Wendy Welch

Wendy Welch is a bookseller, ethnographer, and journalist. The author of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap and editor of Public Health in Appalachia, she divides her time between writing up observations of Appalachia, and working to make it a more just and verdant place.




Fall or Fly · The Strangely Hopeful Story of Foster Care and Adoption in Appalachia
By Wendy Welch

Chaos. Frustration. Compassion. Desperation. Hope. These are the five words that author Wendy Welch says best summarize the state of foster care in the coalfields of Appalachia. Her assessment is based on interviews with more than sixty social workers, parents, and children who have gone through “the system.” The riveting stories in Fall or Fly tell what foster care is like, from the inside out.

“Fall or Fly is a compelling, unvarnished glimpse into the complex world of foster care and adoption in modern-day Appalachia. Dr. Welch provides readers with a multifaceted view of the system through the eyes of children, foster parents, and caseworkers. It will surely become a treasured resource, not only for those interested in becoming foster or adoptive parents but for those who desire a more complete understanding of the foster care system.”

Senator Bill Carrico, Virginia State Legislature