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Dani's Story: A Journey from Neglect to Love Hardcover – July 1, 2011
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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 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.
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 herand theirincredible story of a journey from neglect to love.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book. Inspiration to all. An eye opener to many of existing child abuse. Cautions us to be more aware of going on around us & report abuse if we suspect. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Kindle Customer
Eye opening book - reminded me to never stop believing or expecting for better than what "professionals" tell you to is able to happen.Published 1 month ago by Rhonda Bowles
This is the perfect story of love, hope, and courage despite all odds. I couldn't put it down. Very inspiring.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I could not put this book down once I started reading. I loved that this family was able to give Dani an unconditional love that she had never known. Read morePublished 4 months ago by PJ Dyer