A little girl remembers her two-year-old brother, killed at the hands of their birth father, and helps readers realize that others share their pain
The facts are grim. Every ten seconds, a child abuse report is filed. Every year, more than a thousand lives are lost as the result of child abuse. By extension, many thousands more are forever changed.
The newly published book "Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story," illustrates the impact of loss through one young girl’s words and experiences as she grieves the death of her "Baby Maxwell."
Written in verse by Gwenn Eyer, Valerie’s adoptive mother, this beautifully illustrated book relays a story of love, loss, and hope. Valerie was just four years old when her baby brother died at the hands of their birth father. Valerie’s story describes her sad, scared, and angry feelings and traces her journey from her sudden removal from her home and the loss of everything she knew to her placement in foster care to her eventual adoption.
Eyer explains that "Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story" offers a message to be shared with children and families who have been impacted by child abuse and loss. Traumatized children will identify with Valerie, and adult readers will benefit from viewing the impact of child abuse and domestic violence through a child’s eyes.
Eyer comments, "If allegations of child abuse are made every ten seconds, how many more incidents go unreported? This book, written in our adopted daughter’s words with childlike illustrations, provides encouragement for children to recognize risk and report it." She adds, "The book can be used at home and in therapeutic settings. It is my hope that it can serve as a ‘wake up call’ for families currently at risk."
"The artwork is amazing and the questions posed by one little girl give voice to the confusion and pain of many children." ~ Kimberly A. Mann, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
Author: Gwenn Eyer is the mother of five adopted children ranging in age from eleven to forty. Valerie, her youngest daughter, came into the family following the death of her younger brother Maxwell at the hands of their birth father. Valerie shared her heartache with her "new" mom, writing journal entries and songs for her brother Maxwell along the way. Gwenn used Valerie’s words and experiences as the basis for Valerie’s adoption Lifebook, a tool used in adoption to help children and youth take experiences and connections from their past to build on with hope for the future. This Lifebook became "Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story." Gwenn has worked in the child welfare field for more than twenty-five years, spending much of that time training foster and adoptive parents and other trainers. An experienced conference presenter, she enjoys writing prose and plans to share more stories about children who have experienced life in foster care and in adoptive families.