About the Book
Over twenty years ago, in a small Israeli town, a desperate mother told a remarkable lie. She told her friends and family that her newborn child had died. That lie became the catalyst for the unfolding truth of the adoption of that same baby—Michael—who is, in fact, very much alive and now twenty-two years old. He also has Down syndrome.
When Kathryn Hulings adopted Michael as an infant, she could not have known that he would save her life when she became gravely ill and was left forever physically compromised. Her story delights in how Michael’s life and hers, while both marked by difference and challenge, are forever intertwined in celebration and laughter. With candor and a sense of humor, Life With a Superhero wraps itself around the raucous joy of Michael’s existence with his four older siblings who play hard and love big; how Kathryn and her husband, Jim, utilize unconventional techniques in raising kids; Michael's discovery of romance; the power of dance in Michael's life as an equalizing and enthralling force; the staggering potential and creativity of those who are differently-abled; and the mind blowing politics of how Kathryn navigated school systems and societal attitudes that at times fought to keep Michael excluded from the lives of kids deemed “normal.”
No other books about the parenting experience outline what to do when, say, a child runs across the roof of a tri-level house pretending he can fly, or shows up in a 7th grade social studies class dressed like Spiderman, or calls 911 when his girlfriend breaks his heart. But, as Michael’s mom, Kathryn has been trying to figure how to be a mother in just such circumstances—sometimes with success, sometimes with dismal failure—for over two decades.
Most of the books about parenting a child who has Down syndrome are concerned with only the first few years of life and are based in biological births. Life with a Superhero is fresh and new in that it engages the reader with the parenting journey all the way into young adulthood and it also involves the spectrum of adoption. This memoir chronicles not only the early years—filled with both trepidation and joy—of raising a child who has Down syndrome, but also the ups and downs of twelve years of public schooling, the slippery slope of the transition process into the population at large, navigating puberty and adolescence, friendships, community involvement with typical folks and folks with special needs, and the exuberant glee of finding love and contemplating marriage and an independent life.