Author: Kristen Richburg
Genre: Christian / Memoir
About: A mother and father with two children, who adopt a child from Thailand after a difficult second pregnancy, discover that adoption does not always have a happy ending.
Descriptive Words: Heartbreaking, emotional, abusive, attachment disorder, relinquish custody
Thoughts: What a sad story. I loved it. I'm weird that way. There's a reason I worked in Psychiatry for 15 years...it was fascinating.
This loving, educated couple - the mom had a degree in social work and the dad worked in special education - did everything they could to love their two-year-old adopted daughter Emma. For four years they tried to love her, not knowing that she was incapable of receiving that love because she was neglected and probably abused as a baby.
There were red flags from the beginning. When the Richburgs went to the foster family's house in Thailand to take Emma, neither she nor the family had any emotional response to the separation. The Richburgs thought she just needed time and lots of love, of which they had plenty to give. But love, and years of visits to therapists and other specialists in attachment disorders, couldn't break the barrier erected by the lack of bonding during the crucial developmental time between ages 6 months and two years. And it only got worse as time went on. At age 6, Emma began to vomit and to poop in her pants in defiance, after being potty-trained for years. She tried to strangle the family dog. She tortured her two siblings to the point that the Richburgs finally had had enough.
There was a news story recently where an adoptive mother returned a child to Russia after being unable to handle his behavior. Before anyone judges her - and let me say that it was wrong of her to put him on a plane by himself - do you know how difficult children with attachment disorders can be? While working in Psychiatry, I saw several children adopted from Russian orphanages who had attachment disorders, and although it's not the children's fault, obviously, it's extremely difficult to parent them. Pooping and smearing it on the walls was a common occurrence, as was torturing animals and other siblings.
The Richburgs did everything they could to help Emma, but at the expense of their entire family. The author's reluctance and heartbreak at coming to the decision to relinquish Emma is so apparent in the book. She felt like she was giving up on Emma, letting her down. But she also knew that her other two children's lives (yes, lives) and mental stability were at stake. This, along with Emma's nonchalant reaction to being turned over to her new family, reassured her that she was doing the right thing.
Source: This book was given to me by Arielle from Bring It On! Communications for my honest review; I was not compensated nor did receipt of the book reflect on my opinion in any way.
Why I Chose: How could I pass up a story like this?!
Book Nook Club
Books and Needlepoint
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Review: Disrupting Grace: A Story of Relinquishment and Healing
5 stars|adoption|attachment disorder|Memoir|relinquish custody|