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TO LOVE A CHILD by Ted Schwarz

TO LOVE A CHILD

A Reluctant Father Adopts a ``Forgotten'' Child

By Ted Schwarz

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-88282-136-9
Publisher: New Horizon

 Part memoir, part manual, this is the story of a middle-age white couple who adopted a black toddler born addicted to a pharmacy of recreational drugs. ``I never wanted to be a father,'' writes journalist Schwarz (Walking with the Damned, 1992, etc.), blaming an unhappy childhood. But his second wife, Leslie, wanted to be a mother. First she suffered a miscarriage and then a brain tumor. Although she recovered completely, prospects for pregnancy were dim. Watching a television show that paraded the faces of ``unadoptable'' children (too old, the wrong color or ethnic group, too damaged at birth) like so many ``stray cats and dogs from the local humane society,'' they decided to be the ``somebody somewhere'' who would become mother and father to one of these children. They are offered Raheem, a three-year-old boy who had been shuffled from foster home to foster home; in the first 48 hours he spends with his parents-to-be, he throws two temper tantrums and generally leaves ``havoc in his wake.'' To Schwarz's wonderment, he loves the boy deeply and immediately. The adoption is finalized and soon Clifford, a troubled teenager and Raheem's former babysitter, comes to live with them as well. Schwarz's sweet story of how his love for Raheem has changed him is interspersed with the results of his extensive research, including information on the unexpected difficulties of adoption, from dire warnings of Adopted Child Syndrome (the superstitious prejudice that adopted children are ``demon seed,'' destined to rise violently against their adoptive parents) to how ill- prepared parents are to deal with the everyday behavior of children who have been sexually molested or otherwise abused. Useful information combined with an honest and warmhearted account of a couple becoming a family, best suited for others considering adoption of troubled children. (Author tour)