Not always happy : an unusual parenting journey / Kari Wagner-Peck.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: "While most people meet their child for the first time in a delivery room, some parents have to meet their child in the reception area of an administrative building. Not Always Happy is a humorous and sharp chronicle about adopting and raising a son with Down syndrome from the Maine foster care system. The author quickly learns that life is best lived by expecting the unplanned when she makes the decision to become a parent in her late forties. As her unconventional family moves along in this life, she and her husband are less aware they are raising an atypical child or an adopted child. They are raising their child, and their family struggles with the same universal themes that any family goes through. Parents who have children with Down syndrome and other disabilities represent fifteen percent of all children between the ages of three to seventeen. Wagner-Peck provides an access point to start the debate about adopting a child with special needs along with her decision to homeschool. One of only a few books in the marketplace specifically addressing adopting from the foster care system. Kari Wagner-Peck, MSW, is a writer, blogger, and a freelance development consultant while she homeschools her son. She also has experience in arts management including development, event planning, and public speaking. Her writing has been featured in the Huffington Post, the New York Times' "Motherlode" blog, the Sydney Morning Herald, Yahoo Parenting, Parents Magazine's, and Empowering Parents. Kari Wagner-Peck currently resides in Portland, Maine"-- Provided by publisher.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "A moving memoir about finding and adopting a son from the foster care system with Down syndrome and realizing that life is best lived by expecting the unplanned. As time passes, the author and her husband become less aware they are raising an atypical or adopted child. They are raising their child, no different than any other family"-- Provided by publisher.
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LJ Reviews 2017 June #2

Freelancer Wagner-Peck and her husband, Ward, decided to become parents when the author was in her 40s. The Maine couple realized that adopting from the foster care system might be their quickest route but never planned on falling in love with Thorin, a toddler with Down syndrome. They quickly learned that—despite strong educational and civil rights laws—discrimination and ignorance are still alive and well. Here they relate shocking encounters that might have been commonplace decades ago yet are unacceptable and happening now. Using her knowledge as an advocate, social worker, and parent who homeschools her son, the author has created the blog, the entries of which form the basis for this book. While this memoir is often humorous, it doesn't set out to be. VERDICT Recommended reading for every parent.—Virginia Johnson, East Bridgewater P.L., MA

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2017 April #3

When author Wagner-Peck and her husband adopted a son, Thorin, with Down syndrome, their learning curve was steep. Peck recounts their journey in this intimate peek at three individuals who had to overcome many obstacles before becoming, in Peck's words, a "forever family." Navigating state bureaucracies and compliance issues was among the challenges they faced. So were awkward, well-meaning neighbors, Thorin's occasionally overbearing biological sibling, a grandmother with misgivings, and a large and varied cast of medical professionals. Some challenges were simply the ones that every new parent endures, possibly exacerbated, Wagner-Peck suggests, by her being a 50-year-old first-time parent. This family, however, had a few additional challenges that parents of "typicals" don't often encounter (beginning with suspicious TSA agents). Navigating the educational system with a special-needs child was one of the family's biggest and most difficult hurdles. They encountered faculty members with outdated approaches, poorly trained aides, and a multitude of administrative roadblocks. Wagner-Peck relates their challenges and progress with great equanimity, sharing her perseverance as well as her fury. Her "mom lessons" near the book's conclusion, as well as some poignant final moments in the narrative, will leave many readers teary-eyed. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.