on August 9, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on The painful chapters of parenting

The painful chapters of parenting

Wrapped around her little finger.

That’s where you were, the first time your newborn grabbed you: as tightly as she was holding your finger, you were wrapped around hers. Right then, you vowed that she’d have what she needed for the rest of her life – but, as in “The Girl Behind the Door” by John Brooks, how will you know what that is?

After two years of fertility treatment and an attempt at domestic adoption, John Brooks and his wife, Erika, had resigned themselves to “an empty life without children…” They were greatly saddened – until they noticed in a brochure that children were available for adoption in Poland.

Since Erika’s family was from there, it seemed predestined.

A few months later, the Brookses found themselves in a rickety car, on the road to the State Home for Children in Poland. Once there, they were handed a tiny, towheaded 14-month-old they named Casey, and they were smitten.

Though they’d been told that Casey was a “special needs child,” the Brookses figured that good parenting and loving attention would help make up for lagging development. And it did: by age two, Casey had caught up with her peers. By eight, she’d charmed all her teachers with her intelligence and compassion.

But the child who excelled at school was not the same child at home.

From the beginning, Casey was prone to “melt-downs” and tantrums, which escalated as she got older. The Brookses tried disciplining her, grounding her, and talking it out. They took Casey to psychiatrists; allowed her to switch schools; medicated her; gave in to keep the peace; and they tried rule-setting, which was often ignored. As she became a teen, they feared she was “cutting,” and they found drug paraphernalia. Exhausted by episodes of screams and tears but bolstered by calms between the storms, the Brookses did everything they could to help their daughter.

They thought college would be their light at the end of the tunnel. Casey seemed happy and eager to leave for school. She was excited; they were proud – until the dark January morning when she drove to the Golden Gate Bridge and stepped off…

I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that; author John Brooks begins this harrowing tale with his daughter’s suicide. But, in “The Girl Behind the Door,” how everyone got to that point will really put you through the wringer.

There’s a very uncomfortable feeling in reading this book, something like witnessing a toddler’s prolonged scream-thrash in the middle of a restaurant. There also could be some controversy: Brooks admits to mistakes (including discipline he shamefully regrets), and certainly, there were perplexing mistakes made by doctors. Still, none of that negates the agony of what happened, so skillfully and poignantly told here.

This is a book for parents, definitely, as well as for professionals, hotline volunteers and, with its final chapter of warnings, for prospective adoptive parents. With its anguished suspense-like telling and lessons learnable, “The Girl Behind the Door” is a book to get wrapped up in.


Golden Transcript – Latest Stories

Tags: , ,

Comments are disabled.