Our Journey to Forever... Had Potholes Along the Way!
Authors: Lori Oden, LMSW and Anita Diener
Publisher: Ruth Orpah Publishing
Publishing Date: September, 2008
When my wife and I first began to realize
that something wasn't right with our nephew, we began
searching for the nature of the problem. He was seeing a
neuropsychologist who specialized in pediatrics. We
would drop him off at the clinic once a week, then go
have lunch and drink coffee for an hour and a half while
our nephew was in behavioral therapy.
when we picked him up, both my nephew and his therapist
would be angry and it didn't seem that anyone was
getting anywhere, except for our nephew who was probably
in control of things all along. After more than a month
of therapy, the tentative diagnosis was that he suffered
from AD/HD and oppositional defiant disorder, but his
therapist thought there was something else beneath it.
we were sitting in the restaurant one week, one or the
other of us read a newspaper article which described a
child with reactive attachment disorder, and the
characteristics sounded so much like our nephew that we
felt sure that we were on to something. When we
suggested it to his therapist later, he said that that
is what he was thinking too, but that he was still doing
some research on it. He was not an attachment therapist.
Until then, we didn't know that we were dealing with
reactive attachment disorder.
to permit our nephew's therapist to be the only one
doing research on the subject, we began buying books on
the subject. We were fortunate, at the time, to be
making a reasonably good income, so we bought a lot of
books, and we read them all.
don't recall that I have ever read a book about reactive
attachment disorder that I didn't learn something from.
They were all valuable, some more so than others. One
thing that bothered me however, was that where a book
would give a suggestion, the assumption was that it
would lead to a therapeutic response. So many of the
things that we tried with our nephew resulted in very
different responses, yet the books never gave us an
answer to the follow up question, "What now?"
we were forever left with the idea that we must be doing
something wrong, no matter how closely we tried to
follow the recommendations in the books that we were
course, taking the blame for this upon ourselves simply
fed into our nephew's disorder. One truth was that
parenting a child with reactive attachment disorder is
not as easy as some of the books made it sound. Another
was that the goal of a full recovery simply set us up
are all, each one of us, in some way, the sum of our
past experiences, and this is also true of children with
reactive attachment disorder. Some of them will, no
doubt, recover more fully than others, but I think it's
fair to say that all of them will suffer some lasting
negative effects of their past experiences. We all do.
Diener and Lori Oden, the authors of this book, were
both foster parents who met through the adoption of
biological sisters, both of whom suffered from reactive
attachment disorder, and there experiences are the
subject of the book that I am reviewing today. The
authors of this book were both experienced foster
Oden was a veteran foster parent. She spent nineteen
years as a foster parent, with more than ten years as a
Master Level Treatment Foster Parent through a licensed
child placement agency, specializing in working with
children with reactive attachment disorder. She and her
husband provided foster or respite care for more than a
hundred and forty children in the nineteen years they
served as foster parents in Kansas. She is also an
elementary special education teacher in the area of
behavior disorders. In 2005, after the events in this
book took place, she received her Master's in Social
Work, graduating Summa Cum Laude, and is currently
employed as a clinician with a mental health center in
Diener has devoted fifteen years of service to Kansas
children in need of care. She holds a Bachelor of Arts
degree in Sociology/Psychology, and provides short-term
emergency placements and respite care to severely
emotionally disturbed children.
way of reference, I served as a short-term emergency
foster parent in California many years ago, and adopted
one boy who did not suffer from reactive attachment
disorder, raising him with very few problems, leading me
to believe that I was something on the order of an
expert on the subject of parenting. Of course, that was
before my wife and I took in our nephew. All of my
supposed parental skills went out the window during that
textbooks certainly have their place, particularly when
one is trying to understand the disorder that they hope
to do battle with, Oden and Diener didn't write a
textbook. The product of their efforts more closely
resembled reality, as seen through the lens of reactive
I say that this is not a textbook, in no way do I mean
to imply that there is nothing to be learned from it. On
the contrary, there is a great deal to be learned from
it. A textbook will tell you that if you do this, that
will happen; of if you do that, this will happen - but
none of the textbooks that I have read prepared me for
the eventuality of neither this or that happening as a
result of my actions.
their book, Lori Oden and Anita Diener tell a tale that
doesn't have a storybook ending. Rather, they have
penned an honest story of genuine people parenting real
children with reactive attachment disorder. Like any
other human parent, they make mistakes, and they are
honest enough to tell it the way it happened rather than
as they may later wished it had.
also do a lot of things right; yet, even then, the
results aren't always what so many of the attachment
textbook authors would have us expect. Children with
reactive attachment disorder are individuals and, as
such, they cannot be depended upon to follow the maps
laid out by the attachment experts, and parents don't
generally come with GPS systems in place.
authors of this book are experienced parents, yet they
are human beings, and both of these variables come into
play during the experiences that are the subject of
found it refreshing, and I almost hate to say that. It's
not that I enjoyed the fact that the story did not end
with a storybook happy ending, but that the authors told
it like it was rather than leaving those who have yet to
go through it themselves with unrealistic expectations.
Journey to Forever is an honest book, and the truth is
always refreshing, whatever the results. And the results
are much better than they would have been had Lori and
Anita not been there.
recommend it highly. If you've parented a child with
reactive attachment disorder, you will enjoy this book.
If you have never parented a child with attachment
issues, you'll probably think these people are nuts; but
if you've been involved in attachment parenting, you're
no doubt familiar with that as well. Such is the way we
parent our kids.
that I've recommended the book to you, there is the
matter of finding it. As of this writing, the book is
not available through Amazon.com or through any other
online bookseller that I've been able to find. I've
tried Barnes and Noble, and I've even looked for the
publisher - Ruth Orpah Publishing - online, but was
unable to find a web site, or reference to it.
is because the book is self-published. There's nothing
wrong with that; it only means that if you want to order
the book right now, it will have to be done the old
school way, through the postal service.
that I might do some of the homework for you, I
contacted Lori Oden. She tells me that they are in the
process of putting up a web site, which will be able to
take orders for the books through PayPal or credit card.
She told me, just today, that the launch date for their
web site is March 1st. However, I can see that the site
itself is already up, although it's not completed as
yet. I don't know if the order section is ready to go
yet. The site can be found at OurJourneytoForever.com.
no need to wait for the web site to be completed, since
the postal service is still in business, taking our tax
dollars and delivering mail. The book can be ordered the
old fashioned way by writing to:
PO Box 406
Lyons, Kansas 67554
can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
cost of the book is $19.95 plus $2.50 shipping and
handling. If my math skills serve me right, that's
$22.45. The shipping charge for international orders is
$5.00. Don't wait for the web site. Send your check, and
they'll send you a book. It's that easy.