In case you haven’t heard, one of the most popular ways to get involved in the National Attachment Trauma Awareness (NATA) Day is to host or attend a Viewing Party. The NATA Day partners have made four films available for hosts to show, completely free of charge, to their friends, families and community. Details about how to sign up to host are available on the NATA Day website.
These films all share the subject matter of early childhood trauma and the resultant attachment and behavioral problems. Three are documentaries and one a dramatization composite based on real children and families. Each film is powerful, provocative and brave. And like traumatized children, no two films are alike.
ATN is very excited about the ability to offer these four high quality movies. All of them are award-winning productions, and the people involved in their creation are passionate about helping children and families. They truly do cover the “spectrum” that is Attachment Trauma.
In The Dark Matter of Love, we meet the Diaz family as they prepare to head to Russia to expand their family by three — adopting a pre-teen daughter and two younger sons from orphanages. The Diazes let us follow their journey and even meet pre-adoptively with Dr. Robert Marvin of the Mary Ainsworth Clinic in Virginia. Dr. Marvin consults with the family for the next several months as the children, their parents and their new older sister adjust and work through the trauma, grief and loss present in children from “hard places”. The film describes the neuroscience behind attachment theory and the impact of trauma on children’s early development. And it shows the struggles of each family member, along with the hopes and glimpses of joy as this family begins to bond.
My Name is Faith. Thirteen-year-old Faith struggles with PTSD and RAD from her early beginnings of being raised in a meth lab. This documentary bravely chronicles the Junker family’s trip to a therapeutic parenting camp as well as other events as Faith and her family work hard to build trust and confront the past to work toward healing her heart and her ability to build healthy relationships. Brave is the best word to describe this film — Faith’s bravery and self-reflection are inspiring, even in the midst of her incredible struggles. The film also gives glimpses into a variety of struggles through the other children at camp. These children’s struggles can be very difficult to watch, so this film is not recommended for children under 13 or for traumatized children who might be triggered by viewing others.
The Boarder. What happens when a typical middle class family (two kids and a dog) in a Midwestern suburb adopt an 11-year-old with a traumatic past? The Boarder depicts the various challenges this family faces as an example of the struggles that are common among adoptive families of traumatized children. As Carl’s new mother tries harder and harder to make a connection with him, we see the survival behaviors and struggles he faces and the devastating impact these behaviors can have on families, marriages and the community when everyone is unaware. Is there hope for this family? (You’ll have to watch to find out.)
Once Upon a Mountain. Jasper Mountain is the “last resort” for many violent and aggressive children who have been victims of severe abuse and neglect. This documentary takes us inside an incredible place — in a setting that truly doesn’t look like the “last resort” –one where early childhood trauma is deeply understood and where hope springs eternal. There you will meet Dr. Dave Zeigler and his dedicated staff, who for the last 30 years have been actively teaching these children how to trust, bond and trade their survival need for control in for self-determination that gives them a future. The devotion of these people to heal these children emotionally and spiritually is beyond inspiring! Learn what makes this residential treatment program different and meet a graduate of the program and learn what Jasper Mountain meant to his life.