Ever hear of Attachment Disorder?
According to WikipediA: Attachment disorder is a broad term intended to describe the disorders of mood, behavior, and social relationships arising from a failure to form normal attachments to primary care giving figures in early childhood, resulting in problematic social expectations and behaviors. Such a failure would result from unusual early experiences of neglect, abuse, abrupt separation from caregivers after about 6 months of age but before about three years of age, frequent change of caregivers or excessive numbers of caregivers, or lack of caregiver responsiveness to child communicative efforts. A problematic history of social relationships occurring after about age three may be distressing to a child, but does not result in attachment disorder.
Now that’s ‘textbook’.
In the documentary film, My Name is Faith, which screened on April 13th, 2013 at the Sarasota Film Festival, we saw the struggles of a real child, and we watched as a young couple adopted her and her younger brother, giving everything they had toward raising these children.
Directed by Jason Banker, Tiffany Sudela Junker, and Jorge Torres-Torres, My Name is Faith is a powerful and moving look at one family dealing with Reactive Attachment Disorder. The actor Adrian Grenier, best known from the HBO series Entourage, is the film’s Executive Producer.
We’re going to take this child into our home, and we’re going to rescue them.
Faith, formerly Brianna, was born into a home that was more of a meth-lab than an actual home. Her birth mother was a drug addict, and Faith and her younger brother slept only a few feet from a known sexual offender. Ultimately, these children were removed from this abuse and neglect by CPS (Child Protective Services) and placed into a foster home. Later, the Junkers entered the story and adopted these children.
The Junkers not only took ‘Faith’ into their home, they are also the parents in the film.
Tiffany Sudela Junker has stated: I never set out to produce and direct a film. As a mother, I just wanted to tell Faith’s story and make people aware of what so many families are going through.This film is my effort to honor my daughter’s hard work to overcome pain. It’s a way to pay homage to every person that has had to work hard to overcome a traumatic experience.
It’s not our fault, what happened to our children, before they became our children, at all.
And isn’t that just the surface of what is at stake with any child who has either experienced this, or is still trying to overcome this experience. The road to recovery is not easy, and when the Junkers were out of ideas and nearly out of hope, it was suggested that they seek out the help of Nancy Thomas who ran a therapeutic camp for children with Attachment Disorders AND their parents.
Some have said that the Thomas Camp was/is controversial. That the techniques of tough love, restraints, and discipline are not always ideal. But the Junkers found a community. They discovered that they were not alone in having to deal with this problem. And they also discovered that the techniques employed at the Nancy Thomas camp worked.
But within a day, yes, within a single day of leaving the camp. All the gains they thought they had made, evaporated. The child reverted back to her seriously problematic behaviors. But the Junkers didn’t quit. They just found even more dedication within themselves and worked even harder.
Just because a child has a past doesn’t mean they’re broken forever. They can heal from it.
So yes, this film does have light and sunshine at the end of the tunnel. Faith and her brother have bonded with the Junkers. They’ve grown and they continue to heal and respond favorably to the support system in place for them.
The film definitely is an experience that is both daunting and rewarding to the viewer. The power of the story itself is supreme, yet I must mention that the film-making itself could have been better. The story didn’t need the bells and whistles of montages, slow motion interludes, and musical clues to engage the viewers. But having said that, these were only distractions, and they could not really detract from the overall effect of the story itself.