There is a stereotype about adoption and a very real fear perpetuated in mass media. Any number of horror stories make headlines while the vast majority of the stories, happy ones, go unheard. As one adoptive family writes, “Only bad news is news for the media.” Thankfully, authors like Doris Howe are challenging the popular narrative and providing the truth about adoption. Howe’s collection of personal essays from adoptive families, titled Adoption Joys: They Expected a Miracle, is an affront to the stigmas of adoption.
As a caseworker for a small Christian adoption agency, Howe has helped place over 100 adoptions. In Adoption Joys: They Expected a Miracle, Howe has collected many personal essays attesting to the positive and beautiful decision to adopt a child. These essays are heartfelt, sincere, and emotional. You will alternately catch your breath, grin or cheer as these families pray for God to reveal His plan. You will set this book down knowing adoption can be part of God’s plan which every unplanned pregnancy or couple struggling to become pregnant is a potential miracle.
There are a couple of poems in this collection which are very striking but, for new families, the essays are most powerful. They touch a cord deep within your heart. Adoptive families must face every fear and insecurity of being a new parent, along with the fear and unfamiliarity of the adoption process. Waiting to be chosen by a birth mother can feel a lot like rejection. Then, the joy of holding their newborn in their arms! Lots of different families contributed to this collection, some adopting their first child and one welcoming their tenth into the brood. Some accounts are extremely detailed, describing in compassionate sincerity every step of the process. After reading these personal essays, one could never doubt the love and affection adoptive parents feel for their child is every bit as deep and permanent and unconditional as birth parents. Nothing is lost or lesser about this relationship as Howe’s book does a great service to adoptive families just by laying to rest that misconception.
There is a fear perpetuated by the media that birth parents will someday pound on a family’s door, demanding the child they gave up all those years ago. In one story, a grandmother held onto this fear for years, terrified that one day her adopted grandchildren would be taken away. It wasn’t until she spoke with other adopted families and heard their success stories that she was able to put aside her fears and finally feel secure in her relationship with her grandchildren. These stories are important for parents considering adoption to hear. Adoption Joys: They Expected a Miracle truly is a joyous book and one which should be shared with any birth parents or adoptive parents considering adoption.
- Allison Walker, Pacific Book Review