"In reality, the Christlike sacrifice that a birth mother must make… is done not out of rejection, but of sacrificial love."
Adoption is met with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, often simultaneously with the tenuous emotions of the birth parent and the impending exhilaration of welcoming a new addition for the adoptive parents. In Howe’s work, audiences will glean incredible insight into not just the process but how crucial it is for faith and prayer to be an integral part of unification. Though there are undoubtedly conflict-ridden interactions during the adoption process, Howe’s mission is to present the soul-stirring and beautiful aspects of her adoption experiences both as an adoptive mother and as a caseworker for a faith-based agency, Loving Alternative Adoption Agency.
Above all else, it is imperative that the focus does not stray away from the baby. Regardless of which side one finds oneself in the parental equation, the intent is always to secure a bright and healthy future for the newborn. Over a collection of intriguing case studies and experiences, Howe showcases how no two events are the same, and each one presents its own nuances that ultimately culminate with what the Lord has planned for the family. With every case, Howe successfully showcases the inner workings of adoption, particularly the myriad questions and fears of uncertainty that riddle the minds of the biological and adoptive parents. From wondering if the biological father relinquishes his rights to the child to what happens if the mother changes her mind at the last minute, there is never a dull moment for adoptive parents, who, more often than not, are dealing with a multitude of reasons for not being able to have their own biological children.
In some stories, such as “Mollie and Olivia,” God seemingly intervenes to change the minds of one or both partners, to open their hearts to adoption. In others like “A Prayer for Thanksgiving for Zoe,” the pure love of a mother is on full display as she raves at even the most mundane of movements from the baby. Conjure the moment a birth mother is looking through the family books for a potential fit, and the baby kicks just as she settles on a particular book, indicating the right choice. This work is also full of such miracles and signs to clearly delineate that in all of this, prayer is at work, and God is watching and acting through his children.
Throughout the author’s moving compilation of stories, there is a strong sense of being connected through one common thread: God. As such, even though adoption is legally binding a child to another family and taking him or her away from the birth mother, rarely does one get the notion of trauma occurring. On the contrary, there is a realization that the child’s best interests must be at the heart of any decision made. Interestingly enough, there is significant precedence for this throughout the history of numerous faiths. In particular, Hinduism shows how Krishna was born to his mother, Devki, in prison. Yet to ward off his evil uncle, he spent his childhood in a small town under the tender, loving grace of his adopted mother, Yashoda. Such instances are rampant throughout and clearly convey that, at some level, all of humanity is one by Jesus’ grace and sacrifice. Above all else, the stories within this work show that the human spirit is alive and well, full of compassion and love instilled within them by the Lord. In her inspiring book, Howe does an incredible job of exploring the many issues that impact adoption and effectively illustrating what a joy and blessing a God-centered one can be.
- Mihir Shah, US Review of Books