“RAD and developmental trauma are issues found frequently in children adopted from abusive/neglectful situations both in foster care and international orphanages,” said Julie Beem, executive director of ATN. She knows the impact of RAD through personal experience.
In 1998, she and her husband, David, adopted their youngest daughter, Libby, from China. The couple had three biological children, and Beem noticed developmental, emotional and behavioral differences in Libby.
Professionals suggested that the trauma and attachment might be related. “We started looking for answers,” she said.
Beem researched online, but little information was available. She happened upon a group of adoptive mothers sharing information and became involved in 2004. From this grassroots effort, ATN grew.
Because attachment is the basis of building any relationship, according to Beem, the work of ATN is paramount in the lives of children affected with RAD. “(ATN) is important because it sheds light into the struggles that traumatized and abused and neglected children can have. Not all adopted children have RAD, but the ones that do have great challenges and present challenges to their families to figure out how to heal their wounds and how to attach and how to love.”
She said, “We hope the movie will shed light on the disorder and the struggles families have and the services and resources and things they need to get to that healing point.”
Anywhere from 15 to 45 percent of children adopted out of foster care or internationally have issues that need to be addressed in a therapeutic way, according to Beem. “These children are in our community and in our homes, in our schools and a lot of times people don’t recognize what’s going on,” she said.
The movie will educate people on the needs of families as well as how to help these children become productive citizens. Through resources of ATN, Libby has successfully attached to the Beem family.
Following both the gala viewing at 1 p.m. and the evening premiere at 6 p.m. will be a Q&A session with author and executive producer Jane Ryan along with the director and others. The ticket price, $15, also includes access to a resource expo, showcasing local professionals who work with traumatized children and their families. The movie’s companion documentary that includes interviews of parents of traumatized children will be shown during the expo.
To learn more, visit www.attachtrauma.org and www.theboardermovie.com. To purchase tickets, visit www.earlsmithstrand.org.