Life With Charley: A Memoir of Down Syndrome Adoption


Sherry McCaulley Palmer 

Life With Charley
ISBN: 9781937365707

When a clergy couple has a baby it’s big news. When they adopt a baby, it’s even bigger news. But when they adopt a baby with special needs? Everyone is tested.

All the couple wants is to have a family. Little do they know that adopting a baby with Down syndrome breaks all the rules. What their family wants is to talk them out of it. Thus begins a phone-calling campaign of do-gooders warning of the pitfalls. Surely this couple has no idea what they are doing. Surely they realize it’s a lifetime choice. What these well-intentioned people don’t know is that it’s the chance of a lifetime.

What the church wants is a typical pastor’s family (The handsome, evangelical, eloquent Pastor. The thin, super-organized, perfect pastor’s wife. The well-behaved, well-mannered preacher’s kid). What they get is the polar opposite, and what they find out is that sometimes even church life is full of challenges.

Throw out the textbooks, step into the classroom of real life and meet a colorful cast of characters (demons and angels), as you journey through this honest, intimate, hilarious, and poignant look at the marriage between family, church, school, and community, the secret chaos of parenting an unpredictable special needs child, and the profound impact it has on all who open their hearts to unconditional love.

Add to that, a young man named Charley who is unimpressed with his Down syndrome, a refusal to be stereotyped, and an infatuation with girls. Mix in an obsession with going to the prom, and a peer tutor who sees past the barriers of disability, and dreams really do come true.

A love story twenty-one years in the making, Life With Charley is a powerful message of hope, faith, acceptance, commitment, and discovery. The reader will cringe, laugh,and cry (sometimes simultaneously) while learning from the unlikeliest of sources that the key to happiness is not in trying to fit in, but in just being yourself.

Reviews:Jamie on Goodreads wrote:

Ya'll, you need to read this book. This is a memoir of an adoption, a Down Syndrome adoption to be more specific. Sherry chronicles her and her husband's decision to not only adopt a baby but to adopt a baby boy born with DS. The stories she tells are honest, at times heart-breaking, but overall full of joy and love. The little things that most parents take for granted as your children get older (like leaving them unattended for hours on end because you need a break) parents of special needs children cannot always do. It will give you a new-found respect for parents or caregivers in similar situations. That aside, Sherry is a very talented author. Not only does she have a great story to tell, but she is a great storyteller. I recommend this for parents, adoptive parents, adoptive parents of special needs children, really anyone that wants to read a touching, funny, moving, and joyful memoir. You won't regret it.

Rose Klix on Goodreads wrote:

'Life with Charley' by Sherry McCaulley Palmer is packed full of Love, Patience, and Love. And, oh, did I say Patience? Sherry tells a no-holds-barred memoir of rearing a Down Syndrome baby turned man. When she and her husband Brad adopted baby Charley they signed up for his lifetime. God smiles on their patience with this big bundle of dancing joy, who stubbornly refuses to shower, loves the girls, and wants everyone to celebrate his birthday every day. Sherry meets all the challenges with a sense of humor unmatched by any professional comedianne. Sherry's husband Brad is her supportive life-line most of the time unless his ministerial duties take priority. They both have learned unique ways to control Charley's behavior while simultaneously allowing him to be himself. I am in awe of their parenting skills. This should be required reading for anyone contemplating raising a Down Syndrome child. You may laugh and cry while reading the Palmer's story, but you will be rewarded with a better view of love manifested.


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