About the Book:
An unforgettable true story that will touch your heart and make you believe in love’s enduring legacy, and in the power of prayer.
In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girl—who still thought the stork brought babies—was pregnant. The baby was secretly born, named Betty Jane, and given up for adoption. For decades, Minka wrote letters trying to get news of her daughter; she kept loving and praying for her, even though she never dared believe they would meet again. Until nearly eighty years later, when Minka whispered her secret, impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. I promise I won’t bother her or interrupt her life. I just want to lay eyes on her. Unbeknownst to Minka, that very same day, a judge was releasing the sealed adoption records to her 77-year-old daughter. And soon, Minka’s phone would ring. Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka’s granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century to tell a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets.
You can purchase a physical copy or e-book copy at Tyndale House Publishers.
What grabbed me and pulled me in when I requested to review this book was it’s poignant cover – Minka’s twisted and aged hands holding an old picture of a woman intent on studying the infant on the chair next to her – something deeper than the description spoke to me and made me want to read this book. Minka’s life was one of hardship and loss – loss of her father early on, then later her innocence, and so on – working on a dairy farm from the time she was old enough to carry a bucket deformed her hands as her tiny, forming joints were called into duty that was beyond their years. Minka longs for an education at the public high school in town but her step-dad and her mom need her to work with them on their dairy farm but there is one bright spot in her life – that of the sewing club and that is where Minka’s story picks up, eagerly waiting for her mom and sister to get to the pickup truck so she can get home grab the cookies her sister baked for the sewing club’s picnic and put on her dress that she sewed herself. If only……
If only Minka hadn’t gone to that sewing club picnic, if only she hadn’t taken a walk with another girl friend, there are many if-only s in Minka’s life but as she learned you can’t undo the things that are done one can only move forward and try to cling to a life that in some ways seem surreal. Follow Minka from her life at a home for girls in trouble, and her return to her home without a baby in her arms and only her, her step-dad, mom and her pastor in her home town know that she is a mother. A mother who did not get to nurse her child. A mother who won’t be able to comfort a cry in the night. Kiss a boo-boo. Watch her get married. Minka writes for years even after her 2nd child, the first with her husband, is born as she realizes she’ll probably never get to see her baby, the one she had to give up, this side of Heaven. One day she whispers a prayer and wonders if God hears it.
I won’t spoil the whole story for you – but I shed many a tear as I read Minka’s story of love, loss and ultimately closure – Cathy LaGrow spent much time doing meticulous research while she wrote this book and it seems in a way as if Minka is writing her own story, her sorrows, her love comes through the pages. This type of book wouldn’t be complete without pictures, black and white and the modern colored ones – including the one shown on the cover of Minka ignoring the camera and looking at the baby she won’t see again. I think the only thing that would have completed the story is to hear what happened to other girl that Minka was walking with that fateful day – I like to hear the after stories of all those involved – but regardless my mind thinks that they wouldn’t have talked about it and probably would have avoided each other given the culture of the time. A story of loss, betrayal, love and ultimately a forgiveness and an answered prayer.
(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws