Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey

Kari Wagner-Peck (Author)

Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
Central Recovery Press
Publish Date
May 16, 2017
6.0 X 0.8 X 9.0 inches | 0.75 pounds
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About the Author

Kari Wagner-Peck, MSW, is a writer, blogger, and a freelance development consultant while she homeschools her son. She has been a professional advocate for homeless, incarcerated, and immigrant individuals and has worked as a documentary videographer, teaching videography at the college level. She also has experience in arts management including development, event planning, and public speaking. Her writing has been featured in the Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, the New York Times' "Motherlode" blog, the Sydney Morning Herald, BLOOM, The Mighty, LOVE THAT MAX, Yahoo Parenting, Parents Magazine's online site Parents, and Empowering Parents.


The Library Journal

Wagner-Peck, Kari. Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey, Central Recovery. May 2017. 288p. ISBN 9781942094371. pap. $16.95, CHILD REARING

Freelancer Wagner-Peck and her husband, Ward, decided to become parents when the author was in her 40s. The Maine couple realized that adopting from the foster care system might be their quickest route but never planned on falling in love with Thorin, a toddler with Down syndrome. They quickly learned that--despite strong educational and civil rights laws--discrimination and ignorance are still alive and well. Here they relate shocking encounters that might have been commonplace decades ago yet are unacceptable and happening now. Using her knowledge as an advocate, social worker, and parent who homeschools her son, the author has created the blog, the entries of which form the basis for this book. While this memoir is often humorous, it doesn't set out to be. VERDICT Recommended reading for every parent.--Virginia Johnson, East Bridgewater P.L., MA

Publishers Weekly

Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey, Kari Wagner-Peck. Central Recovery, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-942094-37-1

When author Wagner-Peck and her husband adopted a son, Thorin, with Down syndrome, their learning curve was steep. Peck recounts their journey in this intimate peek at three individuals who had to overcome many obstacles before becoming, in Peck's words, a "forever family." Navigating state bureaucracies and compliance issues was among the challenges they faced. So were awkward, well-meaning neighbors, Thorin's occasionally overbearing biological sibling, a grandmother with misgivings, and a large and varied cast of medical professionals. Some challenges were simply the ones that every new parent endures, possibly exacerbated, Wagner-Peck suggests, by her being a 50-year-old first-time parent. This family, however, had a few additional challenges that parents of "typicals" don't often encounter (beginning with suspicious TSA agents). Navigating the educational system with a special-needs child was one of the family's biggest and most difficult hurdles. They encountered faculty members with outdated approaches, poorly trained aides, and a multitude of administrative roadblocks. Wagner-Peck relates their challenges and progress with great equanimity, sharing her perseverance as well as her fury. Her "mom lessons" near the book's conclusion, as well as some poignant final moments in the narrative, will leave many readers teary-eyed. (May)

Reviewed on 04/14/2017