THE LIMITS OF HOPE by Ann Kimble Loux


An Adoptive Mother's Story
Email this review


 An adoptive mother's agonizing account of her efforts to parent two troubled siblings. 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.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8139-1710-7
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Univ. of Virginia
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1997


NonfictionBEAUTIFUL NATE by Dennis Mansfield
by Dennis Mansfield
IndieTHREE TRUTHS AND A LIE by Graham E. Fuller
by Graham E. Fuller
IndieTHE LAST YEAR by Amelia Banis
by Amelia Banis