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"Adopting a child is an act of love. When that child is no longer an infant but has a history of abuse and neglect, integrating it into an existing family is a challenge. Loux tells the story of her family's decision to adopt two sisters removed from their alcoholic biological mother. The adoption agency refused to provide any history of the children's birth parents, though both girls had major psychosocial and genetic problems that caused great stress for the adoptive family. This personal account tells of Loux's attempt to raise these girls along with her three biological children. Unfortunately, it is full of self-pity and guilt. The most interesting part is the conclusion, where she suggests alternatives to traditional adoption for the care of troubled older children."—Library Journal
University of Virginia Press
Loux (English/St. Mary's Coll.) challenges the notion that a nurturing environment can overcome genetic temperament and early deprivation. After giving birth to three healthy children, she and her husband decided that they would like to give a home to disadvantaged children. Dissuaded by the prejudices of their parents from embracing a biracial or Asian child, the Louxs adopted Margey and Dawn, three- and four-year-old white children from a local Catholic agency. From early on, the girls were unable to integrate successfully into the Loux family. As youngsters, their impulsive and erratic behavior impaired their ability to function in school or in any social context. Impetuous and reckless, both girls wrought havoc on the lives of the Louxs and their other children. As Margey entered her teens, she turned to drug abuse, lawlessness, and indiscriminate sex. She now works as a prostitute to support a drug habit and—despite stints in and out of jail—is, Loux says, "much happier with her life than [when] she was living with our family, and probably happier now than in any of the scenarios I wanted for her." Dawn, too, left home early and is currently grappling with her young husband to raise two developmentally disabled children with minimal financial resources. Their mother contends that her harrowing experiences in raising "hard to place" children, whosebackgrounds were shielded from her, are far from unique. Loux questions the wisdom of adoptive policies that do not prepare parents for the realities of raising high-risk children and goes so far as to propose that children like Margey or Dawn might do better if raised in group homes.
A forceful and disturbing memoir, but the reader doesn't get a full damage report on Margey's and Dawn's impact on the author's marriage and biological children.
Posted February 6, 2001
This true story is absolutely moving. It is full of pain and struggle, yet somehow it is comforting. I've had the honor of knowing Mrs. Loux, and to truly understand that the woman standing before me actually went through such a trial of life. I was adopted and although I didn't have near the amount of difficulties and Loux did, I could relate to it unbelievably. Definately a tear-jerker.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.