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Dani's Story: A Journey from Neglect to Love Hardcover – July 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470591331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470591338
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"The photo of the little girl was grainy black and white, even a little blurred. There was no pretty background, no fun props, and no cute outfit. Her bangs were uneven and jaggedly cut, and she wasn't smiling. She had a vacant, distant look in her eyes. But it was those eyes that pulled me in and grabbed my heart. I looked at my husband and said 'Bernie, she needs us.' He answered, 'I know.'"

When young Danielle was rescued from a dark room in her mother's filthy, roach-infested home, she spoke only in grunts and yelps, walked on her tiptoes, was not toilet-trained, and drank from a baby bottle. She was almost seven years old.

This book shares the deeply moving story of how Diane and Bernie Lierow were led to this remarkable little girl and became determined to overcome every obstacle so that she would become their daughter and receive the care and love that all children deserve.

A special ed classroom at Sanders Memorial Elementary School in Land O' Lakes, Florida, was where they would first meet Danielle, the child whose photo had captivated them at an adoption event several weeks earlier. They were filled with excitement, but also trepidation: What if they saw her and decided that she was just too much for them to handle? What if she harmed their son Willie, or took too much of their attention away from him? What if this young girl who drooled, bit her own arms and hands, and did not engage with others, threw a tantrum at the sight of them?

Once the Lierows entered the classroom, their fears fell away in a moment that was as surprising as it was simple—the moment when a little game with a Slinky toy established their first bond with Dani and marked the beginning of their new life together as a family.

Even more remarkable is what has happened since—how the Lierows learned to satisfy their daughter's craving for contact and stimuli, how Dani began to overcome her severe learning disabilities, how she learned she no longer had to steal food, and how their son Willie may be the greatest brother ever.

Charting a perilous journey from hardship to hope, love, and a second chance at life, Dani's Story is a book you cannot put down and, like the girl in the photo, you will never forget.

From the Back Cover

The Story That Captivated the Nation

In July 2005, six-year-old Danielle was removed from her Florida home after authorities found her living in squalor, subjected to horrific neglect, and so damaged by her own mother that recovery seemed impossible.

But hope and help were waiting for this little girl when Diane and Bernie Lierow, a hard-working couple with five boys of their own, adopted Dani and utterly transformed her life. Here is her—and their—incredible story of a journey from neglect to love.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Dani's "brother" Willie is a hero in his unselfish love and care of Dani.
Joyce
Dani was and is terribly lucky to have found such wonderful people to love an care for her,just as much as they are lucky to have her in their family.
Jacqueline Kemp
I would recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about adopting a child.
sheryl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Skidhiker on July 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I could not put this book down. It is written as if a friend was sitting across the kitchen table from you telling you their story. You just can't wait to hear the next turn of events in the saga. When the tale ends you know that Dani will be ok. I wanted to cheer when everything finally worked out. The Lierow's are just good people. The support of their church and the influence of faith that led them to adopt Dani is truly amazing. This is a must read for anyone that is planning to adopt a special needs child; anyone that is concerned about child abuse (case worker); and anyone looking for a heartwarming story.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joyce on July 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After receiving our copies of "dani's story," I mailed four to friends and relatives and kept one for myself. It was a book I couldn't put down. What a beautiful story about that poor little girl who came out of darkness into the light of love by the Lierow family. Kay West, who wrote the book in the words of Diane Lierow, did a remarkable job writing as if she actually was Diane. Dani's "brother" Willie is a hero in his unselfish love and care of Dani. I recommend this book to all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kat on November 8, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first found out about this little girl and her family a couple of years ago when their touching story was featured in the St. Petersburg Times. A few nights ago I remembered the story, and after some quick Google searching, found that a book had just come out about Dani and her family. I thought it might have been much of the same content from the newspaper article, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was written by Dani's mother, Diane. She gives a wonderful, engaging account of how they came to meet Dani, how she came to live with them, and all the amazing details of their new life together. I didn't want it to end! It was fascinating to learn more details about her heartwrenching background, and then to read the heartwarming stories of her new life with a caring, supportive family. Dani's story begins very sadly, but after seeing the happy photos and learning about all of her endearing quirks, you will finish this book with a smile on your face and love in your heart. I hope that in a few more years, I will be able to read even more about her and see how she and Willie are doing.

I read this on my Kindle and really enjoyed the photos. Wish I could have figured out how to zoom in on some of them, but maybe I just need to read the manual.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kelli of I'd So Rather Be Reading on July 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My mom heard about Dani's Story, and knew that she had to read about Dani's transformation from a neglected, abused child to one with a family that adores her. I was lucky enough to borrow my mom's copy of the book after she finished it. Having just read the David Pelzer books (A Child Called It, The Lost Boy, and A Man Named Dave), I was ready for another moving story.

Dani's Story is heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting. It is told from the adoptive parents' point of view, so it was a little less personal than the first-person narrative in the David Pelzer books. I have to say that I did miss the personal narrative I loved in David Pelzer's books.

The Lierows take the reader through their journey to adopt, starting with their decision to adopt a child, ending after they have finally welcomed Dani into their home. Some of the bureaucratic red tape regarding the adoption process got repetitive and slowed down the story. But, I understand why it was included---that's really how things work in the process of adoption.

What Dani endures for her first seven years was horrific. The Lierows learn the details of her abuse from Dani's case worker. They are stunned at how she lived until she was finally rescued from her birth mother's home. It really was unbelievable, to think that a mother could do that to her child. Being a new mother myself, this part of the story really hit home with me.

Much of the story focuses on Dani's growth and acceptance of the Lierow family. The things they did for her were heroic, in my opinion. They truly saved Dani, and she in return, has enriched their lives in ways they did not think possible.

Overall, I enjoyed Dani's Story. It is definitely worth your time, and I would recommend it to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sheryl on June 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My teacher showed a clip from Oprah on Dani, being in an Early Childcare Class I knew I just had to get it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about adopting a child. What you have to gain by not knowing the expected and unexpected outcome from a child such as Dani. I truly loved, smiled and cried as I read this story, The parents are amazing and would never give up and William is a guarantee hero.
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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful By E. Morrison on July 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I had a mixture of reactions to this book. First and foremost, this couple absolutely did a wonderful thing in adopting Danielle,and clearly have worked wonders with her. There are few families who will take on a child as wounded and challenged as Dani, and for their courage and love, Diane and Bernie (and of course Willie) are to be commended. They deserve a heartfelt and humble "thank you" from all of us.
That being said, there were troubling aspects to the book for me. In particular, the author repeatedly refers to Dani's birthmother as a "monster," sometimes with a capital "M." Many years spent fostering children, and my own adoption of a child from a background of neglect similar to that described in the book, have given me a different perspective. Birthparents who neglect their children are not "monsters" (i.e. less than human), they are unfortunate individuals who have very, very difficult lives, frequently undiagnosed mental illnesses, and usually no support whatsoever. The author seems to have a need to demonize Dani's foster parents, as well. She frequently compares her own (stellar) parenting with the inadequate parenting of others. The comparisons are valid, but still, they come across as sanctimonious.
I was also surprised that the author does not use what has come to be referred to as "positive adoption language." At one point she refers to a baby being "given up for adoption;" on another occasion she says that a couple have "children of their own" (as opposed to adopted children). A minor point, perhaps, but surprising in an adoption memoir.
Still, a memorable story, very moving and ultimately triumphant.
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