UTSA professor writes ‘Slow Takes a Long Time’

Photo Courtesy of Lesli Hicks

Photo Courtesy of Lesli Hicks

Andrea Velgis

cover of book

Lesli Hicks wrote a story about her son, and it’s anything but ordinary.

Hicks, a history professor at UTSA, adopted a baby boy with special needs from China in 2001.

Her son, Dang Guole, was abandoned due to China’s one-child policy and was placed in an abusive foster-family before meeting the Hicks. Hicks’ most recent work, “Slow Takes a Long Time: A ‘Special’ Orphan’s Meditation on Love and Appreciation,” is told from the lens of her son, and was released nationwide last week.

“I would say I definitely applied my UTSA training as a historian to write this book… A historian needs analytical skills to assess material, and I listened and observed my son as scientifically as I could to ‘divine’ the story of his past—information that wasn’t in the documents we received upon his adoption.”

Hicks decided to write this book when she and her husband learned that the second baby they adopted was intellectually disabled.

She hopes this story will reveal that special-needs children have more emotional depth than society believes. She began writing this book in 2011 when she heard a teacher use the term “mentally retarded” to describe her son’s challenges—which include trauma and a stutter.

“I hope this story can help educators in the special-needs field (and we have many aspiring teachers at UTSA) or families who are surprised with special-needs children. There clearly is so much more to them than society initially might believe,” Hicks stated.

“There are so many loving families and teachers out there, and they all have helped us discover who our son is, as well as resources to support him. I would be honored if this book helped future teachers consider their ‘special’ students as more than their diagnosis or diagnoses.”

A review on Amazon written by M. Hudock, who gave the book a 5 star rating, reads, “Beautiful adoption story told from the child’s point of view with contributing comments from his parents, sister, teachers, social worker and others who are part of his adoption journey.


With great care, the author takes you through her son’s adoption experiences from China to the United States, the strangeness of his new life, the memories from his old life, the challenges of becoming a family and all the complications that come from educating a child who doesn’t fit any of the easily definable categories.”

Traditional adoption books focus on the parent’s side of the story, but this book is about the child. Adoptive parents and parents of children with special needs will find this book a great comfort.


Hicks is currently doing research for her next book about a high school classmate who took a “surprising path.”

Meanwhile, Hicks might write a follow-up book about her son, since “Slow Takes a Long Time” is set during the period of exploring her son’s special-needs offerings, which was years ago. There are new stories about her son to be written and read.

“Slow Takes a Long Time” can be purchased for $11.99 on Amazon.