My rating: (4 / 5)
There are books that make you cry, and there are books that make you so angry at the world that you feel like throwing the book and storming off, and there are books that make you incredibly secure in your path in life. This book is all three, at least for me.
The Waiting Child is a memoir of adoption, one of many I’ve read along the path of our own adoption journey, and one of the most touching, as far as I was concerned. It may have been because it was about the adoption of an older child, rather than a baby, as we’re adopting older as well. It may have been because Jaclyn – the small girl that they adopted – was so headstrong and had such a wonderfully strong personality. But I think really, what touched me the most, was her impatience.
Yes, really! Jaclyn was desperately impatient, once she had found a Mama to call her own, to bring “her baby” – Xiao Mei Mei, who she took care of at the orphanage – home, to find him a Mama and family to love him as well. I have dealt with more than a little impatience along our journey. Right now we’re in a place where we have waited months – yes months! – for ONE small piece of paper to be signed at some beauracratic office in the US and returned to Canada. All our hopes and dreams and wishes for the future have been stalled because of one piece of paper sitting on some poor overworked social worker’s desk. I’m sure he or she doesn’t know how angry I get at the world because I have to wait. I’m sure they aren’t being malicious, but it hurts just the same.
And so I related to Jaclyn. Oh, I related to her mom, too, and her whole family, but I understood Jaclyn somehow. I know what it’s like to have the future of someone you love stuck in someone else’s hands. I know how it feels to be frustrated by government. I know how unfair it can all feel sometimes.
Though this book is written by Jaclyn’s adoptive mom, it is really Jaclyn’s story – a little girl who was willing to move heaven and earth to get a little boy she loved a home. She was successful in the end; Xiao Mei Mei became her cousin, Lee, an all-American little boy who became vastly different from the quiet and beaten-down little orphan they all knew from China. It’s a triumphant story, and a sad one. It made me want to rescue *all the children!* – something that happened to me similarly after our adoption training here.
The book is studded with photographs from the journey of adoption this family followed, which are touching and strike straight to the heart. It was hard for me to imagine that this little girl, in words and pictures – was now a teenager and almost an adult. Her story, however, is timeless and poignant.
If you’re following your own adoption path, I think it’s likely you’ll love this book. In fact, if you have a heart at all, I think it’s likely you’ll like it quite a bit.