Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book #105: Choosing to SEE

Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and HopeTitle: Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope
Author: Mary Beth Chapman
Enjoyment Rating: 8/10
Source: Purchased new from Amazon
Referral: My friend Donna suggested it

Reading Choosing to SEE was an interesting experience because one of the people I talked to first when Eddie and I were in the "thinking about it" stage of the adoption process was my godmother's daughter, Beth. Beth grew up in Nashville and got a master's degree in International Adoption, so she was a great resource. And she got interested in adoption because when she was in high school she had a friend, Carrie, whose family had adopted five kids in addition to their four biological kids. My godmother, Anne, has told me several times that if I have any questions during the process, I should reach out to Carrie's mom. Well, who should appear in the pages of Choosing to SEE but Carrie's mom and her family. What a small world.

Long before we decided to adopt, we knew that singer Steven Curtis Chapman's family had adopted several little girls from China. We also read, a few years ago, about the tragic accident that took the life of their youngest daughter. Mary Beth Chapman addresses both the adoption and the loss in her book Choosing to SEE. I'll admit a prejudice against many adoption memoirs (although that hasn't kept me from reading them) and also against reading books where I feel like I'm being proselyted, and although Chapman talks about her faith freely, it feels organic in this book, not like a vehicle for conversion.

Although Mary Beth has kept a blog for years, she and Steven acknowledge in the introduction that she'd never call herself a writer, and she wisely chose to bring in Ellen Vaughn to work on the project with her. The result is one of the best-written, most moving books about adoption (and probably about depression, loss and faith) out there. I loved Mary Beth's perspective on adopting as a busy mom. I'm glad to see that there are others out there who have a little bit of worry, at least initially, that they may be messing up their family as they know it by adding another. I'm not sure I'll ever have the guts to ever call up Carrie's mom and ask her how things have gone, but by reading Choosing to SEE I feel like I'm better educated on how the process might be for me and my family.

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