"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 simplethe 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 sincehow 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.
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 herand theirincredible story of a journey from neglect to love.
Dani's "brother" Willie is a hero in his unselfish love and care of Dani.
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.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about adopting a child.
Very powerful story especially if you're in the helping profession. Quick read.Published 2 months ago by J. Nagel
very good book about poor dani you have to read it, I felt so sorry for her. am glad this family took her in,Published 10 months ago by Sharon Tracy
Beautifully written, heart-wrenching story. Makes me appreciate my little girl in a whole new light. Perfect example for my report on child neglect also.Published 13 months ago by Samantha McQuen
An amazing story of love and courage to make such a difference in someone's life that had been so unloved and mistreated. I started reading and did not want to put it down. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Anita T.
Heart wrenching and painful to read but I think everyone needs to read this book. How sad it is these children are so badly mistreated, even after they have been "saved" by the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Jacqueline Kemp
It took me all of one day to read. I have suppressed anger, I have laughed, and truly cried real tears.(I'm a softee) when it comes to abused children. This rocked me. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Kim
As it was described, it sounded good but I had a diffcult time in getting through the first three or four chapters, It was slow and boaring!Published 21 months ago by patriciagtx
The book had sucked me in from the first page... it was a wonderful story of two compassionate people and a little girl that would never give up with the help of her new family!! Read morePublished 22 months ago by Amanda Drummey
so happy Dani has this family and so tragic Dani went through what she did. We must always remember these angels and heroes.Published 23 months ago by beesting