Tuesday, October 4, 2016

FINDING SARAH, FINDING ME: A BIRTH MOTHER'S STORY by Christine Lindsay, review by Elma Schemenauer

It's 1978 and Christine, a young woman in British Columbia's Fraser Valley, is a Christian whose unbelieving boyfriend has only a "skim-milk" love for her. When she tells him she's expecting his baby, he says it "doesn't feel like it has anything to do with me." 

It's heart-wrenching for Christine to contemplate giving up her baby, but she decides adoption would be the best option for the child. She asks an organization called Hope Adoption (since closed) to help her find suitable adoptive parents. Her one condition is that "the adoptive parents believe in Jesus Christ...must act like Jesus wants people to act." 

Bob Trainor of Hope Adoption presents several possibilities to the pregnant Christine. He doesn't give names or other identifying details, just general information. He mentions one prospective mother who "gave up her teaching position because she believes God will give her a baby this year." That woman's faith touches Christine's heart. She chooses the teacher and husband.

In February 1979 Christine gives birth to a beautiful little girl and gives her to the chosen couple, whose identity remains unknown to her. Later Christine marries an understanding and supportive man and has other children. However, she always wonders about Sarah, the little girl she gave away. Should she search for her or leave well enough alone? Every year around Sarah's birthday, Christine receives pink flowers in church or elsewhere. She takes this as a sign from God that she should try to find Sarah, who by this time would be twenty years old.

Christine eventually discovers where Sarah is, establishes communication, and arranges to meet her. Sarah arrives with a bouquet of pink carnations and her fiancé, Mark. The meeting is cordial and the young couple are evidently Christians, both studying to be nurses. However, Christine doesn't feel the spiritual, emotional, and psychological connection she had hoped for. She says "the bond I've carried in my heart for Sarah never existed for her....The little girl I've imagined all these years and loved was truly a phantom....She is my daughter, but not my daughter."

Sarah and Mark invite Christine and her family to their wedding. Christine, hurt because they're invited only to the ceremony and not the reception, doesn't want to attend. Finally she's persuaded to do so, along with some of her family. However, she doesn't identify herself to the ushers, so she misses out on the corsage and invitation to the reception that Sarah and Mark have arranged for.
During the first ten years of Sarah and Mark's marriage, Christine sees them occasionally but their relationship isn't close. It improves slowly, especially after Sarah announces that she and Mark are going to become missionary nurses.

These are the outlines of Christine Lindsay's moving memoir. She writes it well, as one would expect from a seasoned author of several successful novels. Throughout Christine's journey she is encouraged by the stories of Biblical characters including Hagar, Ruth, and Hannah. Sarah's adoptive mother, Anne Vander Bos, is also encouraged by Hannah's story. Interestingly Anne and her husband were considering the name Sarah before they knew they would receive a child whose birth mother had named her Sarah.

The story isn't all pink flowers and sunshine. There's lots of sadness in it, lots of puzzlement and disappointment, but Christine clings to the belief that God will work it out for the best. Her narrative will inspire and inform people personally touched by adoption, as well as general readers. 

Interspersed between segments of Christine's story are short accounts by others whose lives have involved adoption in one way or another. They include Anna of Oregon, Cathy of Bermuda, Levi of Manitoba, Susan of South Africa, and Sarah of the Fraser Valley (Christine's Sarah).

All profits from the sale of FINDING SARAH, FINDING ME: A BIRTH MOTHER'S STORY go to Global Aid Network's Women's and Children's Initiative, which focuses mainly on working with orphans and fatherless children.

FINDING SARAH, FINDING ME: A BIRTH MOTHER'S STORY by Christine Lindsay is 233 pages long and was published in August 2016 by WhiteFire Publishing of Cumberland, Maryland. ISBN 978-1-9390 23-82-7 (digital), 978-1-9390 23-81-0 (print). Available from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere.

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