Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Attachment Disorder.  I bet you've never heard of it.  Not many have, but for those who have children with Attachment Disorder, they realize what a devastating effect it can have not only on the immediate family but possibly dire consequences to those around them.  Typically, these children have been adopted into wonderfully loving homes as was the case with Faith. Sometimes, however, love just isn't enough.

Tiffany and Jay adopted Faith and her little brother, Jonah.  Both children had been neglected and living in a crystal methamphetamine lab.  The children were basically left to raise themselves.   Jay and Tiffany had no idea what lay ahead after adopting these children.  Every adoptive parent wants to save a child and give them everything.  But as the movie shows in a beautifully flowing narrative, that was not an easy task.   What happens when that child can't accept what the parent has and wants to give, but most definitely cannot give it back.  That's an attachment disorder.  Faith could be the poster child for Attachement Disorder.

The story centered on Faith who by appearances looked  like a typical elementary school kid.  But she wasn't.  Faith terrorized her parents with actions such as lightly dragging a knife along her mother's body while she slept.  Faith's outburst were extremely violent and aggressive toward others.  When asked about her feelings when she did violent things, her replies were void of feeling or any emotion at all.   Faith's answers  were  flat toned stating  "I want to scare her," and descriptions of killing animals were absolutely chilling.  Faith's story isn't unique.  The documentary punctuated the reality of Faith's story as well as interviews from other children and their parents.  

We watched as both Tiffany and Jay struggled on a daily basis with Faith's actions. Faith's parents were candid about their feeling of frustration and at times,  their hopelessness.  Faith was continually interviewed by way of a conversation throughout the film.  She communicated her thoughts and feelings in a much more mature way than you would expect a 7 or 8 year old to do.  She was obviously very bright, but being bright and void of feeling resulted in a very scary situation.  Regular therapy wasn't enough.  You could see and sense the fear in both parents' faces as they wanted nothing more than to give and receive love from this child.  They needed more help.

Help came in the form of a camp.  This was not a typical camp.  It was a week long, intensive therapy camp inclusive of the parents.  Faith and her family were not alone.  There were many other children who have been adopted or bounced from foster home to foster home that were experiencing the same disorder of attachment.  In fact, 10 million children are orphaned or abandoned.  These children, according to Nancy Thomas who ran the camp, were the children who had the potential to become a child who killed for fun.  Frequently, these children readily shared stories of doing just that with animals or wanting to do harm to others.  These kids were broken, but broken doesn't mean not repairable.  The camp, in just one week, began the healing process necessary to have a normal life for Faith and her parents.  Every parent and each child had a story to tell.  The parents' stories were heart breaking and the children's stories were disturbing.
MY NAME IS FAITH was an emotional roller coaster ride as we learned more heart-wrenching information about Faith and her background.  We also saw how not only Faith's parents struggled but also so many other children's parents.  The entire family is affected by Attachment Disorder.  We watched as the parents learned ways to help their children heal.  Broken does not mean the child cannot be repaired.

I don't want to give away the entire movie, but I want to you know that MY NAME IS FAITH is a story of hope.  Not just hope for one little girl, but for so many children who may not have been identified with this disorder.  The story was told in a way of not only educating its viewers, but enabling us to have sympathy and understanding of Faith and her parents.  Every child deserves to have a future.  Every child deserves to grow up feeling loved and needed.  Those with Attachment Disorder, unless helped, will never have that.  Those basic needs can possibly lead to detrimental consequences.  Hurting others and lashing out is one possible consequence.  This is not a unique issue.  This possibly affects hundreds of thousands of children across the nation.  MY NAME IS FAITH gives awareness and hope to families which in turn may make not just life for their immediate family better, but maybe safer for everyone.

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