coming soon: my book!


About The Book

In July, 1991, my wife Erika and I picked up our fourteen-month-old daughter, Casey, from an orphanage in rural Poland. We left her old life behind, replacing her ill-fitting, hand-me-down clothes with new American baby clothes. The orphanage caregivers teared up as we hugged and said goodbye. Casey was their favorite. It seemed like a fairy tale – a loving American couple united with a Polish orphan, determined to create a family where her impoverished birth mother couldn’t. We took Casey home to a new life in Tiburon, California. No longer the quiet, withdrawn infant from the orphanage, she grew into a bright, spirited little girl, a star student and model guest at friends’ houses. But in the privacy of our home, things were often different - she suffered violent tantrums and crying jags, thrashing and pummeling her bedroom door until cracks opened in the seams. We looked for answers from friends, pediatricians, therapists, counselors and pastors, but were assured repeatedly that she was just high-strung; she’d grow out of it. In the meantime, we just had to be tough with her.

At seventeen, Casey gained early admission to Bennington College in Vermont with a bright future ahead. She wanted to make a difference in the world. But she never made it. Just five months shy of her high school graduation, on a blustery January morning, she took the keys to our car, drove to the Golden Gate Bridge and jumped. Erika and I, drowning in grief, struggled with an agonizing question: Why?

The Girl Behind The Door is a chronicle of my life as an adoptive father and my search for answers to Casey’s suicide. Through several years of intensive research and interviews with experts in the U.S., Canada and Poland following her death, I learned about the potentially devastating effects of abandonment, institutionalization and adoption on orphaned children, and their effects on behavior, socialization and self-image – attachment disorder - a condition common to orphans that can cut them off from the comfort of others. It explained everything about Casey – popular, smart and charming to others, but often angry, defiant and uncontrollable at home.

Many books have been written about adoption and attachment from a clinical perspective, while others have been personal stories about the ordeal of adoption (particularly foreign adoptions) and the difficulties of raising these children. The Girl Behind The Door integrates a tragic personal adoption experience with vital information from the experts with a prescriptive goal of teaching other families what we learned too late. Not all adoptees suffer from attachment issues, but many do, and as we found, treatment can be elusive.

Who Is It For?

This story is targeted to a core market of the sixty percent of Americans with a personal connection to adoption, including one-and-a-half million adoptive families in the U.S. (source: Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.) A secondary market may also exist among an estimated seven million families with at-risk teens, including those lost to suicide (source: U.S. Census, American Psychiatric Association and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.) 

What The Experts Say

"This book should be a wakeup call to all adoptive parents and professionals about the urgent issues adoptees and their parents face.  John Brooks has written a compelling account of his experience of losing his beloved adopted daughter to suicide. One can only admire his honesty and courage as he portrays his experience and lessons learned from this tragedy. A must-read for anyone who has adopted or plans to adopt."

Nancy Newton Verrier, attachment therapist and author of The Primal Wound and Coming Home to Self

When And Where To Find It

Available now on Amazon in print and Kindle version. Soon to be released on the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble online, Sony Reader         Store, Kobo and more.