When the Bough Breaks: A Mother’s Story of Carnage, Courage, and the Triumph of Faith

Woodhall. Oct. 2022. 200p. ISBN 9781954907447. pap. $18.95. CHILD REARING
A memoir of overseas adoption by attorney Ferraro who, with her husband, adopted George from a Romanian orphanage where he endured brutal treatment daily. She writes that fetal alcohol syndrome and institutionally induced autism, among other conditions, affected the boy known in the orphanage as “Hurricane George,” but medical reports received during the adoption process indicated only speech delays. Ferraro shares her intense journey in detail, from their harrowing first meeting in the orphanage (where George refused to eat), to placing George in a group home a decade later (where she says that her son is now thriving and participating in family life). Ferraro also sustained devastating losses in her marriage and friendships during this time.
VERDICT Ferraro’s compelling, disturbing book is worth sharing, though it sometimes struggles from its editing; for instance, it’s hard to follow the non-sequential narrative. A stronger recent title on adoption is Melissa Guida-Richards’s What White Parents Should Know About Transracial Adoption.
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