Sunday 2 June 2013

The Book You Have To Read - Whether You Adopt Or Not!

The book is finally here!

Available at

Of all the things my daughter, Farm Girl, has written this is the one that moved me the most.  It's an absolute MUST READ for anyone who is considering adopting older children or is already parenting them. It's a darned good read for absolutely anyone who loves to read about courage after failures and the power of love and commitment.  After all, I'm the grandma of the kids in the book and I know the whole story, but seeing the last three years laid out in chronological order brought me to tears!

You see ONCE UPON A TIME there were four little kids who's parents were not able to care for them.  The children saw things they never should see, went hungry, missed Christmases because the police came and took their father away and suffered from a number of medical issues caused by improper prenatal care.  The eldest two bounced back and forth between parents and foster parents.  The youngest two were seized at birth and placed in different foster homes.

But all good fairy tales work their way toward happy endings. ~

photo courtesy of Elena Dudina

The children are united, in time, with foster parents who have many years of experience and, though they were ready to retire and their home is not large enough for four children, they give them love and stability until they found a Forever home.  This was vitally important to the kids.  A psychiatrist report on the eldest girl at four, says one more move will be catastrophic for her.  She is moved seven more times in the next three years.

Along comes a forever family!  They have one adopted son, the age of the youngest child, and the preschoolers quickly bond.  For something like 10 mths. the new family struggles to adapt.  One day, when they are at daycare and school, the social worker comes and takes the children away.  The new parents can't cope and they have returned them.

This isn't how fairy tales end!  They go back to the elderly foster parents, though the man has had to delay his chemo treatments to take them back in.  It is a desperate situation.

Along comes a nice family with two teenage sons and a barn full of happy, rescued animals. ~

photos courtesy of Adam Sach's Photos

They want to adopt a girl of school age.  The social workers plead with them to consider the four children.  It's too many.  They can't afford it.  They don't have enough bedrooms.  Then, their eldest son says, "Why don't we just take them and work it out?"

The children come for weekend visits.  There are cats and dogs and plenty of room to play. ~

There are ponies to ride. ~

One day, the nice couple takes the children on a walk in a park and asks them if they would like to come live with them.  The eldest girl jumps up and says that is just what she has been praying for.  The eldest boy looks upset and goes into a long list of his faults.  He says they won't want him.  But, they do!  The youngest is confused and asks if they are going to be her mommy and daddy now.  Why wouldn't she be confused?  She's had a forever home before and they didn't stick around.

The couple explain that they keep their promises and this one really is forever.

The judge has held this adoption until the last of the day.  He says he wanted to take extra time with this very special family and asks each child if they agree to being adopted.  The boy says, "It's all I've ever wanted". The court stenographer can hardly see for the tears running down her face.  The whole courtroom follows suit.

The first one is done! ~

A new family is born! ~

There are grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends to welcome the children.  They have certificates that tell them this is permanent and they want to know if they can take them to school for show and tell. The bailiffs, court policeman and social workers cheer.~

If that were the end of our story, we would have a happy ending indeed!  But, it's not.

These children suffer from severe emotional issues and post traumatic stress disorders.  They have medications, doctors and therapists.  They require non stop, twenty four hour a day care and nurturing. They run away, break furniture, kick out window screens and throw screaming rages that go on for hours. Two of them never sleep through a night.  Remedial schoolwork takes hours each day and the parents fight for special help for one who has prenatal damage that makes learning impossible in a standard schoolroom.

The house is in chaos and the parents and older boys are worn out from coping.  But, this family meant it when they said they kept their promises.  Giving up was not an option.

A desperate call to Children's Aid united a child and youth counsellor and the family to work through the issues and find our happy ending.

Three years later, mom and social worker get a well deserved high five! ~

The book is co-written  in alternating chapters.  Farm Girl tells what happened and how she handled the situation, even when she knows she handled it badly.  Lisa, the child and youth counsellor, answers with a chapter of her own that talks about the same situation from a therapeutic point of view.  It's a wonderful way for adoptive parents and those who support them to gain insight into their own difficulties and see what has worked for real life people.

The book description on Lulu says, "The Promise is a raw and compelling memoir. It offers insight into the behaviours of adopted and foster children, gives hope to struggling families, and is a must-read for adoptive parents who are at a loss after bringing wounded children into the family."

Farm Girl has a facebook page for her literary work and can be found here. She has a real name even, Christen Shepherd! You'll still think of her as Farm Girl but it's nice to know I didn't make her up as one of my fictional characters! Her co author is Lisa Highfield.

Both of her books can be bought at ~

I know many of you read The Flawed Farm as an ebook but I'm partial to the hard copy. ~

I apologise for such a long post. I just wanted you to have some background and know why The Promise means so much to me.

Was it worth it to risk so much for four little kids? Absolutely!!! They have made my life better than I ever imagined and I love them to pieces! Every time one of them runs up to me, arms outstretched and a grin on their face, my heart grows two sizes. At least two sizes!

I'm sharing with:  Wordless WednesdayMy Happy List Tuesdays


  1. can't wait to read this book...looks like it's just my kind of read! Hope you are having a wonderful summer so far friend!

  2. None of us could have imagined just how difficult it would be to bring these four additions into our family. I am very proud of my niece and her family for all they have endured to create a loving environment for these lost souls. They are truly some of God's finest!
    Lynn @

  3. I have tears in my eyes reading this! All children deserve a safe home with loving parents. I am so happy this happened. The book sounds powerful! I know you are a proud Mama and Grandma!

  4. Such an interesting story and so courageous of your daughter. We have many adopted people in our family - from my husband to both my sisters and his sisters and my cousin so it is topic that is near and dear to my heart.

  5. Oh Maureen I'm typing this with tears in my eyes. I will be reading this book, no child should ever have to live what these kids have lived but they are of the lucky ones of all the neglected and abused children for getting such a wonderful forever family. God bless your daughter for the love her and her family have given to these children even if it isn't always the most rewarding experience.

  6. Ok Maureen - I just went to Lulu to order this - and just as I reached checkout - I decided no, I want a signed copy!!!
    ( because it's all connected - and because I know you - and because I'm selfish like that )
    Can you get me a signed copy - and then how would we arrange payment? )

  7. Maureen, what a powerful story this is and your daughter (and her hubby I'm sure) is,.....what to say? an angel on earth is the only thing that comes to mind. Just wow. What a fabulous mom you are to have raised and influenced and inspired this beautiful daughter of yours to share her spirit in such a generous way.

  8. You knew I would love this post!! Giving up was never an option for me either! I'd still do it all again...but I do wish I had a worker like Lisa for sure!!

  9. Love this! I have a dear friend who has done the very same thing - many times over. Her family had the same heart toward children - I mean their children - I think they've got 10 children all together now - the house is not the Walton's house - but they too make do. Beautiful, beautiful story. I was blessed reading this,

  10. Congratulations to Kristen with the publication of her second book. Wonderful accomplishment! Looking forward to reading this next installment of Farm Girl's extraordinary life.

  11. Maureen, you did it again! Tears, tears and more tears. Very moving. Some day you and I have to sit down and have a good chat....we have some common stories. Very interesting.

  12. Awesome post ... I plan to order both these books. I am sure The Promise will make me sad, but a story worth reading. What a wonderful family you have.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  13. Maureen, Your daughter sounds like an amazing woman and you have to be so proud of her. Bless her for not giving up on these children.

  14. Wow. I'm truly humbled by your daughter and her love for these children. YOU are an amazing woman to have reared such a remarkable daughter.

    I'm honored that you shared this special story and book with us @ My Happy List. Thanks so much for linking-up, my dear.


  15. You got me sobbing again Maureen. Your daughter is truly an inspiring woman, but somewhere along the line she was inspired by you !

  16. those children have some amazing forever parents not to mention the best grandmama ever.

  17. Oh Maureen, you brought me from tears to a full blown sob....How wonderful, you must be so proud! What a touching, heart warming story.....Your daughter and her husband are such wonderful people. There is not many that would take on that challenge and not give up!! I loved this so much I shared it on Facebook, I think the world needs to see it to restore their faith in humanity. You done good Maureen, and I see where she got her writing skills, a chip off the old block!


  18. What an amazing story. So much love.

  19. Wow Maureen. Wonderful story. Yes, lots of love here.

  20. This is so amazing. I work at a clinic with kids who have challenges, and one of my own children has aspergers, so i have a concept of how incredibly difficult this can be. It is so so touching to me that they stuck it out with these kids. What an amazing miracle, not to mention hard hard exhausting work!