Tinderbox: One Family’s Story of Adoption, Neurodiversity, and Fierce Love


Lynn watched her beloved Clare, newly adopted from Haiti, crawl the house in a frantic search for her lost mother.

Preschool Clare enchanted with belly laughs and shining smiles. Also, thrashed and wailed in her room as Lynn crouched on her own bed—pillow clutched over her head—her past trauma triggered. A pre-teen trip to Haiti brought sunshine, ruby red hibiscus blooms, and the music of Haitian Creole. Back at home, Clare shattered mirrors into shards on the subway tiles of their bathroom. And just before her thirteenth birthday, as she and Lynn walked hand in hand through their neighborhood, Clare calmly detailed her plan to die.

Over the next years, Lynn and her family walked through psychiatric hospitals, along the Appalachian Trail, and in and out of residential placements, marriage, faith, and sanity barely surviving the journey. But then Lynn learned about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)—a source of neurodivergence in one in twenty American children—and discovered the FASCETS Neurobehavioral Model, a strengths-based approach to celebrating and accommodating neurodiversity. It was a discovery that transformed them all.

At times joyous, at times harrowing, but always full of love, Tinderbox is a mother’s story of brokenness, unrelenting resilience, and hope.

(2023, paperback, 296 pages)

Author: Lynn Alsup
ISBN: 978-1-64742-541-8
Count: 1
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