A Book Review!
The Waiting Child: How the Faith and Love of one Orphan Saved the Life of Another
By Cindy Champnella
I have had a stack of books I have been trying to read through recently but when a friend leant me her copy of "The Waiting Child" by Cindy Campnella, I just couldn't resist. I dug in last Monday and couldn't put it down all week! I finished it Friday and thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in its pages, being swept up in this beautiful story of love, determination and adoption, and rekindling that "I-can't-put-this-down" feeling.
The story follows the adoption of a 4 year old girl from an institution in China. It is her adoptive mom's perspective of the adoption, her daughter's journey and the story that began to unfold as her daughter learned English and started sharing pieces of her past.
It quickly unfolded that she left behind "her baby" in the orphanage: a younger child she had taken under her wing and (at only 4 years old!) assumed the responsibility of "mother" for. She was distraught to be separated from "her baby" and insisted repeatedly that her adoptive family must do something to help him.
One thing I really appreciated about this story and Cindy's perspective is her openness of both the hardships and joys in adoption. It is easy to gloss over many of the difficulties that come from adoption but she doesn't shy away from the harsh realities. However, neither does she see them as deterrents to adoption. She has a very balanced and healthy view (in my opinion) of adoption not being easy but being *so* worth it despite the difficulties.
I also really appreciated her view of what adoption must be like for the orphan. Can you imagine having someone who looks completely different than you show up and take you away? Or what it must be like to be called upon to trust a total stranger and have no say in the matter? Or as a young child what getting on an airplane and traveling to a completely new country, becoming the minority, taking on a new culture and plunging into a language you have never heard must be like? As a potential adoptive mom, it feels natural to focus on all your feelings of excitement and joy and welcoming a new family member into your family....But so important to realize the fear, strangeness and terror that might be involved for the child. All those things, as well as all that goes in to that child learning to be safe with you and learning to trust you. That is a lot for a baby or young child to take in, whether they are fully aware of it all or not!
The final big "take away" I took from it was the beautiful way Cindy (the author and adoptive mom) helped her daughter walk through the painful parts of her story - most prominently the abandonment of her birth mom. I felt Cindy's approach to helping her daughter come to love her birth mom - her "China mom" as she came to call her....(in addition to her love for her adoptive mom) was a helpful approach. At first, Jacklyn (the daughter) felt a lot of bitterness and negative feelings towards her birth mom. Rightfully so, she felt abandoned and she felt abused by her birth mom (sharing examples of not having food to eat and being starving). But with Cindy's help, she began to see that it was okay to have love for both her moms (in different ways and depths) and come to realize that perhaps her birth mom was doing the best she could (perhaps her birth mom did not have any food and was also starving, not intentionally starving her child) and was trying to make the best choices she could for her daughter.
If you have ties to adoption or not, this book was a beautiful read. It portrayed a depth of fierce love and also the realities of orphans around the world. I enjoyed the read and wanted to pass along a recommendation I recently enjoyed.
What have you been reading recently?