Six years ago, Jeff and Twila Miles adopted a 12-year-old boy from Ukraine, called Carl, and took him to America. Carl had lived for several years in an orphanage, having been abandoned by his birth parents, who were drug addicts.
In this honest and deeply moving book, Twila tells the story of the struggles, discouragements and anguish that they have faced since Carl joined their family. This is interspersed with meditations on Scriptures which have been helpful to her.
The book’s stated purpose is to offer hope to families in a similar position — adoptive families who are struggling more than they ever anticipated. Given the somewhat exceptional nature of the adoption story being told (many adoptive families do not adopt an older child and few are wealthy enough to adopt from abroad), the audience for whom the book is directly relevant will be small.
That said, there is much material that is relevant to more typical adoption situations. There is much useful advice for any parents and much scriptural insight that will be helpful to anyone passing through an experience of trial or struggle.
The book begins with a conversation in which Carl himself endorses the book. It is then divided into seven chapters, each of which is focused around some aspect of God’s grace for adoptive parents. Each chapter finishes with some questions for personal reflection, encouraging prayerful meditation on the Scriptures used in that chapter.
One of the most uplifting and liberating statements in the book was this: ‘I believed that if I made enough mistakes in parenting, then I would mess up the lives of my children. God’s work, however, is not dependent on our perfection. We are sinful and weak, but, thankfully, that does not deter God from fulfilling his purposes’ (p.106).