A Novel about a Single Father Adopting a Son
Based on a True Story
"Oh. One more thing: Dennis thinks he's a Martian . . . ."
Soon-to-be parents are instructed to "expect the unexpected." Good advice, it turns out. Especially for the anxious or apprehensive parent who is considering adoption.
How can one know about an adopted child?
All David Gerrold knew for certain was that he wanted to be a parent. As a single gay man he thought adoption would be the most direct route to fatherhood. But he soon found out-to both his joy and dismay-that the emotional route to fatherhood was anything but direct. In fact, it was a roller-coaster ride that changed his life forever.
When he first saw the picture of eight-year-old Dennis beaming up at him from the photograph in the adoption book, David knew this was the boy for him.
But these were the facts: Abandoned as an infant by drug-addicted parents. Documented abuse. Shuffled from one foster home to another. Deficit hyperactivity disorder. Ritalin to control his violent emotional outbursts. For his antisocial behavior: Disipramine. The conclusion from experts: Dennis was "hard to place." A polite bureaucratic euphemism for unadoptable. It was a depressing assessment that David could not-would not-accept.
He needed Dennis. And he believed Dennis needed him. It was that simple.
Until the reality of single fatherhood set in.
A searingly honest, funny, moving, and heartfelt portrait of the joys and perils of parenting, The Martian Child is David Gerrold's valentine to the redemptive value of love,in this case a father's love for his son. A son who thinks he's a Martian.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Gerrold, a Nebula and Hugo Award winner, proffers this tale of adoption and fatherly love for the adoptive parents of troubled children. The quasi-fictional protagonist, David, decides that he wants to be "a dad" and initiates adoption procedures through the mind-numbing California bureaucracy. He stumbles upon a photograph of eight-year-old Dennis, a slight, blond boy abandoned by an alcoholic mother as a baby, who is approaching the age when placement is doubtful. Although David had not counted on having a "problem child" for a son, he eagerly embraces the idea. For about two years, he deals with being a single, gay parent of a child who insists that he is a "Martian," a common psychological defense mechanism used by abused and neglected children. The account moves quickly and somewhat sporadically and selectively through about 24 months of adjustment, doubt and finally acceptance of a situation that often has the potential for disaster, although no genuine crises are detailed. The biggest question is why the story is presented in fictional form. As Gerrold explicitly states, it is based on reality, and no point seems to be served in manufacturing details, except, perhaps, that it allows Gerrold to focus on the thesis that lavish applications of love, patience and understanding (along with a bit of medication) can overcome any child's difficulties and create a marvelous father-son relationship and a successful adoptive process. Because it doesn't thoroughly address such serious potential problems as Dennis's propensity for petty theft and violence, the resulting story is less than believable. Readers interested in the topic might better turn to the several nonfiction works available on the subject.