are looking into adoption. Just because Tina and Julia’s story was that of an international adoption, RAD can happen with domestic adoptions as well.
If we try to understand kids when they are infants, I think we can make more of an impact on the rest of their lives.
I personally want to thank Tina Traster for writing this poignant story. It takes a very brave person to admit that their life isn’t perfect, and it takes an even braver person to admit that to the entire world.