An International Struggle


Featured Highlights >> "An International Struggle" >> Afro-Amerasians
Search Tips

Source: Duling, Gretchen A. Adopting Joe: A Black Vietnamese Child. Rutland, VT: C. E. Tuttle Co., 1977. Duling, Gretchen A. Adopting Joe: A Black Vietnamese Child. Rutland, VT: C. E. Tuttle Co., 1977.

The following is from the inside front and back covers of Adopting Joe: A Black Vietnamese Child:

Joe arrived at Kennedy International airport from Vietnam half-dressed and frightened to death. The Dulings and their adopted daughter Jenny arrived from their New England home nervous and full of questions: What would their new son be like? How had the tragedy of war affected him? How difficult would be the transition from orphanage to family? Would they be able to deal with the inevitable adjustment problems — both theirs and those of their son — accompanying their adoption of a three-year-old black Vietnamese from the other side of the world? Adopting Joe by Gretchen Duling, is the heartwarming story of how all the Dulings successfully coped with these problems (and other, unexpected difficulties) during Joe's first year in his new home.

The story of that first year is an enchanting romp with Joe Duling as he discovers a new world and changes from an insecure and suspicious three year old to a spirited and happy four year old. Joe's mother takes us shopping for Joe's first pair of shoes — a total disaster; we're there when Joe discovers snow for the first time, at his first Christmas; and we suffer through his bout with thunder — a particularly frightening experience for him. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Joe's journey is the gradual unfolding of his trust in others.

Adopting Joe not only tugs the strings of everyone's heart, it provides valuable information on transracial and transnational adoption, from both the parents and the child's poing of view. Gretchen Duling has spent countless hours culling information from every source available — including other parents of transracial children. She has consulted doctors, theologians, child psychologists, and friends in an effort to understand her son's problems and those of her family. Included in Adopting Joe are some Vietnamese recipes guaranteed to please any palate, a medical guide by an authority on diseases common in children from tropical areas, and an indispensable reading list compiled by the Open Door Society for adoptive parents. Mrs. Duling also provides an outline of the extensive procedures involved in transnational adoptions. Anyone contemplating adoption should read Mrs. Duling's story. It's a chronicle of the common problems "instant" families face, and how one family solved most of them.

Gretchen A. Duling has been involved in community activities for most of her adult life. Her activities include serving for a time as president of the Open Door Society — Friends of Children (Vietnam) for her home state; organizing various groups and events in universities where her husband, Denny, has taught; raising funds for a choral group she managed; and, through her church, participating in a program for minority people in the midwest. She holds a master's degree in music education and is currently a music teacher, high school advisor, mother, wife, and community organizer. She is also the author of Teddie Goes to the Hospital, an activity booklet for hospitalized children. Mrs. Duling and her family live in New England, where Mr. Duling teaches at a major university.
Return to list

Send feedback or questions to
Kief Schladweiler
Librarian, NYC

Free Speech Online Blue Ribbon Campaign