Life With Charley

From the Author

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.

Discussion questions for Life With Charley