Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rural Montana site of respite for adoptees

Read Kirk Johnson's story from today's New York Times. The dateline is Eureka, Montana, population 1,017, close to the Canadian border in Lincoln County, population 18,837. Johnson's story features Joyce Sterkel's ranch, where hundreds of adopted children, mostly from Russia, have come to "perhaps find healing grace with the horses and cows and rolling fields."

Here's an excerpt that criticizes Sterkel's approach to dealing with these troubled children, challenging the power of this natural setting to deal with profound physiological and psychological problems facing many of these children:
Ranch for Kids now has 30 children, ages 5 to 17, some of whom stay for a month or two, some for years. Critics say the ranch, and places like it that focus on experience as therapy — exposure to nature, animals and rules of ranch life — are islands of unreality that do not fundamentally address a child’s problems.

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