An inspiring true story of a life devoted to helping children with Down's Syndrome. They said it couldn't be done, but somehow Alex Bell has managed to adopt and raise a family of children with special needs.
When she was just 13 and helping her mother on the local hospital wards, Alex Bell encountered Billy, a young man with Down's syndrome who changed the course of her life. Alex grew up vowing to dedicate herself to caring for Down's syndrome babies. At 28 and unmarried, Alex battled with social services to adopt her first Down's child, Matthew - who eventually fulfilled his dream of working for Manchester United. Since then, Alex has single-handedly taken on eight more children who, despite serious disabilities, are flourishing under her fierce and devoted love.
Helen on Goodreads wrote:
This is the inspirational story of Alex Bell, a woman who has adopted and cared for nine children with special needs ranging from downs syndrome to autism. When the authorities said she couldn't have a child with special needs being a single parent on her own and youung at that, Alex fought for what she believed in. After many years she now has a number of children who she has given a family to. This book tells you not only about Alex Bell but all about her children and how she came to adopt them with all the problems with the authorities along the way.
A truly inspirational book which was made into a documentary as well.
It's hard to fathom the resilience and depth of love to adopt one Downs' child let alone seven, plus two more with disabilities. I appreciated the insight into Downs' syndrome, including those with autism, but did feel there were some shortcomings in the writing style, feeling more like an extended news article than an immersive biography.
I do hope the damning exposure of social service bureaucracy has changed/been shaken up since. I suspect it hasn't.
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