“There is so much hope for our children who came to us with traumatic pasts where attachment was not possible due to issues beyond their control those formative years that neuroscience now confirms begins in the womb. I needed to delve into the subject of RAD a little deeper before reporting on this difficult entity that many of us “live” every day. As a parent of two “attachment challenged” children one, adopted from the foster care system and another, who, also came to a family from Russia at age 8 that gave up on her 6 months later due to behavioral issues – I want to say that our work with Juli Alvarado has incredibly healing for our family. The love-based approach known as Emotional Regulatory Parenting helped us expand our window of tolerance for behaviors and work together in relationship to each other as a family. We learned it was not a matter of “fixing the kid” – it was all of us that needed “work.” Juli’s integrity, insight, and intelligence along with the view and knowledge of the lens with which we see the traumatic world our children grew up in was life-changing. We no longer blamed our child for her manipulation or control – we knew the source of hers and that of our own which allowed our buttons to be pushed. Challenged to change the parenting paradigm we used and to acknowledge the fear-based world our children live in brought us to a level of peace in our home that we never could have thought existed in our first three years of parenting. It was Emotional Regulatory Parenting that made the difference!

Many of us have learned along that as we evolve we consider many paths along the way and, we take a little of here and there only to leave the rest behind. It is the end result that matters – Juli Alvarado’s ERP program is her own creation, an evolution of experiences that is love-based and a path to joy for many of us. Our youngest was on her way to “military boot camp” at age 12 when we began the work, she recently was 8th grade student of the month in her middle school. And, our “little Russian” (also in 8th grade) has maintained her placement with us for more than 16 months and is looking forward to adoption for the first time in her life.

Juli Alvarado put our family back on track and, we continue to look to her for the expertise and wisdom we have learned to now and expect from her. She cares about families and, she goes above and beyond the realm of our experience to help families like ours that she works with all over the United States. It is sad that our system did not take programs like hers into consideration when looking at the attachment challenged world the children who we love deeply live in every day as they grow towards adulthood. Their ability to maintain relationships is limited yes, but neuroscience has shown us the ability to re-wire goes way beyond what we imagined just a few years ago. Leaders such as Dr. Bruce Perry and others like Juli Alvarado are helping parents learn to see our love again – through the darkest Winter came an incredible Spring and I am grateful.”

-Ann Arvidson

Adoptive Parent/Professional in the Adoption world of Child Welfare