A woman who had always hoped to become a good mother to her child was shocked when the girl started avoiding her touch. It lasted for years, and over time she came to believe it was a terrible fault on her part.
Parenthood is a lot for many people to take on, but nevertheless, people yearn to become parents to kids that will come to love and respect them. The best kinds even strive to be friends with their kids, but sometimes, the opposite is what happens.
That’s precisely what Tina Traster and her husband had to deal with when they chose to adopt a young child named Julia. This is a story of how the little girl’s relationship with her parents evolved after being adopted.
A BLESSING… OR NOT
Before adopting, Ricky and Tina Traster had long dreamed of having their own kids. After a long time, they were blessed with the opportunity to adopt Julia, who had grown up in an orphanage in Siberia, Russia.
When they took her home in 2003, she had been eight months old, and it did not take long for the pair, who were both 40, to realize that something was amiss.
Tina had believed the child would instantly warm up to them as she got used to having parents but instead, the child was stoic.
She showed no emotions, refused to look her in the eye, and would not even let Tina hold her, instead preferring to sit by herself. Seemingly apathetic.
It shocked her adoptive mother, who started to think she was just a bad mom after facing Julia’s reaction several times. Describing it in her blog, the mom wrote:
“For a while, weeks, maybe months, I sank deeper and deeper into depression, thinking I’d made a terrible mistake. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a mother?”
JULIA’S WEIRD PECULIARITIES
Julia’s behavior remained the same for years and even seemed to worsen as she got older. As a baby, Tina revealed that Julia refused to sleep and when she was placed in her crib, rather than close her eyes, the girl would sit up then start rocking back and forth with a disturbing look in her eyes.
When the girl decides to sleep, Tina admitted that it was usually due to tiredness after staying up for as long as possible.
Her behavior was worse when they went strolling too, and according to her mom, the girl would always lean out of the stroller or rattle the bar to stay awake.
In the car, she would bang her head against her seat to keep from getting lulled into sleep by the vibrations of the vehicle, then suddenly, she would be gone, asleep like nothing had been happening up until then.
Her peculiarities kept making Tina doubt herself as a mother even as she wondered all the time if the child would ever grow to love her. Thankfully she had Rick by her side, and his patience with her made sure that their marriage did not fall apart due to what was going on with her child.
She would sleep for an hour and then wake up like a ghost had assaulted her in her dreams. Ricky believed the girl often finds herself back in her orphanage when she dreams, and when she wakes, she has no idea she is no longer in that place.
At best, it was a theory. In truth, Tina and Ricky did not know what to make of it until she started kindergarten.
Tina noticed that her daughter was always alone when she came to pick her up from school, and sometimes she would find the child hiding under a desk as if scared of something.
It pained Tina to see her child like that, and the urge to seek help grew stronger. One day, she took the little girl to a pediatrician to whom she reported her child’s unusual antics.
That was when she found out that it had nothing to do with her and that Julia was suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).
It is a rare but serious medical condition that develops in kids who enter foster care at an early age, and the symptoms were pronounced in little Julia. Children affected by this rare disorder cannot develop emotional ties to their parents.
The answer was clear: Julia had not been avoiding her adoptive mom because of something she did. She was doing that because she was suffering from the trauma of being neglected by her biological parents.
THEY REFUSED TO GIVE UP
Tina and her spouse refused to give up on Julia, especially since they had discovered why she was the way she was. They realized that dealing with a child like Julia required counter-intuitive parenting instincts, which baffled other parents.
They would laugh when she cried until she stopped and put on a poker face when she started acting up rather than comfort, which looked even more unusual to other parents with normal kids, but they knew it was the best thing to do.
They did everything within their power to understand what was going on with her and worked together with her daily to draw out her emotions and dispel her distrust of adults.
Kids like Julia need to get treated as soon as possible, and the Trasters had no trouble spending time coaxing out their little girl from behind the shell she was hiding. Tina wrote:
“She has let me become her mother. And I honor that trust by remembering, each and every day, how she struggles with subconscious demons and how mighty her battle is and will always be.”
Julia shed her insecurities as she got older, and her parents, who had been through so much for her sake, could not have been happier. The girl now plays the violin and is relaxed enough to make friends with the animals she meets.
The Trasters were able to help their daughter, and while it is easy to read words describing the pain they felt, nobody will ever honestly know what it was like before their daughter came to trust them.
There are plenty of stories about adoptive parents bonding quickly with their adoptive kids, which creates a false illusion among people looking to adopt. Some may think the child will get settled in easily, but sometimes, kids like Julia come along, shattering expectations.
In such cases, some parents may even return the child, claiming they are defective. However, if the Trasters have proven anything, it’s that a little bit of perseverance will go a long way.