In this candid account, adoptive father Howells, aided by journalist Pritchard, makes a passionate but ultimately...


THE STORY OF DAVID: How We Created a Family Through Open Adoption

In this candid account, adoptive father Howells, aided by journalist Pritchard, makes a passionate but ultimately unconvincing plea for open adoption, a controversial alternative that seems to pose more problems than it solves. When Howells and his wife conclude that invasive infertility treatments are playing havoc with their psyches and their marriage, they easily make the leap into pursuing adoption as an alternative to childlessness. First, they fill out endless applications ""agreeing to assume the responsibility of any child . . . regardless of his or her racial, ethnic, physical, emotional or mental state."" Then the Howellses become participants in a program that requires them to attend meetings of Adoption Network, a local organization that actively lobbies to change current laws that shield the identity of the adopted child's natural parents, and that helps individuals locate their biological family members. Soon they are chosen by Nancy, a pregnant high school victim of a date rape, to become the parents of her child. Within a few weeks, the Howellses become surrogate parents to Nancy, who later becomes ""Nancymom"" to her/their son. They become so emotionally involved with the girl, in fact, that when their infant son, David, comes home with them, they not only must adjust to their new role as parents, but must struggle with Nancy through her severe postpartum blues. In addition, they are forced to contend with the ambivalence of Nancy's mother, uncertain about her daughter's choice to relinquish the newborn. By David's fourth birthday, a married Nancy has a second baby, whom David sees as his brother. The Howellses will not be providing David with a sibling, because they are too emotionally spent to pursue another adoption. The Howellses' complex experience is hardly the alternative to traditional adoption that will appeal to prospective adoptive parents. Despite the author's obvious sincerity, he is more likely to dissuade people from pursuing open adoption.

Pub Date: June 1, 1997


Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1997