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When Rain Hurts: An Adoptive Mother's Journey with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Paperback – September 15, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“With When Rain Hurts, Mary Greene has captured what it means to become a person of integrity. The author’s untiring story of commitment to her adopted, multiply disabled son Peter and his highly sensitive, cognitive and biological systems teaches and inspires. In most homes, where FAS, autism and other severe biomedical disorders are not a fact of daily life, a child’s developmental milestones are celebrated as givens. Greene asks us to look at things with a set of different measures altogether, to rethink our cultural preconceptions of what constitutes achievement or success. If I were asked to name my favorite overachievers, I’d choose those who have gone above and beyond the call to map the depth and possibility of our humanity. I’d name intrepid Greene and her courageous son, Peter.”
—Valerie Paradiz, PhD, author of Elijah’s Cup and Director, Autistic Global Initiative of the Autism Research Institute

“‘What I wanted was a family,’ writes Mary Greene, ‘not a booby-trapped marathon that lacked a finish line.’ In this intimate and unflinching memoir, Greene describes the space between her dreams of motherhood and the reality of life with an adopted child suffering from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. When Rain Hurts is emotionally complex, fascinating, gritty, exhausting, and teeming with protective mother-energy and love. Three cheers for Mary Greene’s fighting spirit and the work she’s doing to create and protect her family while educating so many of us about the complexities of international adoption and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.”
—Sheri Reynolds, author of The Homespun Wisdom of Myrtle T. Cribb

“What will a mother do for her child? If your name is Mary Greene, the answer is ‘everything possible.’ Greene’s searing account of learning to parent her prenatal alcohol-exposed, bipolar, orphanage-veteran son is an unforgettable lesson in commitment, fortitude, and unconditional love. This riveting and candid story sheds a brutal light on the challenges faced by many post-institutionalized children and their families, and assures them, ‘You are not alone. There is hope.’”
—Jessica O’Dwyer, author of Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir

“Mary E. Greene shares her family’s journey through the world of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome with a lucid candor free of self-pity (and a healthy wit). To anyone either struggling to make sense of the journey to adopt a child, or dealing with a skewed adoption system, Greene’s book will offer both camaraderie and sustenance.
—Edie Meidav, author of Lola, California

About the Author

Mary Evelyn Greene, Senior Managing Attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project, adopted two toddlers from Russia in 2004. Ever since, she has doggedly devoted herself to improving her alcohol-exposed son’s condition, publishing articles in Adoptive Families Magazine and Adoption Today along the way. She is a contributing author to Easy to Love but Hard to Raise (2012), a collection of stories written for and by parents of special needs kids. She currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband and children. This is her first book. 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Red Hen Press; 1st Edition edition (September 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597092622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597092623
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gary Richards on September 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
When Mary Greene and her husband set out to rescue two human beings from living a troubled life in Russia, where they wouldn't be taken care of as well as they would be here in the United States, they thought that two positive things were happening. The first one was that they thought they would have created the ideal family that they were hoping to create, and the second was that they thought they were bringing two children out of a bad environment into a better one. In both cases, as is the case with some of the decisions we are forced to make in our lifetime, Ms. Greene and her husband thought wrong. As if having to live with a non cookie-cutter child wasn't bad enough, her troubles living with a child suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome extended outside of their home. Ms. Greene quickly learned that society wasn't ready to deal with the issues and quirks that she has to face on a daily basis. Whether you are a professional educator or a volunteer soccer coach, when you are approached with a challenging child, many of us would shy away from that challenge. Many of us would feel that it's not worth our time and effort, and that it's just another no-win situation. In fact, many of us, who are fortunate to have children who do not have the same issues that Peter has, thank god for delivering us "cookie-cutter" children after we experience someone like Peter. From battling with school districts that cannot provide the necessary services, to battling with a society who questions her parenting skills, Ms. Greene's battle is one that will last for the rest of her life. However, for those who only see Peter for a brief amount of time during their busy day, their battle seems more like a middle-school scuffle -- short-lived, with few repercussions.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Ron Federici on October 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Knowing this case intimately, I am so very impressed and proud of the author's candid and completely accurate account of the very difficult " challenges" of raising a special needs child. This book was written for the family AND professionals as so many DO NOT understand FAS, brain damage and complicated children from very traumatic backgrounds. Mary leads the reader into the quagmire and blatant disregard our current medical and school systems/mental health providers have for multi-faceted children. She brings out the importance of parents " never giving up" and enduring harsh criticism when the parent actually is the " healer" and has the responsibility to bring their child to his/her highest level. This book is a must read for all parents , adoption specialists and , hopefully, educators and professionals who need to know the " bottom live " vs. academic logic and judgements without actually " listening and knowing " the child and family.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kuby on October 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Although we adopted our son domestically, our family has many parallels to this family. It is very therapeutic to read for anyone who has found themselves living a different life than you expected on the adoption journey. It has given me renewed hope for our son of 8 years & renewed motivation to keep fighting for him. Mary does a great job expressing the true emotional roller coaster. This book gave me different ways to look at our situation which has allowed me to further grieve, accept & now start to heal. There are days one feels alone when on a journey with a challenging child. This is a book that I will read several times as the journey lasts a lifetime. I wish I could meet Mary in person!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michelle L on October 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a great and informative book. As an adoptive mother of a son with FAS, I really got a lot out of reading it. A lot of wonderful, yet poignant information.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jane vorndran on July 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved it but it was a difficult read for me. The writing is excellent but the story really hits home with me. One of my Russia-born sons has FAS, PTSD, sensory issues, etc. While my son does not have nearly the issues her Peter has, at the same time there are staggering similarities. She was able to give voice to so many issues and the "non-way" the public sees them. I have not been able to voice it even close to how she writes it. I kept saying to myself, "That's exactly right!" I wish I had the knowledge to be able to fight the insane fight with the school system as she did. (Our administration of our schools puts the Grand Canyon up as a divider so special needs kids struggle along with their parents. We are dreadfully failing to help so many kids!) I admire her courage to keep up the good fight, to see the best of her brain damaged child. Sometimes that's hard and too often, so frustrating! This is a MUST READ for everyone raising or dealing with FAS children and adults. Bravo, Mary!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By SN.Alper on January 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes, people who have adopted or wish to adopt should read this warm, enriching memoir filled with pain and joy. But all people who cherish family or wish to cherish family more can gain from Ms. Greene's well-written book. She and her husband adopted two children from Russia, one of whom was severely challenged by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and a host of frightening diagnoses, physical and emotional. Greene sees her way through what might have stopped others in their tracks with tremendous love, tenacity, and ultimately optimism borne of an inherent faith in the value of family. Thank you, Ms. Greene, for enriching my life by teaching me through your experiences.
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When Rain Hurts: An Adoptive Mother's Journey with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
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