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Road Map to Holland: How I Found My Way Through My Son's First Two Years With Down Syndrome Paperback – April 1, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Parenting in a complicated world
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Montana wife and mother Groneberg traces in her tenderly moving account the life-changing realization after the premature birth of her twin boys that one of them, Avery, has Down syndrome. Utterly unprepared for the emergency C-section of the seven-week-early preemies, Groneberg and her writer husband, Tom, the parents of a four-year-old, are devastated by the news about Avery, and they must gradually alter their easygoing future plans about raising their kids. They reject the notion of adoption, suggested by a well-intentioned nurse at the hospital where the babies are ensconced in the neonatal intensive-care unit, and embark on an exhaustively trying, ultimately enlightening journey to care for the needy babies, especially Avery, and educate themselves about his condition. Rising from the shame of feeling that their family is broken, and letting slide hurtful comments by a grocery-store clerk or neighbor, Groneberg devoured books and information from the Internet, and began to foster their son's development by seeking out physical therapists and specialists. Small gains in Avery's motor skills were causes for celebration, and the beginning of speech the greatest gift the parents could ask for. Groneberg affectingly delineates these gradual, hard-won stages during Avery's first year toward love and acceptance. (Apr.)
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Review

"Rich with honesty, wisdom, and a deep appreciation for every day miracles, "Road Map to Holland "is a thoughtful, moving meditation on the struggles and joys Jennifer Graf Groneberg and her family experienced during her son Avery's first two years. Groneberg offers a wealth of insight, information, and even practical resources for families whose children have Down syndrome. Yet this book is first and foremost a story about the constant discovery of love, and it will resonate with every reader who has traveled the always unpredictable, often overwhelming, wonder-filled journey into parenthood."
-Kim Edwards, author of "The Memory Keeper's Daughter"
"I have been 'to Holland' for eighteen years now, and this book brought back so many thoughts and feelings I had saved up that I felt an immediate sisterhood with Jennifer. I watched her deal with that same fear of the unknown that singed my heart, and I wept when she reached that crucial moment when she found that same place of self-forgiveness. No matter who or where you are in relation to a child with Down syndrome, these pages will be like signposts along your road, to give hope and a new way of seeing things. It's good to be able to see the potholes coming and be ready for them, and it's good to know when to pull over and take the time to enjoy the breathtaking views that only happen on this road. Thank goodness for road maps!"
-Martha Sears, coauthor, "The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two" and author, "25 Things Every New Mother Should Know"
"What a remarkable book! With excruciating candor and exquisite generosity, Jennifer Graf Groneberg invites us into the deepest privacyof her innermost thoughts, feelings, fears, challenges and triumphs. Nothing is left out in this amazingly intimate and profound journal. She allows us into every nook and cranny of her life and we find ourselves firmly ensconced in her heart."
-Emily Perl Kingsley, national spokesperson and advocate for people with disabilities and author of ""Welcome to Holland""
"This is the story of Avery-a child with Down syndrome who transformed his mother's broken heart into one filled with cheer, awe, and pride. He offers all new and expectant parents a powerful perspective on life's greatest lessons."
-Brian Skotko, M.D., M.P.P., Children's Hospital Boston & Boston Medical Center.
"Bursting with hope, Groneberg's account of mothering Avery highlights the triumph of love over fear. Its candid, vivid prose and poignant emotion make the story is difficult to put down and impossible to forget. Herein lies truth to be pondered and savored by every mother, every woman, every human being."
-Kathryn Lynard Soper, editor of "Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives"

aRich with honesty, wisdom, and a deep appreciation for every day miracles, "Road Map to Holland "is a thoughtful, moving meditation on the struggles and joys Jennifer Graf Groneberg and her family experienced during her son Averyas first two years. Groneberg offers a wealth of insight, information, and even practical resources for families whose children have Down syndrome. Yet this book is first and foremost a story about the constant discovery of love, and it will resonate with every reader who has traveled the always unpredictable, often overwhelming, wonder-filled journey into parenthood.a
aKim Edwards, author of "The Memory Keeperas Daughter"
aI have been ato Hollanda for eighteen years now, and this book brought back so many thoughts and feelings I had saved up that I felt an immediate sisterhood with Jennifer. I watched her deal with that same fear of the unknown that singed my heart, and I wept when she reached that crucial moment when she found that same place of self-forgiveness. No matter who or where you are in relation to a child with Down syndrome, these pages will be like signposts along your road, to give hope and a new way of seeing things. Itas good to be able to see the potholes coming and be ready for them, and itas good to know when to pull over and take the time to enjoy the breathtaking views that only happen on this road. Thank goodness for road maps!a
aMartha Sears, coauthor, "The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two" and author, "25 Things Every New Mother Should Know"
aWhat a remarkable book! With excruciating candor and exquisite generosity, Jennifer Graf Groneberg invites us into the deepest privacyof her innermost thoughts, feelings, fears, challenges and triumphs. Nothing is left out in this amazingly intimate and profound journal. She allows us into every nook and cranny of her life and we find ourselves firmly ensconced in her heart.a
aEmily Perl Kingsley, national spokesperson and advocate for people with disabilities and author of ""Welcome to Holland""
aThis is the story of Averyaa child with Down syndrome who transformed his motheras broken heart into one filled with cheer, awe, and pride. He offers all new and expectant parents a powerful perspective on lifeas greatest lessons.a
aBrian Skotko, M.D., M.P.P., Childrenas Hospital Boston & Boston Medical Center.
aBursting with hope, Gronebergas account of mothering Avery highlights the triumph of love over fear. Its candid, vivid prose and poignant emotion make the story is difficult to put down and impossible to forget. Herein lies truth to be pondered and savored by every mother, every woman, every human being.a
aKathryn Lynard Soper, editor of "Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives"

?Rich with honesty, wisdom, and a deep appreciation for every day miracles, "Road Map to Holland "is a thoughtful, moving meditation on the struggles and joys Jennifer Graf Groneberg and her family experienced during her son Avery's first two years. Groneberg offers a wealth of insight, information, and even practical resources for families whose children have Down syndrome. Yet this book is first and foremost a story about the constant discovery of love, and it will resonate with every reader who has traveled the always unpredictable, often overwhelming, wonder-filled journey into parenthood.?
?Kim Edwards, author of "The Memory Keeper's Daughter"
?I have been ?to Holland? for eighteen years now, and this book brought back so many thoughts and feelings I had saved up that I felt an immediate sisterhood with Jennifer. I watched her deal with that same fear of the unknown that singed my heart, and I wept when she reached that crucial moment when she found that same place of
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; 1 edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451222954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451222954
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. B. Smith on April 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
It is almost impossible to give fitting praise for this superb book by Jennifer Graf Groneberg. I don't know where to start. Groneberg has been blessed with the rarest of gifts as a writer: She is a brilliant wordsmith, an accomplishment in and of itself; yet she is also so beautifully human in her story telling. She is strong, vulnerable, scared, hopeful, flawed, honest, loving, doubtful, humble, and confident. She is all of us. We are with her in the NICU, as she receives the news that her middle son has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, at home with her as she adjusts to her new future, in the lake with her as she imagines that "nothing good" will come her way again (she of course proves herself gloriously wrong), at Avery's physical therapy appointments where her heart breaks and rejoices at the same time as she observes how extra hard her toddler son must work for the smallest of victories. She is not above sharing with us that among some of the unwelcome comments and feelings offered by strangers about her son are also some of her own. She exposes herself so honestly; the lows as eloquently described as the highs. Her style is spare but not simple, without an ounce of pretension or preachiness. You will finish the story with joy and hope in your heart, and a deep sense of admiration and love for this family who, at the end of the day, isn't so different from yours or mine.

Don't pass up this ticket. Groneberg has invited us along for this extraordinary part of her journey, and I can only hope that there will be many more stops in the future where we can climb aboard and join her.
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In ROAD MAP TO HOLLAND Jennifer Graf Groneberg reveals a lifetime of lessons learned in a very short time-span. Her message of hope resonates with the joy of her ultimate discovery that one of the greatest gifts she can give her children is to simply teach them how to love. Read this book, read Jennifer's blog, and join in a celebration of a unique family with a mom-writer at the helm who's gracious and generous enough to invite us all along on her ongoing journey of discovery.
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If you are an expectant mother of a child diagnosed with Down syndrome, or the new mother of a newly diagnosed child, or a friend or a family member, get your hands on a copy of this book. You will find no better guide to your journey than Groneberg, who is a gifted writer: honest, loving, self-aware and simply the finest company a reader could ask for.
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I received this book yesterday afternoon and finished it today. What can I say--I was completely and utterly entranced by the honesty and realness of what I read. Having a child with DS too, I could feel her pain, feel her raw emotion, feel her fear. But as I turned each page, I felt myself being forgiven along with her, and it's been a long time since I've felt so much relief and joy. Thank you Jennifer for sharing your story and your experiences with Avery. May you someday know how much grace and dignity you've brought to my own outlook on my future with my son. God bless you and your wonderful family.
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This book was just stunning! Jennifer has a way of infusing the reader into her life. I felt like I was there, experiencing it with her. She lays it all bare, herself, her perceived faults and how she dealt with the premature birth of her twins and Down syndrome diagnosis of Avery. What comes across is a very spiritually put together person, a woman who truly knows what matters most at the end of the day.

This book is a gift to the world.
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This is the book that all new parents (or those with a prenatal diagnosis) should be given. So many texts are full of scary facts and overwhelming information. Road Map to Holland is an honest and heartwarming look at the roller coaster of emotions that come with being a new parent to a child with Down Syndrome. It's a wonderful story of falling in love with your child and seeing past a diagnosis.
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I couldn't put this book down.

The author writes about her experience with premature delivery of twins, one of whom is diagnosed with Down syndrome, and the first two years of their life.

This isn't just a story of a mom having to come to terms with that trip to Holland, but an honest mom's story--of balancing the arrival of twins with her preschooler, the affect that her situation had on friendships--both good and bad, her marriage, and her perception of herself as a woman.

This is an excellent book--honest without being morose, uplifting without coming across as saccharine-sweet. A must read for all moms.
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This book is a must read for new parents of a child with Down syndrome. Oh, how I wish I had a book like this after I found out my third daughter had Down syndrome. And now it is here, and it is fabulous!

The writting is stunning and yet so personal that by the end of the book you'll want to stop by the author's house for coffee.

This book is honest and true. Please read it and share it with anyone who has ever been touched by the world of special needs.
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