The photo on the cover of the book was taken when the author was 17 months old.

A Review

My Brave Little Man is a captivatingly detailed account of T.A. Degner’s early life, beginning with his sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet rural childhood, and ending in a Dickensian description of the years he and his siblings spent in a Duluth orphanage. The story profiles an era in a setting that has not been well documented in either fiction or memoir until now. The author spins tales of his transformation from a sweet little blond cherub to a strong-willed school-age rebel. Often funny, sometimes hair-raising, it is the inspirational story of a vigorous spirit meeting multiple challenges and emerging, though somewhat bruised, as essentially whole and strong.”
—Lynn Cross, editor; storyteller; poet, and copywriter

Lynn's website is

Why do older adopted children have such a tough time adjusting? author t.a. degner's memoir offers some answers

Remember the firestorm of controversy when an American woman sent the 7-year-old boy she had just adopted from Russia back to his country, thus abandoning him? When the incident happened back in 2009, people throughout the world were outraged. They wanted to know how a mother who so desperately wanted a child and finally had one could do such a thing.

T. A. Degner believes he knows the answer. “It is because older children who have been abandoned often come with baggage and if adoptive parents aren’t prepared to react to that baggage in a loving way they can be sidetracked, derailed,” he said. 

T.A. Degner speaks from experience. In 1950, a doctor in Duluth, Minnesota, wrote in his medical file that a four-year old boy had been admitted to the hospital as a “rather severe behavior problem.” “This is,” the doctor notes, “a broken home and the mother-child relationship is not good.” That boy is the author. He had been shuffled from one nesting arrangement to another for all of his short life. First, he had lived with his grandparents on their rustic farmstead in the heart of Minnesota’s north woods, then with his intellectually disabled mother and a mostly absent alcoholic father, and finally with a boorish relative. In spite of a dysfunctional family life, he had been relatively happy. The real problems started when the author's mother dropped him and his two younger siblings off at an orphanage. A week later, they ran away to find their mother, and he ended up at the hospital in a straight jacket. Thus began the author's journey of triumph over multiple misfortunes. Eight years later, while lying on the banks of a river on his adoptive parents’ farm and inspired by the many Dickens novels he had read, the author promised God he would share his story with the world. My Brave Little Man is the fulfillment of that promise. The book speaks to extended birth families, birth mothers, birth fathers, and adoptive parents and it offers hope.