My Name is Faith

My Name if FaithBy:  Julie Beem

Brave is the only way to describe this film.  My first brush with this bravery was in New Orleans over two years ago, where I met Tif Junker, Faith’s mom and attended a film festival where My Name is Faith was one of the featured contestants.  Although the audience was small in number and almost exclusively independent filmmakers, the impact of this documentary was huge.  The audience nearly exploded during the question and answer session with so many questions about Faith, the Junkers and how many other children are struggling with Attachment Trauma.

Since then I’ve seen the film so many times I could probably recite parts of it.  But each time, the film has moved the audience.  It is a powerful film, a disturbing story, and Faith is incredibly brave to share herself on the screen so that we all can learn just how intensely early childhood trauma can impact our children.  Desperately wanting to heal, Faith battles her challenges daily, and has profound insight into why she does what she does and what she needs to help in her healing.

But Faith isn’t the only brave one.  Her parents Tif and Jason Junker and little brother Jonah also open their lives.  The Junkers passionately pursued the making of this film and together with experienced filmmakers, Jason Banker and Jorge Torres-Torres, created a documentary that won the 2013 Audience Award at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City.

The first time I saw the film, I related to so much of it.  As the Executive Director of ATN, I talk with so many families that few stories impact me emotionally.  But this one definitely did.  And I  found myself actually sobbing at the couples scene, where during camp the parents were encouraged to re-connect as a couple.  Parenting children with Attachment Trauma can be so isolating and especially challenging on marriages, as both parents are often pouring every ounce of energy into their child/children with no access to opportunities for date nights or couple get-aways.  The challenge for so many of us is how to not let our children’s unhealthy attachment make our relationships with each other unhealthy.

The other families in the film are equally brave, to make the trek to a therapeutic parenting camp led by Nancy Thomas and to agree to let their families be shown.  It is definitely a testament to how big the need is for families of traumatized children to be understood that every family at that camp was willing to share their story to help raise awareness.

And in the end, that is the purpose of My Name is Faith — to share Faith’s story in hopes that the world will begin to grasp the depth and magnitude of the problem of Attachment Trauma.

MNIF can be purchased here.

My Name is Faith will be screening at the following places for NATA Day.  Check the NATA Day website to learn more:

June 19 – Douglasville, GA

June 19 – Lancaster, CA

June 19 – Fairhaven, MA

July 9 – Somerville, NJ

Julie has been ATN's Executive Director since 2009. She joined the organization in 2004 after finding incredible support from fellow ATNers when she was searching for answers about her own daughter's early childhood trauma and attachment disorders. Julie leads a staff of passionate professionals and acts as spokesperson for the organization. Prior to ATN, Julie was the president of a marketing and communications consultancy, The Epiphany Group, and has over two decades of experience in professional services marketing, strategic planning and communication strategies. As a graduate of Partners in Policymaking and through personal experience, Julie has garnered a great deal of experience in the areas of special education, school issues, and disabilities advocacy. A published author, Julie wrote a chapter in the EMK Press Adoption Parenting book and was the special needs blogger at Adoptionblogs.com for two years. She frequently presents workshops on attachment and trauma to local and national groups. Email Julie. Julie holds an MBA from Avila College in Kansas City and was a Certified Professional Services Marketer. Julie, and her husband Dave, are parents to four (bio, step and adoptive), including their youngest daughter, adopted from China. This daughter’s attachment difficulties and developmental trauma disorder have changed their lives significantly…in amazing ways.