Rescuing Julia Twice: A Mother’s Tale of Russian Adoption and Overcoming Reactive Attachment Disorder

Tina Traster. Chicago Review (IPG, dist.), $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61374-678-3
Journalist Traster knew that “something wasn’t right” when she and her husband adopted a six-month-old baby from a Siberian orphanage in 2003. The baby didn’t meet her gaze or respond to her parents’ loving embraces, though as she grew, teachers described her as exuberant and engaging. Even so, Traster noticed the difference between Julia and other children. The author eventually discovered that her daughter suffered from Reactive Attachment Disorder, an affliction that affects a portion of children who are abused, neglected, or orphaned. The symptoms, she explains, vary—some children with the disorder are violent, though Julia is not—but all are characterized by an inability to connect. As Traster examines her feelings of failure and guilt (unaware, at first, of Julia’s diagnosis), she yearns to find a way into the heart of her enigmatic child, as well as to experience the joy of motherhood. In this moving memoir, Traster exposes the “dark underbelly” of the Russian adoption system and provides parents facing this disorder with valuable insight and information, as well as sharing her experience of learning what it truly means to be a mother. Agent: Linda Konner, Linda Konner Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/07/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
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